When it comes to storing information about your website’s visitor, their interaction and behavior, generating reports and analyzing them, Google Analytics is by far the best free analytics platform there is. In this post, we’ll learn how to create a Google Analytics account – both Universal Analytics and the newer Google Analytics 4.
However, before we do that, let’s understand why we need a Google analytics account. In Google’s own words: “it is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic”.
You might wonder that web analytics (in this context, it means analytics of your website) is just a slice of the information you’re looking at, since your visitors’ digital presence is more than just visiting your website. Though there’s truth in that, however think of your website as the central hub of your visitors since somewhere along their journey, they will be visiting your website at least once. As such there’s a plethora of information to glean about your website as they land on your website. Google Analytics does a great job at not just storing information about your users – their age, gender, locations etc., but also shows their user journey on your website – such as the pages they landed upon, pages they exited from, the various pages they went through, the time they spent on your website and a lot more.
As you can already tell, having a Google analytics account is invaluable for any website owner. It’ll help taking informed marketing decisions and answer many business questions you may have. Now that we know why we should have one, let’s channel our focus on how we should set up a Google analytics account.
Step by step guide on how to create a Google Analytics account
2) Login with your Google email to start with your account set up. It will ask you for an account name. We’ve chosen Outdoorsy – the name of a demo travel website created for the purpose of this post.
3) You can choose to share information with Google or to provide technical support have access to your Analytics account should you need help etc. For now, we’ve skipped this and click Next.
4) It’s time to set up your Google Analytics property details. Fill in your property name, reporting time zone and the relevant currency. Note that this will simply create a Google Analytics 4 property only. If you’d like to create a Universal Analytics property, click Show Advanced Options as seen below:
5) Click the toggle button shown below to start creating a Universal Analytics property.
6) Enter your site’s URL and choose whether you want to create the Universal Analytics property or the Google Analytics 4 property along with it too. For this post, we’ll stick with creating both of them.
7) You can then enter the relevant information surrounding your business and click Create.
8) As usual, we always love to read the service agreements! So take your time reading Google Analytics terms of service agreements and choose to accept in order to proceed further.
9) You will now be presented with a page called the Web stream details. It’s a new feature introduced in Google Analytics 4 and it shows your site’s URL and your unique measurement ID – which you can use to integrate your Google Analytics 4 account with other tools such as Google tag manager. You can copy your unique measurement ID to store locally and exit out of this screen.
10) Next, you’ll come across a page if you want to receive emails from Google about various updates, suggestions, announcements etc. You can decide which ones to tick and save.
11) If you did not save your Google Analytics 4 measurement ID locally and need it, you can go to Admin, under Property, click on Data Streams as shown below:
12) Then click the relevant data stream for your website to see the same page as you were presented in step 8 above.
How to find your tracking ID in Universal Analytics
If you chose to create a Universal Analytics account during the initial account setup in step 4 above, you should be able to see both the properties (GA 4 and Universal Analytics) in your Google Analytics account. You can switch between either of them as shown below:
1) Once you’ve clicked on the Universal Account property (identified by UA-), click on Tracking Code under Tracking Info as shown here:
2) The page should now display your tracking ID to use in other tools such as Google tag manager.
Congratulations! You’ve now successfully created a Google Analytics account. It wasn’t all that bad, was it? Nah! All your hard work has paid off and you’ve begun your journey to become a wiser website owner. We say wiser because the information you’ll get from your Google Analytics account will help you take wise decisions about your marketing and how you can best utilize that to drive more engagement on your website.
However all is not done yet. Although you’ve created a Google Analytics account – it is simply created. It is not yet connected to your website to collect information about your visitors. We still need to place some code snippets on your website to form a bridge between your website and Google Analytics. We can do that in two ways:
a) Use Global Site Tag (gtag.js) code and place directly in your website OR
b) Use Google tag manager (highly recommended)
As a web development company, we absolutely adore Google tag manager. This tool is a beast and is incredibly powerful at tracking data of your site’s visitors. Although we truly recommend using Google tag manager as it can do so much more than just track page views, we understand that you may not want to go on that route and would rather use global site tag instead. So we’ve put together another valuable post showing how you can add Google analytics code in your website without using a plugin. We hope you find it useful.
For the more ambitious ones, don’t feel left behind. We’ve published a post on how to add Google analytics code on your website using Google tag manager. With step by step method and many screenshots, it is very easy to follow and set up.