How to learn Google Analytics. Even if you don’t like numbers.
Growing your business is hard and sometimes you don’t even know where to start. I have also been there and had no idea what to do. But eventually, I found out what I need to know in order to grow an eCommerce store. Mind you, it is not an easy road, but the effort is definitely worth it.
When I realized I had to understand and analyze data in Google Analytics, I almost panicked. I remember the first time I tried to look in Google Analytics, I had absolutely no idea what was going on there. I really didn’t want to learn all that stuff. But I figured if I want any kind of progress, I should give it a second chance and I began to learn.
Yet to my surprise, I actually came to love Google Analytics. And in the past, I used to run from it as much as I could. For a creative entrepreneur, data and numbers are the last thing you want to learn. Usually you leave this to those who like math. But if you want to increase sales, you need data. Otherwise, you are just throwing stabs in the dark.
There are some very good reasons to learn Google Analytics and why you should do so if you want to grow your ecommerce business.
This is a skill
But before we continue, let me preface this saying: Google Analytics is a skill, and you can totally learn it and master it. Not one single human being is born with knowledge about anything, pretty much everything is learned. So, don’t get discouraged if it seems overwhelming at first. You will get there and you’ll know everything you need to.
Know your numbers
First of all, if you don’t know your numbers, you won’t last long in this game. It’s that simple. How’s that for motivation? With no data you see no feedback for your action, and feedback is the real key to success here. You can’t go the right way if you don’t know where you’re going.
When you’ll learn how to use GA, you will be amazed by what insights you can get from it. It is truly mind-blowing. Now, that won’t happen every time, especially when you just start using it. But the more experience you have with it and the better you understand it; you’ll be able to pull out information you’re not even thinking of right now. You can look at data any way you want, you can create custom reports to suit your needs. You tell it what you want to see and analytics will show you.
Know where the problem is
Another great thing about it is that it tells you where the problems are on your online store. Knowing what needs to be fixed and where is essential if you want to see results. You could start improving random things on your website, but you don’t want to go down that road. It’s just unproductive and pointless.
Know where the money is
But most importantly, it shows you where the money is. And you should always follow the money. See what sells best and invest more in that. One common situation is when you have a product that you neglect, yet that actually brings in considerable amounts of revenue with a great conversion rate. I guess everyone would want to know that about their business if it’s the case.
It helps you focus
GA helps you narrow down your focus and this will get you a long way. Trying to identify issues on your ecommerce store just by looking at it is like searching for a needle in a haystack. On the other hand, knowing your data is like having a magnet.
Start with GA Academy
To begin learning this amazing tool, I recommend you start with the free courses Google has to offer. Here is the link for Google Analytics Academy. I would say that you should only watch the Basic, Advanced and Power User ones and you will have a foundation to further improve your skills.
Explore each report
The next step is to really explore each and every single report. Use the demo account Google gives you access to. It’s their store and it has real data. You won’t be able to do much, as you have limited access, but it’s useful nonetheless.
Practice looking at the data there and try to come up with your own conclusions. Look at who their audience is, what pages do they visit? What segments of their audience is the most valuable? Take each report, one by one and write down what you think it is useful to know. After you’ve identified useful data, come up with ways to use that in order to increase conversions.
If you want to learn more, you could search on the Udemy platform for courses on this topic. Articles are another good resource especially if you just want to find out how to do a particular thing. The key here is to get acquainted with it, so you can easily find the reports you want.
If you would like to know more about how I was able to learn GA, keeping in mind that I really don’t like numbers and that kind of things, here’s how my journey went.
Until I discovered conversion rate optimization, I did not even consider Google Analytics. I’ve heard about it, I even looked at it once, but that was it. When I first heard about CRO, I started doing a little research to find out what is it exactly and how it can help me. That’s how if found out that analyzing data is a crucial step in growing online sales.
At first, I was skeptical and didn’t really understand what’s the big deal with it. Eventually, I gave it a try and started watching the courses Google has. First time I went through the lectures, I ended up having more questions than answers. It was really confusing. But I tried to persevere and went a second time through them, writing down each thing I did not understand.
And that’s when things started to make a little more sense. I had a basic understanding of how this works and the potential is has. So, I continued, I read articles, I watched videos, I looked up other courses online and free resources from sites like ConversionXL. And slowly but surely, I got more comfortable with this tool. Mind you, I still have plenty to learn, and as GA continues evolving, you’ll never really stop learning. And that can only be good news.
My best single advice I can give to people who want to learn this tool, and are not really into numbers and data, is this: focus on the basics and ignore the advanced stuff, it will only make you feel overwhelmed. Once you’re comfortable with the basics, then you go to the next step. The key is to have a step by step approach and be patient.
Creativity needs guidance
Learning Analytics is very fascinating because there is always something new you can discover. You can look at the data your own way and interpret it how you think it’s best. And this is only the start. Once you have an idea of how your business performs in terms of numbers, then you can let your creativity free and come up with ingenious ideas to grow.
What I want you to take away from this is that you need this, whether you like it or not. I didn’t, at least at the beginning. But now I see the importance of it and that it actually helps me in my creative process. That’s because it gives me guidance on what I should focus on. And helps me progress in the right direction.
So, I encourage you to take on this challenge and learn google analytics. And before you know it, you too will start to love it.