To view basic website stats that PhotoShelter collects for you, visit the Overview section of your Admin Area Homepage, where we already pull data about your site directly from Google Analytics. If you’re interested in how your website performs in Google Search, Google Search Console may be the best tool for you.
For highly detailed analytics on who's visiting your site, what they're doing there, how long they're staying, and much more, follow the Google Analytics integration instructions below!
We cannot provide full support on Google Analytics questions. Please refer to Google Support - their articles are very helpful!
- How Google Analytics Works
- Getting Started: Terms and Account Setup
- Implementing Your Tracking ID
- Reading the Data
- Site Search Tracking
How Google Analytics works
"Web analytics" refers to the collection and analysis of data about any given website. There are many web analytics tools available out there, but Google Analytics is the industry standard we recommend, and is totally free to use.
In order to collect this website data, a tracking code linked to a Google Analytics user account must be added to every page of the site.
When someone visits a page on that website, the tracking code is triggered, and anonymous data about that visit is instantly sent to Google.
Google then takes this raw data and processes it into reports that can be understood by the website owner. These reports are what make up a Google Analytics view, and are meant to help the owner make data-driven decisions about how to market their website.
Getting Started: Terms and Account Setup
The biggest learning curve when setting up Google Analytics for the first time may be the terminology. Here are some important terms to know:
- Property - Usually a single website with a unique domain. If a website can be accessed by two domains, each domain is considered a separate property, and each property gets its own unique tracking code.
- View - A configured way of organizing data for reports. You can have multiple views for a property.
- Filter - Specifies what data you do or don’t want to collect in a particular view.
- Acquisition - The act of building awareness or acquiring user interest. Acquisition data relates to users entering your site.
- Behavior - How users engage with your business. Behavior data relates to users exploring and interacting with your site.
- Conversion - When a user becomes a customer and transacts with your business. Conversion data relates to final purchases being made on your site. (Depending on your goals, you might consider a user contacting you with a booking inquiry to be a conversion. Consider “conversion” to be the end goal of your site.)
- User - A term widely used for online customers and generally anyone interacting with your website.
- Session - A measurement of a single user’s visits to your site. The single session “clock” starts when they visit your site, and ends 30 minutes after their last interaction on your site.
Here are the steps for creating your Google Analytics account and connecting your PhotoShelter site:
1. Head to www.google.com/analytics and click “Start for free.” If you already have a Google account for Gmail or any of their other services, you may use the same username and password to register for an Analytics account.
2. Once you're logged into your Google account, select “Admin” from the column on the left-hand side of the screen.
a. Account Name - This is for your purposes. It could be your name or the name of your business.
b. Account Data Sharing Settings - Determine the level at which you want your account accessible to Google.
c. What do you want to measure? - Select “Web.”
4. The next section helps you setup your first property. You’ll be prompted to enter the following:
a. Website Name - This is for your purposes, to discern between different properties, or websites, in your account.
b. Website URL - Select https:// from the drop down and enter your full website address.
You can find your default PhotoShelter website address in the My Website Address field on your General Settings page. For example: joeandmikephoto.photoshelter.com
If you have a custom domain set up on your PhotoShelter site, use your custom domain here, including the "www" or subdomain. For example: www.atlantaphotography.com
c. Industry Category & Reporting Time Zone - Select what best fits your business.
Implementing Your Tracking ID
In order for Google Analytics to start collecting data on your website traffic, your unique Google Analytics ID must be added to every page of your site in the <head> section, an invisible section of code at the top of each page. Sound difficult? We’ve made it simple with a Google Analytics integration.
1. In your Google Analytics account, click on Admin in the lower left corner.2. Make sure your website address is selected in the Property column, then in that column click “Tracking Info” > “Tracking Code.”
Creating Views and Filters
Each property created in Google Analytics will already come with one unfiltered view. You can just work in this one view, but if you want to take your web analytics to the next level, you might consider creating multiple views so that you can filter data differently in each one. For example, you may want to create a view that filters out any traffic from your personal IP address, so that traffic isn’t mixed in with traffic from potential customers.For more information on creating views and filters, check out Google’s help article.
