Before we dive into the Google Analytics platform, I want to talk first about how does google analytics work. By understanding how does Google Analytics work, you’ll be better equipped to identify problems with your setup or understand why certain data anomalies might occur.
There are four components to how the Google Analytics system works:
- Data Collection,
- Data Processing,
- And Reporting.
How does Google Analytics work?
From Where Google Analytics pull the data?
- Some of the data come from the website itself, like the URL of the pages that the user is viewing.
- Other data is collected from the user’s browser, like the language the browser is set to, the browser name, and the device and operating system used to access the site. And this is how you can see, say if most of your users are Mac or PC, or iPhone or Android.
All of this information is then pushed to Google Analytics servers to await processing. Google looks at each piece of data as an interaction or a hit. And every time your user visits a new page on your site, the code collects and sends new or updated information about the user’s activity.
Google Analytics data processing:
Now that Google has all of this information, they’ll start processing it. And this can take anywhere from 4 to 24 hours. You can think of processing as the step that takes all of this raw information and turns it into something useful.
From there, Google will organize the information:
- It’s going to categorize users by whether they’re new or returning.
- It’ll determine their length of the stay on the site, and it’ll even link together all the pages they’ve viewed in the order they viewed them in.
- It’s also at this stage that Google applies any configuration settings you’ve pre-set for that raw data.
And we’re going to talk more about that later article, but an example of this would be if you want to exclude yourself or your office from appearing in your reports.
Google Analytics report:
Once your data is then processed, it’s going to be stored in a database. From here, the last element is reporting. And this is what we’ll be spending the majority of this course looking at.
You’re going to be accessing reporting through the Google Analytics web interface, and it’s there that you can interact with all of your data. Now, it is possible to grab the data using Google’s API but I am not going to be covering that in this article. If you’re really curious, you can explore Google’s documentation in the Google Developer Guidelines. It’s dense reading but it does give you an even closer look to how does google analytics work.
Read More: What is Google Analytics?