The Google Marketing Platform for Growth Marketing (Review)

Understanding the complicated-but-foundational tool of digital analytics

Week 4 of CXL Institute’s Growth Marketing Minidegree covered an introduction to Google Analytics (GA), intermediate GA functionalities, and an overview of Google Tag Manager.

Google Analytics: what

After CXL’s 15 hours of video content on GA, I would say I’ve gone from dipping my toe in the GA pool to swimming. Maybe, like, for a club team.

Hands-on component

For the customization not replicable on the demo account, I used my site’s GA. Something about modifying my GA account made the whole process all the more exciting. And as a perk, the day I get more traffic, I’ll be ready to analyze every detail about my visitors (in a purely educational, non-creepy way).

How GA relates to growth marketing

GA is part of the Google Marketing Platform and is one of the most-used digital analytics tools. Unless you have over 10 million website hits, the platform is free to use, from solo blogger to medium-sized business.

GA collects, stores, and reports the behaviors of a website’s visitors. Of the three capabilities, GA excel at the storing part. Google’s other marketing products fill in to support the other two: Google Tag Manager collects, and Google Data Studio reports.

Using GA

GA Reports

Real-time reports

Real-time reports shouldn’t be used to make business decisions, but they offer a snapshot of the present to test if the right data is flowing into GA without needing to wait and lose data if not.

Audience reports

GA tracks users via client IDs and recognizes returning users through cookies. User tracking isn’t perfect, since GA can’t match different devices and incognito windows to one user. The only exception is Google Signals, which uses ad personalization settings for logged-in users for demographic data and cross-device behavior.

Acquisition reports

GA by default attributes traffic to 1. organic (users click through to your site from a Google search), 2. referral (users click through to your site from a link not on Google), and 3. direct/none (users directly type in your URL or “just appear” according to GA). You can set up customized acquisition reports to track email, social media, and any other acquisition channel of interest. If you want more users on your site, you first have to know how existing users find you.

Behavior reports

Extra useful here: bounce rate, exit rate, and events (specific behaviors you can set up otherwise not tracked by GA).

Conversion reports

Since every site has a unique definition and path for conversions, GA doesn’t automatically track anything here. You can set up goals (eg. time on site, newsletter sign-ups, purchases) to provide GA with the actions to track. GA uses your definition of a conversion for detailed insights into how traffic sources work together for repeat visitors, which segments of users convert (and which don’t), and where people fall off your site’s funnel sequence.

Free and powerful

Lesson overview

P.S. :)

Recent undergrad business graduate with a passion for personal growth, professional development, and tech marketing.