Google Analytics is a much used jargon these days. In some way or other, most of us, if not all, have come across this terminology. In simplest of words, the entity provides two major tasks, which are

  • It lets one measure user interactions with one’s business across various devices and environments.
  • Additionally, it provides all the computing resources to collect, store, process, and report on these user-interactions.

Describing the components

There are 4 main components of Google Analytics. These are

  • Collection
  • Configuration
  • Processing and
  • Reporting

Developers interact and manipulate processing using an enriched user interface, client libraries and API, which are divided into the four entities mentioned above. To put it very simply,

  • Collection component collects data on user interaction
  • Configuration helps in deciding how the data will be processed
  • Processing facilitates processing of raw data and transforming it into meaningful information
  • Reporting is the aspect that provides access to the processed data

Major features

The entity possesses an array of features. Some of the significant elements in this context include

  • Advertising and Campaign Performance
  • Analysis and Testing
  • Audience Characteristics and Behavior
  • Cross-device and cross-platform measurement
  • Data Collection and Management
  • Just for mobile apps
  • Product Integrations
  • Sales and Conversions and
  • Site and App Performance

Advertising and campaign performance provides

  • Generating advertising reports – helpful to view conversion rates and returns across digital channels
  • Campaign measurement – This detailed real-time report helps determining which of the marketing campaigns are really paying off
  • Cost data import – Cost data can be imported from paid search and display providers, affiliates, social and even organic traffic
  • Search Engine Optimization – How Google Web Search queries are effective in brining visitors to a website
  • Remarketing – Helps in finding customers who have shown an interest in a particular product or service, then show them relevant ads for those same products as and when they surf the net

Analysis and Testing

  • Custom reports – can be generated in minutes and are helpful in accessing numbers that matter
  • Dash board ­- It provides a summary of many reports on a single page
  • Content experiment – helps eliminating the guesswork from website design. It tests variations of the existing pages and informs about which designs bring in the most conversions.

Audience Characteristics and Behavior

  • Audience data and reporting – provides extensive information on one’s audiences, including the kinds of people they are, where they come from, how they find your content, and how loyal and engaged they are
  • Browser O/S – shows what visitors are using to view a given site, like PC or MAC, Firefox or Chrome, etc. so that one can make smarter decisions about site layout and design
  • Flow visuals – lets one to see and analyze the path a visitor takes on to the website. See where they came from, the pages they browsed through, and the point where they exited the site
  • Map overlay – map view and visitor stats break down visitor information by continent, country and city, so that one can understand the real origins of one’s online traffic and identify the best places to invest for new opportunities
  • Mobile traffic – it helps one to further analyze and optimize a site for success
  • Social report – reveals the impact that social media has on a particular business goals and conversions
  • Traffic sources – helps evaluating the effectiveness of one’s referrals, direct traffic and organic (unpaid) search keywords, etc.

Cross-device and cross-platform measurement

  • Universal analytics – it measures digital platforms beyond web and apps, so that one can effectively connect offline conversions with online activity

Data Collection and Management

  • API – helps formatting data in meaningful way
  • Filters – it helps one in limiting and modifying the traffic data that appears in any given report view
  • User permission – allows to allocate right levels of access for different users of an existing Google Analytics account

Just for mobile apps

  • App profiles – provides access to app-specific metrics, dimensions, and features collectively designed to help a owner understand user acquisition, behavior and conversion
  • App-specific metrics and dimensions – screen views, sessions, app version, and screen size are just a few of the app-specific concepts you’ll find in Google Analytics for Mobile Apps
  • Crash and exception handling – with the in-built crash and exception reporting, Google Analytics allows one to  classify and prioritize the issues that are affecting one’s users, thus helping  to build a better experience
  • ios and Android SDK – helps measuring user interaction with one’s app by tracking key events and activities
  • Google play integration – provides optimum transparency on how the users are finding an app

Product Integrations

  • Adsense – it provides content publishers and bloggers a way to earn money with relevant ads placed on their websites, mobile sites, and site search results
  • Adwords – Google Analytics is efficient in importing AdWords data seamlessly, to provide crucial information about what visitors do after they’ve clicked on a particular ad
  • Google+ – it provides the latest updates about the product, upcoming events, Hangouts with analytics industry experts, or even connecting to the broader community.

Sales and Conversions

  • Ecommerce reporting – helps identifying one’s best-selling products and most powerful promotions. One can furthermore see what customers buy and how they do it, whether with complex transactions or single-click purchasing processes
  • Goals – helps measuring one’s sales, downloads, video plays, conversions and ultimately in defining one’s business goals
  • Goal flow – the visitor conversion path shows where they enter, where they get stuck, and where they leave. It shows the strengths and weaknesses in a particular site navigation, and learn where adjustments are needed to the site
  • Multi channel funnel – helps in making marketing strategies more effective

Site and App Performance

  • Alerts and intelligence events – Google Analytics monitors a website’s traffic to detect significant statistical variations, then generates alerts called Intelligence Events as and when they take place
  • Event tracking – it helps measuring activities like downloads, video plays, mobile ad clicks, gadgets, Flash elements, and AJAX embedded elements
  • In-page analytics – it displays crucial information on how users actually interact with the pages of a given website

These are all about the major features of Google Analytics, along with a brief discussion on each one of them.