GOOGLE ANALYTICS 101: HOW GOOGLE ANALYTICS WORKS?

Posted on Posted in Web Analytics
Before going into the very core of Google Analytics platform, it is essential to understand how it works. Understanding what is going on in the process, it will be easier for you to troubleshoot your problems just in case you will meet one in your journey to your online gig. There could be a problem with your set-up. Maybe, you would like to understand how a certain anomaly is resulted to. Tracking a website requires four components. These are data collection, configuration, data processing, and reporting. For better picture of the interconnection of these components, let’s try to figure out the chart below:

 

The process does not just start with a mere automatic collection of data. This action must be triggered. This is done using a small snippet of JavaScript code. In order to track every event or action you want, this snippet must be placed in every page you would like to keep track with so that every time there is a visitor, this snippet is electrified to come to life that it starts to collect data on how this visitor engages with your site.

 

Where are these data from? One may wonder about this. These are the sources. First is the website itself like the URL of the pages that a certain visitor is viewing. Second is the user browser like its name, the language it is set to, and the device and the operating system that is used to get access to one’s site. The snippet that is mentioned earlier gathers the information as to how long a visitor stays in your site, which page he or she viewed, and what the referring source is that brought to your site like Facebook and Twitter.
Here comes the processing stage. All the data gathered are pushed to the Google Analytics server. Google examines every granule of data which means that every time there is  a visitor, it collects and updates information about the interaction of a certain user. Then, this information is gathered, and this can take four to twenty-four hours. Once it is processed, it becomes a very useful piece of information.
The next phase is now reached wherein the information is organized and categorized. There is somewhat a profiling of users, that is, they are identified whether they are new or returnee, their length of stay is identified, and what is more amazing is all the pages they read or viewed are linked together for better analysis of their journey. One will know the order of the content he viewed. At this stage, configuration setting is applied. (More on configuration will be talked in the next blog.) After the data is processed, they are stored in the database for the next and final step.  Try to look at this simple categorization:

Lastly, the last step arrives, the reporting stage. This is the most exciting part because your are informed if your are performing well or not. It means that you can interact with your data. The reports given by Google help you to be more competitive by being more creative and innovative.
It may seem like a dense reading, but it gives a quick overview of how Google Analytics works.