Five Google Analytics Features to Help you Make More Money

Google Analytics may be free, but is it costing you money?

Google Analytics Dashboard

On first impressions the reports look fantastic -– you can find out how many people are visiting your site, from where and which sources send you the most visits. It’s a marketers dream! But…is this data truly helping you to make the right business decisions?

Allow me to introduce you to five freely available features that will put you back on the path to success:

  1. Goals
  2. Ecommerce Tracking
  3. Site Search
  4. Campaign Tracking
  5. Custom Dashboards

1. Goals

Goals are your best friend. Why? Because they focus your approach as you endeavour to make money.

Google Analytics uses goals to track conversions on your website and the first step to getting more conversions is to start measuring them.

Pretty much anything can be a goal so the first step is to identify the goals for your website (and your business).  Think about which actions on your website assist in generating revenue for your business – i.e., sales or leads. But you can also track other actions that might eventually lead to a sale – such as newsletter subscriptions, clicks on ads or simply the number of pageviews a particular page gets. If you’re just starting out, keep it simple and track something like a contact form submission.

The ‘goal’ settings are somewhat hidden away in the Admin section of Google Analytics, so you need to be an Administrator of your Analytics Account  to set them up. If you didn’t set up your Analytics account yourself and you don’t see the below options in your dashboard, then you may need to ask the person who set up your profile to make you an Administrator for the account.

To access Goals….

  1. Open Google Analytics and your website profile
  2. Click Admin in the top right
  3. Click Goals
  4. You’ll notice there are several Goal sets. Click +Goal to set up a new goal.

There are several different types of goals that Google Analytics can track:

  • URL Destination: A goal is met when a visitor lands on a particular URL, such as a ‘Thank You’ page from a contact form. This is the goal type you’ll be wanting to use if you’re wishing to get the infamous visual goal funnel indicating how many people continue through your goal process. This is great to discover issues, like 75% of people dropping off at your contact page and not continuing on to submit their details. In this case, you may want to review your contact page to see if it actually works in all browsers or if something is putting people off.
  • Visit Duration: If the amount of time visitors spend on your site is a goal, then you can set a time goal by when this objective is met, e.g., 30 seconds.
  • Pages/Visits: Page views are often important if you’re selling ads on your site. With Pages/Visits you can set off a goal when this threshold is met, e.g., if you set a threshold of five Page views, then a goal will be recorded once a visitor has visited five pages on your site.
  • Event: This goal type is often used for tracking clicks on a particular link, such as a document download or playing a video. To track events, you need to add some special code to your site. It can be quite complex, so we suggest reading through Google’s Event Guide for more detailed instructions.

Analytics Goals

2. Ecommerce Tracking

If you run an Ecommerce website, then Ecommerce tracking is like Goals souped up. I’m continually surprised at how few websites make use of this absolutely awesome feature.

The Ecommerce tracking feature allows you to gain direct insight into sales, allowing you to break it down further into metrics like traffic data for example. You can find out which marketing activity literally provides the best bang for your buck in terms of not only sales but, more importantly, revenue.

Even if you’re not selling retail products, you can also track end results like donations, or a paid digital download such as a template document or a song.

Unfortunately, this lovely data can be a bit tricky to set up for non-techies. However, trust me, it’s well worth it and your web admin will have no problem with it (especially if you bribe them with a nice bottle of something!).

  1. Open Google Analytics and your website profile
  2. Click Admin in the top right
  3. Click Profile Settings
  4. Set Ecommerce Settings to Yes, an Ecommerce Site/App
  5. Click Apply

Edit Profile Information

Now the science…

OK, so now we need to help Google Analytics understand how to identify your individual products, their categories and prices. This requires some pretty detailed coding, so I recommend you ask a developer to set this up for you.

You can find some comprehensive guidance on Ecommerce tracking from Google but, as I said, this can be a little daunting on first impression so it’s easy to understand why many don’t use it.

Luckily, some clever folks have developed ready-made solutions for popular Ecommerce platforms such as WooCommerce or Shopify, where all you need to do is link the platform to your profile and all the tagging is done for you. We personally can’t recommend the WooCommerce plugin enough, in terms of its features and performance in search engines, thanks to it being built on WordPress. However, if you’re reviewing other platforms, ensure Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking is something it handles out of the box.

Watch out though because many platforms will state ‘Google Analytics compatibility’, however this rarely includes full Ecommerce tracking integration. I’d factor it in the top five must-have features of a platform due to the high impact it can have on your profitability when used effectively.

