Google Analytics is a powerful free and paid web analytics tool for businesses to track their web or app performance. Launched on November 15, 2005, following the acquisition of Urchin Software, Google Analytics has changed significantly in the last 15 years. Google Analytics started with the vision to speed up website tracking results processing, cutting processing time from 24 hours to 15 minutes. This was designed to be an add-on to the web hosting and development tools Google already offered however, it turned out to be a completely new product that outperformed competitors’ products.
Growing from its beginnings in tracking website results, Google Analytics goes well beyond simply analyzing the number of visitors on websites and apps nowadays. Today, nearly 40 million websites use Google Analytics as a part of their business. However, not many businesses understand the importance of Google Analytics and how to gain the maximum value from it. At Robotic Marketer, we monitor and analyze your data and analytics to reveal your secrets to success.
Evolution of Google Analytics
With the age of the internet, online payments, and data collection, companies have an abundance of data but often do not use it optimally. In 2005, Google released V1 of Google Analytics, to help companies improve their online interactivity, recognizing the potential of this data. In the week following the release of the first version, 100,000 new accounts were created on the platform, causing it to be shut down due to high demand. Google Analytics then became available only through an invitation system which enticed other users to use Google analytics. Google also created hype by sharing the stories of customers who experienced 50% growth in web traffic in a year. Since then, Google Analytics transformed from an add-on application to an integral element of Google’s offering.
Growth and development of Google Analytics
In 2007 and 2008 Google made major changes in the V2 platform, where they updated their reporting system, allowing businesses to locate and share data, seeking to promote greater customization and collaboration.
From 2008 to 2012, Google was in a stage of intensive development, launching V3, V4, V5, and creating a new slogan: “Enterprise-class web analytics made smarter, friendlier and free”. During these years, Google enabled users to analyze data and create subdivisions, providing the flexibility to analyze conversions, traffic, customer reports, and build a dashboard. The dashboard was a game-changer as it allowed users to navigate different profiles and simplify data.
Delivering more value
2013 was a huge year with Google introducing 70 new updates to create a better user interface, integrate with different platforms, introduce new APIs, and real-time behavior reports. In 2014, Google introduced a paid version of Google Analytics with additional features like real-time data visualization, SEO campaigns, and a deeper understanding of the data. They added more features to the free version by styling dashboards, creating a better user interface, and rebranding Google Analytics.
In 2016, Google launched Google Analytics 360, replacing Google Analytics Premium with 5 new products targeting SMBs, including audience targeting, increased analysis, and robust reporting. It allowed businesses to combine offline and online data to deliver a personalized experience.
Google Tag was a new product launched in 2017, allowing a user-friendly approach for non-developers to add website tags without any hassle, allowing data to be sent to Google Analytics and Google Ads. The sole purpose of Google Tag was to unify the multiple tags and simplify implementation.
In the following year, Google launched the Google Marketing platform, combining Google Analytics and Double Click Management within a single platform. The platform created an effective marketing suite to buy, measure and enhance the customer experience.
Google Analytics in 2020
2020! The year of data analytics and improved customer experience. From in-store to online purchasing, companies have collected a lot of data and generated more web traffic than ever before.
Google saw this opportunity of massive data collection and launched Google Analytics4 or GA4. The GA4 has machine learning at its core, providing a complete understanding of customers, smarter insights when it comes to the sales funnel, and different touchpoints to improve ROI.
Google Analytics now provides a complete understanding of how customers want to interact with the brand. Online purchasing has provided greater knowledge about consumer insights which showcases the buyer’s journey from acquisition, conversion, and retention.
How has Google Analytics changed the way we do business?
You can now track how customers find your website.
In 2005, companies didn’t have much information about their customers. They would have several visitors but not a clear understanding of where the customer came from. In 2020, businesses have changed the way they market. Marketers have a better understanding of the user’s journey to the website, for instance, whether it is through EDMs, Instagram ads, Facebook ads or other paid advertisements. Looking to track who visits your website?
Tracking how much time the user spends on the website (Behaviour Report)
In 2020, the analysis of users is very important as it allows the businesses to understand which page, blog, article or post is generating traffic on their website. The Behaviour Report allows you to make changes to your website or app and showcase the well-performing content to users. Want to understand what your customers think of your website, product, or services?
Track who is visiting and what they’re browsing (Bounce Rate)
Online shopping means lots of scrolling but less buying. How can you create engagement with your customers? The Bounce Rate is an important metric to determine if the messaging is failing to keep the user engaged with your website.
Tracking conversions (Acquisition)
Google Analytics has Acquisition reporting as an in-built feature with your marketing plan. This allows you to track conversions and adjust marketing, for instance tracking the successful conversion of a customer with items in their cart and then readjusting marketing efforts to focus on building loyalty with the brand, rather than bombarding them with further promotion. Do you have a lead generation model?
- Report generation (Data visualisation)
Still, going through excel sheets and the data sets? Gone are the days of manually processing complex data. Data visualization with Google analytics has helped businesses make strategic decisions based on market trends and user profiles. Want to know how you can visualize your data?