Reading the Data
With Google Analytics, you have a few options for how you want to look at your data, ranging from general and easy to understand to granular and advanced. These options are Insights, Overviews, and Full Reports.
If you’ve just set up your Google Analytics account and implemented your tracking ID, you probably won’t have enough data collected yet to have truly relevant Insights, Overviews, or Full Reports. It’s best to let Google Analytics collect data for at least a month before returning to your Master View to look for trends and marketing insights. Remember, Analytics does not retroactively collect data on your site, so it will only collect data from the moment, and for as long as, your tracking ID is implemented.
Analytics Insights are a new tool we highly recommend for those new to data analytics. Whereas the full reports can be a bit daunting, Insights allow you to ask relevant questions about your data and receive a clear answer, without having to sort through the highly detailed Full Reports.
You can find the Insights tool on your Google Analytics homepage. Just check the top left corner of the page first to confirm you are looking at the property and view desired:
On the Ask Analytics Intelligence box, click “More Insights” to browse answers to questions such as:
- Over the last 6 months, on what weekdays did I have the most users?
- How long do users spend on my site?
- What are my top pages in terms of pageviews?
Clicking on an Insight question displays relevant data pulled from one of your full reports, as well as a link to that report and some follow up questions you may want to click on to dive deeper:
For more information on Insights, check out Google’s help article.
A dashboard can be found on the Google Analytics homepage for whichever property and view you’re currently in. You can confirm which property and view you’re looking at by checking the top left corner of the page, or clicking the view name to make any changes:
The dashboard displays some easy-to-read visualizations providing an overview of the most popular data to monitor. Each visualization includes a link to a report allowing you to dive deeper into the data.For more information about your dashboard, check out Google’s help article.
Overviews and Basic Reports
Reports are broken up into five categories:
- Realtime - Live user behavior on your website.
- Audience - Characteristics about your users like age, gender, where they’re from, their interests, how engaged they were, whether they’re new or returning users, and what technology they’re using.
- Acquisition - Which channels (such as ad campaigns, links, or search engines) brought users to your site.
- Behavior - How people engaged with your site once on it.
- Conversions - Tracking for goals that you set up in GA. (check out Analytics Help for more on goal tracking)
The Overview for each category can be found in the left pane nested just under each category name:
Primary Dimension - Allows you to switch to a different dimension in the tableSecondary Dimension - Allows you to add a second dimension to the table for more granular comparison. For example, to ask the question “How are mobile devices performing in the US vs. the UK?” in the Location report, the two dimensions are Country and Device Category:
- table - the default table organization for most reports breaking up dimensions into acquisition, behavior, and conversion metrics
- pie chart - compares a single metric for the dimension in a pie chart (use the accompanying drop-down menu to view a different metric)
- performance view - compares a single metric side-by-side (use the accompanying drop-down menu to view a different metric)
- comparison view - a bar graph that compares each entry to the site average for that metric
- pivot table - both rows and columns can show dimensions for more granular comparison
Site Search Tracking
If you’re interested in data about how your website performs in Google Search, check out Google Search Console. If you’re interested in data about searches made on your website’s search bar or advanced search page, keep reading!
The Google Analytics Site Search report can be found under Behavior > Site Content. This report allows you to see what terms users are searching for on your website. Follow these steps to set it up:
1. From your Google Analytics account, click “Admin” in the lower left corner. Select your appropriate account, property, and the view on which you want to enable Site Search tracking. If you have multiple views, you can repeat these steps for each view.2. Under the View column, click “View Settings.”
5. Check the box for “Strip query parameters out of URL,” leave Site search categories turned off, and click Save!
You should begin to see data in the Site Search report in about 24 hours. Remember, Analytics does not retroactively collect site search data on your site, so it will only collect data from the moment, and for as long as, site search tracking is enabled.For more information on how Site Search metrics are calculated, check out Google’s help article.