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Screen grab from Google Analytics.
Screen grab from Google Analytics.

Start: Mark Evans

Google Analytics from a user perspective Add to ...

The last column looked at the benefits of Google Analytics for anyone looking to gain more information about who is visiting your website, where they're coming from, and what they're doing once they get there.

For a better idea of how Google Analytics is actually used, I spoke with Juan Gonzalez, vice-president of technology with PlanetEye.com, an online travel planning service in Toronto. (Note: I used to work at PlanetEye before starting ME Consulting.)

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Mr. Gonzalez says the power of Google Analytics is in the variety of metrics it can generate based on the kind of information required. This can range from simple things such as page views to sophisticated metrics such as conversions on e-metrics funnels. That way Google Analytics serves the needs of a wide range of users.

“In our case, we manage a website in which a large number of writers participate so we use Google Analytics to segment the behaviour of our general user community by the authors they interact with,” he says. “It allows us to shape our team of writers based on their individual performance even if they all participate in the production of a single website.”

Mr. Gonzalez says learning how to use Google Analytics is fairly straightforward because Google does a good job of helping new users get started. It also helps, he says, to spend time “playing around” with the service to get a better idea of the different features and functionality.

People looking for more advanced reporting techniques can find information on a number of specialized blogs such as Google Analytics Results , Analytics Talk and Google Analytics' own blog .

Mr. Gonzalez says Google Analytics offers tremendous bang for the buck. The service's major limitation, he says, is that it produces reports in aggregate form, which means you can't see the behaviour of individual users.

“The most sophisticated users will find this limitation important as they are typically creating campaigns and pushing content that is relevant to specific demographics and a deep understanding of the behaviour of each group is key to executing their Web strategy,” he says.

Special to the Globe and Mail

Mark Evans is a principal with ME Consulting, a content and social media strategic and tactical consultancy that creates and delivers ‘stories' for companies looking to capture the attention of customers, bloggers, the media, business partners, employees and investors. Mark has worked with three start-ups – Blanketware, b5Media and PlanetEye – so he understands how they operate and what they need to do to be successful. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshUniversity and meshmarketing conferences .

 

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