When it comes to website tracking and understanding website usage, Google Analytics is the gold standard. Approximately, 53% of all websites use it, which is several times higher than the next closest competitor: Adobe Analytics. Part of what makes Google Analytics so popular is that it’s free. There are more deluxe versions of it, Google Analytics 360, but the vast majority of features are available for no cost. If you’re looking to understand your website or to work in the marketing field, knowing Google Analytics is a must.
Google Analytics is ubiquitous across the internet, however, getting access to a Google Analytics account to learn is next to impossible. Data is knowledge. And knowledge is power. So no one is going to let you mess around on their Google Analytics account. Luckily, there is a free Google Analytics demo account. The demo account allows users to learn web analytics on a website that actually has traffic.
Story About The Google Analytics Demo Account
It’s not uncommon for marketing jobs to have a Google Analytics skills assessment as part of the interview process. As a data analyst, I have sat through many great interviews only to be disappointed by their ability to even navigate the platform. Stellar Google Analytics skills are an easy way for candidates to differentiate themselves.
The skills assessment at my marketing agency gave candidates thirty minutes to dig through the Google Analytics Demo account and to find actionable insights. The candidates would then put their findings into a PowerPoint and present them to the interviewers. Quick tip, add little design features. It’s amazing what adding a shadow to the background of an image can do.
When I was applying to become a digital marketing data analyst apprentice, part of the interview process was a Google Analytics skills assessment. I failed the assessment miserably. At the time I had data analyst experience with technologies such as Tableau and R. But had never used Google Analytics. In the time allotted, I found zero insights. But I was able to see how much traffic the demo account, which isn’t saying much. Luckily, I got the job anyway, it was a low paying apprenticeship after all and was able to learn Google Analytics while working at that marketing agency.
My hope is that after reading through this article you’ll be able to have a Google Analytics demo account to practice with and be able to pass a basic Google Analytics Skills assessment.
What Is The Demo Account
The Google Analytics demo account tracks and displays the real data for the Google Merchandise Store. The Google Merchandise Store is an eCommerce site selling Google-branded merchandise: shirts, mugs, key chains. You get it.
The account is fully set up and shows traffic, behavior, and eCommerce data for the whole website.
How to Gain Access to The Google Analytics Demo Account
To gain access to the Google Analytics demo account click on this link here. If you do not have a Gmail account you will need to create one. Using your Google account, Google will either create a Google Analytics Account for you and add the demo account. Or it will add the demo account to your already existing Google Analytics account.
The demo account can be accessed by clicking on the top-left drop-down and selecting the Demo Account. Within the Demo Account, you’ll see several Properties & Apps, select Google Merchandise Store. This will allow you to select from several Views, select 1 Master View.
Click on The drop-down just to the right of the Google Analytics Logo
Select Demo Account > Google Merchandise Store > 1 Master View
After selecting the 1 Master View, you will now be looking at the Google Analytics home page. Once you complete this step you’ll be able to access demo account data. Soemthing to keep in mind is that while you will have access to the real data, you will not have admin access. But anyways, Congratulations! You now have access to the Google Analytics Demo account and can begin doing the fun part: analysis.
Brief Overview of UI
The Google Analytics interface can be daunting at first. There are a ton of options to click on, and the home page is full of distracting widgets.
Along the left side of the screen, there’s a sidebar of folders containing all the reports in Google Analytics. To the right of the sidebar is where the reports will display. Usually, at the top of the report, there is a graph showing a metric over time. And a table will appear below the graph.
The first report to view is the Channels report. To get to the Channels report go to the following:
Acquisitions > All Traffic > Channels
The Channels report displays a graph along the top showing the daily number of users over the selected period of time. Below the graph is a table showing traffic source data.
Changing The Date
Change the time period to display the last 30-days. To do this, you’ll notice a range of dates at the top right of the report. Click on it and it will expand to show a calendar and a dropdown.
To select data from the last 30-days, click on the drop-down and select the last 30 days. Then click Apply.
How to Understand the Report
Below the graph is a table. The table contains the pertinent data.
In the left-most column, you will see the various default channels. Each channel represents the method a person used to get to the site. For example, Organic Search is how many users arrived on the site by clicking on a link that was the result of an Organic Search.
