If you aren’t using Google Analytics, or a similar visitor data analytics tool on your Google Ad Grant supported website you're missing out on valuable data about your grant's performance that could be informing and contextualising everything from your campaign activities to your homepage headline, and even the direction of your overall digital marketing campaign.
Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool for measuring the performance of a website. It tells you how users are interacting with your site, from where they came from, what content they like to bounce rates and time spent on the site. It shows you what your conversion rates are like, and whether your visitors are interacting with your website in the way that you think they are. doing what you planned when you first designed . It even tells you how visitors explore your site, from the moment they land on your site, to 20 pages later when they're reading your first blog post from 2010! Perhaps best of all, Google Analytics by itself is 100% free to install and use.
This factor would be attractive to any organization, but it is especially relevant for non-profits. Most not-for-profit organisations have tight budgets and limited money to splurge on a full service, expensive enterprise level analytics suite for digital marketing—let alone the time to fully utilise many of the machine learning features these applications feature heavily in their sales pitch. By providing so many features for free, Google Analytics almost single-handedly makes it possible for non-profits to thrive in the competitive digital marketing landscape.
The biggest hurdle with Google Analytics is installation. The process of adding Google Analytics to your website isn’t very difficult, but it is unfamiliar, and it does take a certain amount of time to configure an effective setup.
To help you over this hurdle, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide to Analytics installation below. Whilst writing this guide we looked at the non-profit organisations we partner with and all but 3 use wordpress as their platform of choice. So, logically, we thought that writing one specific to wordpress would provide the most value to the most amount of people! This being said, you can add Google Analytics to any other website platform quite easily, so if you are using a site built on a different platform, send us through an email and we can definitely point you in the right direction.
Step 1: Login to Google
Every Google Analytics installation starts with a Google account. In your web browser, navigate to https://www.google.com/analytics. Click the menu button that says “Sign In” at the top right-hand corner of the page. From the drop-down menu, click “Analytics.” If you are logged into Google, you will be whisked off to a page where you can create an Analytics account and get started. If you aren’t logged in, either sign into your account or create a new one.
Step 2: Sign up for Google Analytics
Even if you have a Google account, you probably don’t have a Google Analytics account. The next page gives you a brief step-by-step guide on how to use Google Analytics to “start analysing your site’s traffic.” Click the “Sign up” button on the right-hand side of the screen and Google will take you to a “New Account” form. Provide your information in each of the requested fields. These fields include:
- What you want to track: You can use Google Analytics to track a website or a mobile app. In this case, we are tracking a WordPress backed website, so select the “Website” box.
- Account name: Specify a name for your account. In this field, you will likely input either your website name or the name of your non-profit organization.
- Website URL: Copy and paste the URL of your WordPress site into this box. Make sure the URL you choose is the homepage of your site.
- Industry category: Use the drop-down menu to the industry that is most applicable to your website. If none of the listed categories apply, choose “Other.”
- Reporting time zone: Use the drop-down menus to choose the time zone where you are based.
- Data sharing settings: How much data do you want Google to be able to access from your website? This section allows you to customise your data sharing settings. In most cases, you will want to check all the boxes to get the most out of Google Analytics.
Now, click on “Get Tracking ID” at the bottom of the page. This action will prompt a pop-up window containing the Google Analytics Terms of Service. Click “I Accept” to get your ID code.
Step 3: View Your Website Tracking Code
Google will now generate an Analytics tracking code that you will need to copy and paste into your non-profit’s WordPress website. This code will essentially be responsible for linking your site to Google so that Google Analytics can track traffic, visitor behaviour, conversions, and more.
Step 4: Install the MonsterInsights Plugin on Your WordPress Site
The easiest way to integrate your Google Analytics tracking code into your WordPress site is to use MonsterInsights, a hugely popular plugin for precisely this purpose. You can download and install the plugin here. The plugin will download as a zip file, which you should save to your desktop where it will be easy to find. Then, navigate to your WordPress site and log into your admin dashboard. Highlight the Plugins tab of your sidebar, click “Add New,” and then click “Upload Plugin.” On the next page, click “Choose File” and find the MonsterInsights zip file on your desktop. Click “Install Now.” Once you get the “Plugin installed successfully” message, click “Activate Plugin” to finalise the installation process.
Step 5: Configure MonsterInsights with Your Google Analytics Tracking Code
Head back to your WordPress dashboard. You should now see an “Insights” tab in your sidebar menu. Highlight it and select “Settings” from the drop-down menu. You should see a button that says “Authenticate with your Google account.” Click it to launch a Google authentication menu. The first page of the popup will just inform you that the authentication process is happening. Click “Next.”
On the next page, you will be asked to enter your Google Analytics code. Click the button that says “Click to Get Google Code.” This action will connect MonsterInsights to your Google Analytics account. Click “Allow” to give the plugin permission to do just that. Next, you should see a long string of code appear on your screen. Copy the code, switch back to the MonsterInsights popup window, and paste the code into the empty dialogue box. Click “Next.”
Finally, you will be asked to select the Analytics Profile you want to apply to your site. Choose the profile you made earlier—the one with your business or website name—and click “Next.”
Analytics is installed and working, now what?
Once you have installed MonsterInsights and linked your account to your Google Analytics profile, Google will start tracking metrics for your website. One perk of MonsterInsights is that it allows you to view these metrics right there in the WordPress environment, just by visiting the Insights tab in your dashboard. Do note that useful metrics won’t show up right away. Google Analytics needs some time to monitor your site and extrapolate data. In the long run, though, you will be able to use these data to measure site performance, prioritise marketing spending, set goals, and even plan AdWords campaigns.
Psst! Have you checked your eligibility yet for Google's Ad Grant Program?
You've just finished reading one of our Ad Grant Academy lessons. If you got this far and haven't heard of the Ad Grant Program then read on; and if you run, or are employed, by an Australian Charity, you're in for a treat!
Google is supporting qualifying charity and not for profit organisations with a $10,000 USD (~$16,000 AUD!) monthly budget for their Google AdWords platform. Enabling smaller organisations who would normally struggle to be heard a chance to kickstart their online marketing and increase brand awareness, donor engagement and volunteer numbers without spending a cent!