The Definitive Guide to Google Analytics for Publishers

Do you want to track your blog visitors with Google Analytics but aren’t sure how to get started? Then you’re in the right place. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Google Analytics for publishers.

What Is Google Analytics and Why Do You Need It?

analytics data
Google Analytics is a free tracking tool that gives you data on your blog visitors and their actions on your site. With Google Analytics, you can find how visitors find and interact with your blog, so you can keep them coming back.

A few benefits of using Google Analytics include:

  • It’s free: Google Analytics is a freemium service by Google, and it is the most comprehensive tracking tool for websites of all sizes.
  • Intuitive reports: You can find several useful and intuitive reports in Google Analytics that tell you everything you need to know about your blog visitors. The best part is, you don’t have to be an Analytics data expert to analyze the reports.
  • A perfect solution for publishers: Google Analytics gives you the most accurate data about your visitors to grow your blog’s audience and increase the revenue you generate from your blog.

How to Use Google Analytics for Your Blog

The MonsterInsights plugin is the easiest solution that allows you to set up Google Analytics on your WordPress website. If you’re setting up Google Analytics manually, you’ll have to copy the tracking code from your Analytics account and add it to every page of your website through your WordPress header.

MonsterInsights takes the pain out of Google Analytics set up, helping you to do it in just a few clicks without touching a single line of code.

Simply click Authenticate with Google Account:

Authenticate Google Analytcs with WP Multi-Site Network Then, follow the instructions on the next couple screens:

MonsterInsights Authentication - Select Your Google Account

For a step by step guide, you can read how to connect your WordPress blog with Google Analytics.

How to View Google Analytics Reports in WordPress

After setting up Google Analytics, it may take a few hours to start collecting your website data. To find the report, you don’t always have to log in to your Google Analytics account.

MonsterInsights gives you a quick overview of the stats that matter to your website right in your WordPress dashboard.

To view the reports, you can visit the MonsterInsights report page by going to Insights » Reports.
Reports in MonsterInsights
You’ll be able to see your traffic stats from the last 30 days at a glance, including page views, top posts and pages, top traffic sources, and top countries.

How to Use Google Analytics for Publishers

Tracking your website with Google Analytics gives you detailed insights into how to grow your blog audience and how to further monetize your blog to boost revenue.

Let’s take a look at a few features of Google Analytics that publishers can make use of.

1. Basic Reports

The basic set up of Google Analytics gives you lots of different traffic reports to analyze. Here are a few useful reports you can find in Google Analytics.

  • Real-time report: You can see how your website is doing right at the moment.
  • Audience report: You can get crucial metrics of your blog, including pageviews, bounce rate, average session duration etc.
  • Traffic source report: You can identify the traffic source of your visitors.
  • Pages report: You can figure out the most popular content on your website.
  • Geo location report: You can determine the geographical location of your visitors.
  • And much more…

2. Ads Tracking

Are you monetizing your website with AdSense? Want to know who’s clicking your banner ads?

With ads tracking, you can see exactly how many clicks each banner ad is getting and identify the most effective placements.

enable adsense tracking

To enable ads tracking on your website, all you need to do is to install and activate the MonsterInsights ads addon.

For more detailed steps, learn how to track AdSense in Google Analytics.

3. Custom Dimensions Tracking

Do you want to know who the most popular author is on your blog? Or do you want to track which category or tags are the most popular?

In Google Analytics, you can set your own custom dimensions, like author or category or any other according to your needs.

choosing your MonsterInsights custom dimensions

Custom dimensions are just like default dimensions (like gender, region, traffic sources, etc.), except you create them yourself.

Setting up custom dimensions is greatly helpful to collect and analyze data that matter to your website, which Analytics doesn’t automatically track.

Without MonsterInsights, setting up custom dimensions on your site can be tricky and time-consuming especially when you’re not tech savvy. MonsterInsights makes it easy to set up custom dimensions on your WordPress site in just a few clicks, without having to edit your Google Analytics tracking code.

To be able to set up custom dimensions on your site, you’ll require the MonsterInsights Custom Dimensions addon. A few custom dimensions you can set up using the MonsterInsights plugin are:

  • Author: If you run a multi-author blog, you can identify who the most popular author is on your blog.
  • Category: You can track the performance of different categories of your site.
  • Post type: If you have several custom post types, you can track the performance of each post type.
  • Published at: You can track if your latest posts are getting traction among your readers.
  • Tags: You can track the performance of different tags on your site.
  • SEO Score: If you’re using the Yoast plugin for SEO, you can analyze the SEO score of your posts and pages in Google Analytics.
  • Focus Keyword: You can track the performance of focus keyword you set for each post using the Yoast plugin for SEO.
  • Logged In: You can track whether your site visitors are logged in users or not.
  • User ID: You can get detailed insights about the behavior of individual logged in users of a membership site by setting User ID as a custom dimension.

To learn more about custom dimensions and the setup, read the beginners guide to custom dimensions in Google Analytics.

4. File Downloads and Outbound Clicks Tracking

If you’re offering several downloadable digital products, like ebooks or podcasts, you might want to track how many times each file has been downloaded.

By default, Google Analytics is great at measuring your traffic, but it doesn’t keep track of file downloads. MonsterInsights allows you to track file downloads and outbound clicks on your site. All you need to do is to configure what file extensions you want to track on your site.

Easy File Download Tracking with Google Analytics

For more details, learn how to set up file downloads in Google Analytics.

5. Forms Tracking

Your email list is one of your biggest online assets.

Tracking conversions of your list building campaign is essential if you’re growing an email list on your website.

With the MonsterInsights Forms addon, you can easily track your form views and conversions, without messing with code. All you have to do is install and activate the addon, no settings or configuration required.
The Forms addon works with any contact form plugin, so it’s easy to see your WPForms and Gravity Forms analytics, or any other WordPress form plugin.

You can learn how to enable forms tracking in Google Analytics.

6. Google AMP Tracking

Looking to accurately track your Google AMP pages? Google AMP offers super fast browsing experience for your mobile visitors from Google.

google amp pages in news carousel

By default, when a user visits an AMP page and then a normal page (or vice versa), Google AMP Analytics counts it as two different sessions. Our Google AMP addon fixes this issue and accurately tracks your AMP pages.

For more details, learn how to add Google Analytics to AMP pages.

7. Facebook Instant Articles Tracking
Facebook Instant Articles offers super fast reading experience for your mobile visitors who arrive at your site from Facebook mobile app.

facebook instant articles

By default, Facebook Instant Articles doesn’t play nicely with Google Analytics. You may be getting more traffic to your Facebook Instant Article posts and pages, but it’s impossible to get detailed data when all your page and post titles are lumped together in your Google analytics.

With the MonsterInsights Facebook Instant Articles Addon, you can fix this issue and accurately track your Instant Articles.

Learn how to get started with the Facebook Instant Articles addon.

8. Affiliate Link Tracking

Are you monetizing your website with affiliate marketing?

With MonsterInsights, you can set a path for internal links to track as outbound links. You can also add labels for those links, so you can easily analyze the affiliate link tracking report in Google Analytics.

9. Sales Tracking

If you’re promoting an online store along with your blog or if you’re simply selling just one or more products on your blog, you might want to track the sales and revenue.

With the MonsterInsights eCommerce addon, you can easily track the sales and revenue you generate on your site.

For more details, learn how to enable eCommerce tracking on your site.

We hope this guide helped you learn how to use Google Analytics to track your blog audience.

If you’ve not set up Google Analytics on your site yet, you may read how to set up Google Analytics in WordPress.

What are you waiting for? Get started with the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more Google Analytics tutorials.


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