CXL Digital Analytics Minidegree Review – Week 1

Welcome to the first review article Of Digital Analytics Minidegree offered by CXL Institute. Let me take a moment to thank Peep Laja, for creating such an extensive course on the topic. Minidegree covers Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Data Studio, BigQuery, FB Analytics, and Attribution – all courses covered indepth.

Now, let us have a bird’s eye view of what was covered in the program( First Week Review).

Google Analytics helps to measure different types of interactions and behaviours that are happening on your website to take data-driven decisions. You can check how far the user has scrolled down the website, how the users are interacting with the videos, did they click on the links etc. GA helps to monitor all such events and answer the question – how they achieved the goals.

Google Tag Manager collects data through tracking scripts, which is then send to Google Analytics. GA stores user behavior in its huge Database. Google Analytics then can be used to send data to Google Data Studio, which then presents interactive reports for the users.

Course also mentions about the difference between Metrics and Dimensions. Metrics carry numerical value (think of revenue, sessions, hits etc.), whereas dimensions have non-numerical value (city for instance).

Course also describes about the differences between Account, Property, and View in Google Analytics. Each account can have multiple properties. And each property can have multiple views.

Chris Mercer helped to clarify one of my doubts regarding GA setup. What time zone should I use for reporting time zone? He suggests to keep it as the one where the company server is located, not based on where you are located physically. This helps to make sure reporting is consistent between different platforms.

Account Permissions:

Next, he describes about account permissions.


Lowest level of permission is read & analyse, followed by collaborate, edit, and Manage users in that order.
You need edit, collaborate, read & analyse for working on client data effectively.

Chris Mercer also shared a pro tip regarding how to reduce spam bot activities. To reduce spam bot activities, create a new property exclusively for production purpose. UA number starts with UA followed by random number and ends with – 1(this is for the first property), let it stay as decoy property. Create one more property, that client id will end with – 2, you can use this for production view. Spam bots usually target the client IDs ending with – 1

Real time report

Real time reports help to check if tagging or tracking is working fine. You can go to Events page, and see if the tracking you set up through GTM is working perfectly

Acquisition report:

Most important report can be found under – All traffic – Source / Medium
• How much traffic they are sending? – Users, New users, Sessions
• Quality of the traffic – Bounce Rate, Pages/Session, Avg.Session Duration
• Results of the traffic sources – Ecommerce CR, Transactions, Revenue

It also shows Search Console data, one thing to remember in this report, landing pages are measured as impressions. You need to setup Google Search Console to get this report. And this report shows only Google traffic (doesn’t show traffic from other search engines).

Audience Report:

This report shows who your users are, how you are acquiring them – is it organic traffic, through referrals, paid search, affiliates etc.

Google’s definition of a user was definitely not what I thought of about it.
If we open the site in incognito mode, Google will count as a new user.
Open the same site through laptop first, followed by mobile, tablet etc – you will be considered as a different user each time. Google tracks using Client ID.

Open the site in a different browser – considered as a different user again.

You need to segment the users for taking smarter business decisions – who are my buyers, who are non-buyers etc.

Behavior Report:

This report answers the question what actions the users are taking.
Most important Behavior report is Landing Pages – As the name implies, landing pages are the pages user see first.

Take a look into your reports and check:
• Which landing page is driving more transactions
• Which page is driving most revenue

Use this data to further improve landing pages.

Bounce Rate data – Always check the data in a comparative fashion.

You need to compare bounce rate data of 2 pages and see if it makes sense.
For e.g.: Sign in page will have low bounce rate, as the user came to login to their account.

Product page may have higher bounce rate compared to sign in page which is quite natural.

Also, compare bounce rate differences between 2 different products, and check if any improvements can be done.

Events are not tracked by default – you need to setup relevant events for your website.

Conversion Report:

This report mentions about the results of user’s actions.
One of the most important conversion reports can be found here, Conversion – Goal – Goal URL:
This report mentions when the goal is achieved. If you have multiple blog posts promoting sales page, you can the above mentioned report to see which blog post is driving more results.

Reverse Goal Path –
It will tell you: step they were on when they completed and also goes three steps deep (goal previous step-1, goal previous step-2, goal previous step-3)

View Settings:

Different types of views required:
• Production View – this one is used to answer your marketing questions.
• Testing View – just as the name suggests, it is for testing things. You wont use this data for making any marketing decisions.
• Backup View – Also known as raw Data View. You wont use this view for any purpose, don’t apply any filters or manipulate in any manner. It stays there just for emergency purpose.

Understanding different traffic types:
There are 3 different types of traffic : Organic , referral, and none.

You can customize traffic types None and referral traffic to gain more insights.

Referrals:
You can deep dive into referrals page and show which pages are helping you make conversions, which pages are bringing you more users. Pitch those bloggers and ask if they are interested in making affiliate promotions and such.

Published by merinmathew

Merin Mathew is a freelance writer and an expert in Content Marketing and Link Building consultant. She has  contributed articles to leading blogs like Engadget, Inc42, TMCnet etc.

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