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Google analytics logoI recently attended the Digital Summit in Kansas City. If you ever get a chance to attend, I highly recommend it. The sessions covered topics like SEO, email marketing, social media, voice SEO, automation, and much more. No matter your skill level or marketing interests there is undoubtedly something for everyone.

That being said, I did notice that Google Analytics was barely referenced in any of the sessions that I attended. I realized that Google Analytics has become the tool that everyone has – but no one uses. 

As marketers, we have become so agile that we forget how many great tools we have at our fingertips. Google Analytics is completely free, and it’s connected to Google. Um… duh, right? So, why aren’t you using it? Doesn’t it make sense to use it as your primary data source? I certainly think it does.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love advanced automation tools like HubSpot or Marketo. However, when it comes to the data component, have you ever noticed that what one platform like Facebook Ads reports will be different from what your automation platform or website reports? How do you know which one is right? You don’t.

So, I recommend using one single source of data truth. Google Analytics makes sense because it is an unbiased reporting tool.

So, what can GA do for you? Here are five things you didn’t know or forgot about Google Analytics.

1. AdWords

Conversion tracking should be a priority when placing an ad. You need to be able to understand which keywords are driving activity. If you only look at AdWords, you can’t track conversions on your site. So, you need to connect AdWords to GA.

Whether you outsource your ad buy or run it in-house, you should be able to access the success of your campaigns with GA. The setup time is minimal, and there are a plethora of resources online to show you how to set it up.  

2. UTM Parameters

If you haven’t geeked out on UTM’s yet, it’s time. Unique Tracking Parameters (UTM’s) will allow you to track everything you can think of on your site such as banner ads, e-books, newsletters, text ads, social media posts, and more.

You have probably noticed UTM’s but didn’t pay attention to what they were tracking. Take a look at this example of a UTM.

When you analyze this link you can see what it’s really telling you.

  • Destination URL:
  • Type: campaign
  • Year:  2018
  • Month: 04
  • Campaign: higher+education
  • Source: facebook
  • Medium: social
  • Ad Content: messages

When I log into GA, I know without a doubt that any traffic coming from this UTM will be from this particular ad. You can set up your own UTM’s here.

3. Benchmarking

The question that everyone wants to know is, “How are we doing compared to our competitors?” Although GA won’t give you side-by-side comparison data, you can gather industry related data to better understand where you stand.

The benching tool will sort by industry vertical, country, and size by session. Try to get as close as possible to your industry to gather insights. I wrote a post about stats awhile back, and this tool will help elevate any marketing information vs. your industry confusion.

4. Exit Pages

Understanding what pages your visitors are on when they leave is valuable information. Depending on the nature of your business, you might want to use a pop-up asking people to stay or enter an email address. If you hate pop-ups or if they don’t make sense for what you do, then you can use Google Optimize on that page to increase your results.

You may also have some pages where you’d like to see high exit rates, such as pages that lead to an external event registration page, job application site, etc.

5. Funnel Visualization

Photo Credit: Google Analytics Demo Account


Using the Funnel Visualization tool, you can gather massive amounts of actionable data based on the goals you set up. Your goals should be focused on signups, purchases, and other revenue-generating activities. The funnel visualization tool will allow you to understand where visitors are being stalled in your marketing and sales funnel. Once you know what is holding visitors up, you can use Google Optimize to test your page to increase conversions.


You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Measuring your campaigns will only help you in the long run if you start now. Higher cost doesn’t always mean better product, so don’t hesitate to take another look at Google Analytics for your company.

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