Bounce Rate is a measure of engagement; lower is better. If you look at the chart above, you’ll notice Referral has the lowest bounce rate. Suggesting these users are engaged with the site. It also has the third most users to the site, so it is an important traffic source. To learn more about where these referrals are coming from, click on Referral in Google Analytics.
This will take you to the source report. The source report is essentially a more detailed version of the Channel Report.
Using the same methodology as above, we can see that mall.googleplex.com has the lowest bounce rate of 14.03%, and is the referral source that is showing the second most traffic.
Clearly users that come from this source are highly engaged. As marketers, we would want to increase traffic from that source*(You may not know what that source stands. That’s the source for internal Google employee emails. I only know that because I’ve Googled it.)*.
Which leads us to an insight:
- Users coming from Internal Google employee emails are highly engaged. These users have a 14.03% bounce rate, and makeup approximately 35% of all referral traffic. Increasing traffic from his source would increase engagement on the site and would increase Google Merchandise sales. Two ways to do this are:
- Increasing the amount of marketing emails to employees Google Merchandise Store
- Include a link on the official internal Google template to the Google Merchandise Store
Enhanced eCommerce Report
When looking for insights, it’s important to keep the goals of the business in mind. Since this is an eCommerce website, the main goal is rather simple. Increase in revenue. To view revenue, go to the Product Performance Report. Click on Conversions > Ecommerce > Product Performance.
Like the Channel Report, the important part of the Product Performance Report is the table. In the left-most column, you’ll see a list of products sold on the Google Merchandise Store. And to the right, you’ll see eight metrics. All the metrics in this report have value but for this report, we’ll focus on Revenue, Unique Purchases, and Buy-To-Detail Rate. Revenue and Unique Purchases are easily understood, but Buy-To-Detail Rate is less intuitive. In the platform, you can hover over the “?” next to the name to get the official Google definition.
Unique purchases divided by views of product detail pages
What does that mean? It’s essentially the percentage of people who ended up making a purchase after reading the product description. It’s a measure of interest in a product.
Among these products, we can see that the Google Camp Mug Ivory has the second-highest Buy-To-Detail rate and the eighth-most revenue, and has the highest purchase number. The reason revenue is relatively low while the unique purchase is high is because the mug is inexpensive.
From this we can get our second insight:
- The Google Camp Mug Ivory is a product that users show a lot of interest in. The product has the second-highest Buy-To-Detail Rate at 5.14%. This suggests users are curious about the product. The Google Camp Mug Ivory also has the most unique sales with 9 unique purchases. While it is a relatively inexpensive item, more users will be likely to buy it. Increasing traffic to this product will likely yield a high conversion rate.
- Running a paid search campaign using keywords based on the mug would increase the traffic of highly engaged customers to the product
- Including an image and link to the Google Camp Mug Ivory in the next internal Google, email would increase sales of the product.
Wrap Up of Findings & Conclusion About Google Analytics
With those two findings from the channel report and the product performance report, you would have absolutely nailed the Google Analytics Assessment test. I’ve seen dozens of people take this assessment and only a handful ever did well. All the ones that did nail it received offers. So being able to understand Google Analytics and pull actionable insights out of the platform is a game-changer. It’s absolutely necessary if you’re a data analyst, but it has value for all people working in marketing. An account manager, SEO, blogger, or designer that can use Google Analytics data will set themselves apart. I would also recommend going through the Google analytics academy. There you can earn a free certification in Google Analytics. It’s not too difficult and is an easy way to boost your resume.
As you progress the Google Analytics demo account will be a valuable place to practice many Google analytics skills. You can learn which secondary dimensions work well in certain reports. How to integrate your Google Adwords and Google Search Console data with Google Analytics data. And, how to make custom reports in Google Data Studio. All of these skills provide value to you in your career and for your employer.
Google Analytics is everywhere in digital marketing. Every ad campaign or website design upgrade will have an effect on the traffic, and that effect is captured in Google Analytics. Exploring the data in the platform and finding insights are paramount for succeeding in digital marketing. Not knowing Google Analytics will leave you not knowing what your customers want.
So practice on the Google Demo Account!