by Suzie Blaszkiewicz
Published on 22 June 2016
Google Analytics is (unsurprisingly) as ubiquitous when it comes to online analytics services as its parent company Google xis to search engines. As part of the Google family of products, the freemium platform for tracking and analyzing online traffic has gained notoriety for providing a seemingly universal portal that integrates with hundreds of online services and websites to track traffic sources.
If you're just getting started with Google Analytics, you might not be aware of all of the options that you have for pulling data. Did you know that you can track email campaigns from your email marketing platform, as well as the most frequented queries in your customer support software, and employee activity in your learning management system?
Check out some of the most useful Google Analytics integrations that'll let you dive deeper into your data from all sources.
Google Analytics has been around since 2005; as of 2016, it's the most popular and widely used analytics platform on the market. A tool to track web traffic, build dashboards, and create reports, one of the biggest advantages of Google Analytics is its cost- it's free for websites with less than 10 million visits per month. As such, it's used by people across industries and company sizes.
After 10 million visitors, however, it can get quite pricey, especially with the introduction of its new service, Google Analytics 360. A replacement for Google Analytics Premium, the new 360 suite includes six new modules (three are still in beta) for attribution, tag management, audience analysis, optimization, and building reports. If you're interested, KISSmetrics does a good job of breaking down Google's new suite.
Another huge bonus for Analytics? it has the advantage of being owned by Google and integrating natively with all of its products, including its omnipresent online advertising platform, Google AdWords, as well as Google Sheets.
"For the Google Sheets integration, you can download the GA add on and use the GA Reporting API for pulling data and running reports automatically. If you track the same metrics month after month or week after week, it can make tracking and reporting on information extremely quick," says Jeremy Gottlieb, a consultant at online marketing agency Distilled.
Aside from the Google family of products, however, there are tons of other ways that you can use Google Analytics integrations with your software to get the most from your data. Let's start with the most obvious: your content management system (CMS).
One of its biggest category of integrations, it's no surprise that Google Analytics integrates well with the place you publish your content. As one of the most common publishing platforms, WordPress is a great example of how you can connect Analytics to track your website's performance.
"If you're using WordPress as your CMS to power your website and generate its pages, you'll need GA to track how people interact on the site. WordPress, like any other CMS, does not automatically come with GA," says Gottlieb.
WordPress.com, WordPress' hosted platform, offers tracking for Google Analytics in its Business Plan version. It's as simple as creating a 'property' (your website) in Google Analytics with your domain, getting a tracking ID, and adding it to your WordPress.com analytics setting.
If you're hosting your own blog using the WordPress.org platform, there are various Google Analytics plugins, like this popular one, that can help you track your content's performance in GA. The most popular analytics metrics measured by Google Analytics include:
This is the type of information that you can use to gauge page or article performance to see which type of content is working best.
But the content in your CMS is not the only thing that you can track with GA.
It might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but your customer support software can also benefit from the tracking tools offered in Google Analytics. Which support pages are your customers looking at most, and which ones are most or least helpful?
Freshdesk offers Google Analytics integration and support to do just that. Once you've set up your knowledge base, you can add it as a property in Google Analytics and add the tracking ID to your Freshdesk admin (similar to the process for WordPress integration). Once there, you can add the tracking ID under the Admin tab. You'll then be able to see stats about your support portal in Google Analytics, letting you tweak your most frequented queries in order to optimize them for your users.
You can read a full tutorial on how to integrate Freshdesk with Google Analytics.
You've probably never thought of integrating Google Analytics with your HR software, but it's definitely an option. Consider a learning management system (LMS) and the potential for getting more information about how your studious employees are using the system so that you can optimize their learning.
Similar to tracking the use of your customer support knowledge base, you can do the same with Docebo, a popular LMS for business, to see how people are using your site. Once you activate Google Analytics to work with Docebo, you can monitor usage and see the online status of your students or employees. Check out a detailed step by step guide on how to set up this tracking here.
Being able to track the performance of your marketing campaign helps you to understand how well or poorly it has gone. This is especially important when it comes to email marketing campaigns. Even though most email marketing apps have some sort of tracking options available, being able to track referral traffic coming to your website from email campaigns with a Google Analytics integration is a big bonus.
Email marketing tool Campaign Monitor offers this option for integrating Google Analytics to track incoming traffic from campaigns. Once you get the tracking code from GA, you can use a tracking link with UTM parameters that specify the source, medium, and link from which the most traffic has come. You can get a full tutorial on how to set up this tracking from Campaign Monitor's website.
Source: Campaign Monitor
Google Analytics also integrates with other types of marketing software, such as that for building landing pages, giving you another big advantage for tracking marketing efforts.
Says Gottlieb, "I like to use Unbounce for landing page design and A/B testing. If you have landing pages that you're sending traffic to via paid (Adwords, Facebook, etc.), you'll have very little idea how they interact on the website without the GA integration. It's not hard to implement, but if you're using Unbounce without GA, you might as well be driving blind."
When information is recorded properly, your CRM can give really valuable insight into successful leads. With Google Analytics integration, you can also see where those leads came from.
Zoho CRM has a two way integration tool called GAconnector to connect with Google Analytics, which works by:
Below you can see what this reporting looks like in Google Analytics.
Having this information can help you make connections that show which marketing efforts have helped closed the most deals. Zoho outlines some of the benefits of having this integration in a blog post, including turning off channels that bring negative ROI, accelerating channels that bring in the most money, and bidding on keywords that have the biggest impact on your revenue.
Google Analytics is multi-faceted tool that can integrate with most online software in order to give you insights into how people are visiting your site. Aside from those mentioned above, you can also integrate your e-commerce, IT management and social media platforms with Google Analytics in various ways in order to get insights into every aspect of your business' online performance.
Which Google Analytics integration could you not live without?