If you have a search box on your website, this gem of a feature allows you to track the internal searches that your visitors use.  This can be a great way to spot any design or navigation flaws in your website, based on what visitors are using the search box for.

For example, you might find that many visitors search for a particular brand that you don’t stock. Understanding the level of this demand could see additional sales by adding these products to the website.

As an added bonus, it’s also pretty simple to set up compared to the others.

To set up site search:

  1. Open Google Analytics and your website profile
  2. Click Admin in the top right
  3. Click Profile Settings
  4. Under Site Search Settings select Do Track Site Searc
  5. Click Apply


Site Search

Next, we need to let Google Analytics know how to identify the keywords people use in their searches, by identifying the ‘query parameter’. The easiest way to do this is to perform a search on your site yourself, then check out the URL. You’ll see something like this:

In this example, the ‘s’ after the ‘?’ is the query parameter. Your site might use alternatives such as ‘query’ , ‘q’ or ‘search’. Once you’ve identified your query parameter, add that letter/word to the parameter box as per the below example.

Unfortunately, the feature only tracks future searches that visitors make which will populate in your reports after around 24 hours.

4. Campaign Tracking

If you run marketing campaigns outside of just search, such as emails or banner advertisements on third party websites, then you can better track the traffic and sales these sources generate, by adding a tag to the referral URL.

Knowing this exact ROI figure can help you to identify channels that aren’t worth the investment or others that convert exceptionally well and may be candidates for increased budget.

Tag me up

There are five different types of tags you can add to your campaign URLs. The first three are mandatory, with the remaining being optional.

a) Source

If you advertise via banner advertising on another website, then this site’s address is the source. Alternatively, if you have several different email lists, then each of these is a source, i.e., one list may convert higher than another for a certain type of offer and you want to know this.

b) Medium

Medium is the type of channel that the campaign is using. It’s best to not get too specific with the medium and try to keep it high level, e.g.:

  • Email
  • Banner
  • Social
  • Print

c) Term

Term is generally used to describe the paid keywords used, however it’s better to use the keyword tagging feature in PPC platforms, than use this field, as this automates the tagging rather than needing to set up a new term each time. Although keep in mind that Term in Google Analytics can be expanded out to other channels, for instance Yahoo and Bing.

d) Content

If you have different versions of an email or advert with alternative wording, e.g., ‘Get a Quote’ vs ‘Instant Quote’ vs ‘Free Quote’, then you’ll want to separate these to identify which converts higher.

e) Name

Give your campaign a name that will tell you exactly what it is when you see the metrics in your reports.

Luckily, Google provide a great Google’s URL Builder which, after you enter each of the above variables, will give you the URL to place within your Email or banner etc.

URL Builder

5. Custom Dashboards


If you’re a regular user of Google Analytics, you probably follow the same old routine… log in, hunt around for the data you want, get lost in the detail, logout and then do it all over again the next time.

No more! Custom dashboards allow you to have an instant one-window view of your most highly valued metrics, to help you make quick and informed decisions at a glance. For example, as an SEO, I really like to keep track of metrics such as the top 10 non-brand organic keywords, or landing pages that deliver the most traffic or revenue. Gathering this information with the standard dashboard would require me setting up multiple filters via several different dashboards.

Setting up Custom dashboards is super easy:

  1. Login to your Profile
  2. Click on the Home tab.
  3. Under Dashboards in the left sidebar, Click + New Dashboard
  4. Select either Blank Canvas or Starter Dashboard. The latter comes with a few sample widgets and is a good place to start.
  5. Give your Dashboard a meaningful title, e.g. ‘Conversions’ then click Create Dashboard
  6. If you selected ‘Blank Canvas’ you can now select the display format for your widget: Metric, Pie chart, Timeline or Table.
  7. You can also Add a filter to filter the data displayed in the widget, for example, if you wish to only show data from organic visits.
  8. Give your widget a title, e.g. Conversions from Organic
  9. Click Save.


You can set up dashboards for all sorts of quick reports. Below are a few ideas:

Conversions per medium e.g. SEO vs SEM

  • Brand Monitoring: Visits and shares from Social channels – Facebook vs Twitter vs Google+.
  • SEO: Brand vs Non-brand traffic, organic conversions
  • PPC: Cost per conversion

As an added bonus, you can also set up your custom dashboard to be emailed to yourself or another stakeholder, either as a once off or at regular intervals. Simply click Email in the top menu, enter an email address, a subject et voila!

So there you have it – five tips that will help you get the best out of Google Analytics, and help you to make more money. Enjoy!


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