google analytics for publishers

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 discover 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 free service by Google, and it’s the most comprehensive tracking tool for websites of all sizes.
  • Intuitive reports: You can find several useful, 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 on Your Blog

The MonsterInsights plugin is the easiest solution because 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 via 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.

Just click the ‘Connect MonsterInsights’ button to get started.

Then, follow the instructions on the next couple of screens:

MonsterInsights Authentication - Select Your Google Account

For a complete 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’s data. To find the report, you no longer have to log into your Google Analytics account.

MonsterInsights gives you a quick overview of the stats that matter most to your website right on your WordPress dashboard. It comes with a handy Google Analytics dashboard widget which shows your site’s key metrics as soon as you log into your WordPress site, without any additional clicks required.

Google Analytics Dashboard Widget for WordPress by MonsterInsights

The dashboard widget, by default, gives you a quick glimpse of your site’s Overview report. However, you can add other reports as well from the widget’s settings.

To view your full 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 are useful for publishers:

1. Basic Reports

The basic setup of Google Analytics gives you lots of different traffic reports to analyze. Here’re a few useful reports you can find in Google Analytics:

  • Real-time report: You can see how your website is doing at that very moment.
  • Audience report: You can get crucial metrics for 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 identify the most popular content on your website.
  • Geo location report: You can determine the geographical location of your visitors.
  • And much more…

You can view these reports by going to Insights » Reports from your WordPress dashboard.

Overview Report Top Countries and Referrals

2. Top Landing Pages and Top Exit Pages

For a publisher, it’s always important to find out which pages are the most popular and which aren’t.

When you know which of your landing pages are getting the most traffic and engaging users for the longest time, you can analyze and gain insights to optimize your entire site’s pages.

On the other hand, learning about top exit pages helps you to decide which pages need optimization.

The MonsterInsights Publishers Report provides you with comprehensive reports on both your Top Landing Pages and Top Exit pages. Go to Insights » Reports » Publishers from your dashboard to see these reports.

Publishers Report Top Landing Pages

You can see the number of total visits, average duration on the page, and bounce rate for your top landing pages.

Below the Top Landing Pages report, you can see the Top Exit Pages report.

top-exit-pages-mi-publishers-report

The report shows the total number of exits, the total number of visits, and the percentage of the exits for your top exit pages.

Now you can understand which of your pages are less engaging and analyze why. Then, you can build proper strategies to improve these pages.

3. 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.

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.

4. 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 custom dimensions, like author or category, according to your needs.

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

Setting up custom dimensions is immensely helpful for collecting and analyzing data that matters 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 need 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 whether your latest posts are gaining 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 keywords you’ve 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 on 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.

5. 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.

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

6. Forms Tracking

Your email list is one of your most significant 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 forms plugin.

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

7. Google AMP Tracking

Are you looking to track your Google AMP pages accurately? Google AMP offersa  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 2 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.

8. Facebook Instant Articles Tracking

Facebook Instant Articles offers a super-fast reading experience for your mobile visitors who arrive at your site from the 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 obtain 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.

9. 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 quickly analyze the affiliate link tracking report in Google Analytics.

Navigate to Insights » Settings from your WordPress dashboard and then click on the Tracking tab at the top of the page. Then, go to the Affiliate Links tab in the left-hand taskbar.

You’ll need to enable affiliate link tracking and fill out the 2 fields; then it’ll start tracking your affiliate links.

If you need detailed instructions, here’s our step-by-step guide on how to set up affiliate link tracking in WordPress.

Once you’re done with the setup, you can view your reports by visiting Insights » Reports » Publishers from your WordPress dashboard.

affiliate-link-tracking-report-monsterinsights

10. Sales Tracking

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

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

eCommerce Report MonsterInsights Top

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 liked this article, you might also want to see our guide on user permissions in Google Analytics.

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more helpful Google Analytics tips.

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