Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I access Google Analytics?
- Can I create a shortcut/ save an analytic or setting I want to repeatedly access?
- What are the limitations of Google Analytics and what are my options for working around these limitations?
- Why are my Google Analytics metrics different from other analytics tracking numbers?
- If I have additional reporting needs beyond Google Analytics, what can I do?
- What information will I need from Google Analytics for IOLTA and LSC reporting?
- Does Google Analytics provide information of downloads?
- How can I find information for:
- How do I determine which analytics are right for me?
You can access Google Analytics by going to www.google.com/analytics. You can sign-in with the log-in information that was provided to you when your LH3 site was launched. If you do not have this information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you log-in, you will be able to access your LH3 site, and if you have them, your mobile and mirror site Google Analytics resources. Select the appropriate LH3 site profile and you will be taken to your Google Analytics Reporting Dashboard for that site.
Yes. Your options for doing this are to create a custom report, a custom dashboard, or to create a shortcut. A custom report surfaces the particular Google Analytics you want for your LH3 site into one report. A custom dashboard is a visual overview of different reports you may want. In order to create a custom report or custom dashboard, please see the Toolkit section on Customizing Google Analytics. A shortcut remembers your settings so you don't have to reconfigure a report each time. To create a shortcut, please see this Google Analytics resource.
What are the limitations of Google Analytics and what are my options for working around these limitations?
While a robust and comprehensive tool, Google Analytics does have its limitations in the context of LawHelp. First, Google Analytics can be difficult to navigate and it includes many features that may not necessarily be relevant to LawHelp admins (Google Analytics was built for marketers as opposed to webmasters and technologists.) One of the drawbacks of this is that it may include what are referred to as vanity metrics, or - metrics that may not be the most actionable in terms of your LawHelp site. See below for more information on how to pick which metrics may be most relevant to you.
Also, Google Analytics is great at surfacing the most popular items (those pages with the most pageviews, most clicks, most visitors, etc), but it can be more challenging to find comprehensive information on channels and categories. Specific resources can be accessed easily through the search bar, but you may need to reach out to email@example.com to run a report based on channels and category information needs.
Another concern is the accuracy of Google Analytics' metrics. Google Analytics works by tracking the cookies on a users browsers. However, many web browsers offer users the ability to turn these cookies off. This prevents Google Analytics from tracking a user's activity. There are additional shortcomings in the way that Google captures data (i.e. the use of sampling) that may affect the accuracy of Google Analytics and may return different results than other analytics tracking tools. Note also that while Google Analytics accounts for most bots, some bot traffic may not be captured in your reports.
Please see above for more information.
If your reporting needs are not met by Google Analytics, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is what we will need to provide you with the report:
- A two-week notice so that our developers have time to run your report, as well as when you will need the report
- A date range for the required metrics
- What analytics you will need i.e. pageviews, users, etc. Please be specific
- What channel, topic, category, pages, etc you will need
- Any other additional information that may be relevant
Please refer to the section on Your LH3 Site Reporting Needs for more information.
Yes, it does. While not included as a standard Google Analytics feature, our developers have made a configuration that allows Google Analytics to track downloads numbers for your site. You can access this information through the following ways:
- For total number of site downloads: Behavior > Events > Top Events
- For site downloads by file type, go to Behavior > Events > Top Events, and then click on "Downloads"
- Then, select either PDF, DOC, HTM, etc.
- For number of downloads by resource, use the search bar to enter in a resource's unique identifying tag from the URL while in Behavior > Events >Top Events. We recommend using the resource title as the identifying tag, as this will account for all link pathways to a particular resource.
- For example, http://www.lawhelpmn.org/files/1765CC5E-1EC9-4FC4-65EC-957272D8A04E/attachments/BAFD3F15-896E-481E-85C5-759C512CBB32/f-1-getting-child-support.pdf, "getting-child-support" would be the unique identifying tag.
Contact Pro Bono Net should you wish to get download/link information for specific topics, categories, or channels.
- Specific pages on my site?
You can find page views for specific resources by utilizing the search bar in a report. Simply copy that resource's unique identifying tag from the URL and paste into the Search box.
- Specific topics?
You will need to contact email@example.com for metrics on the resources associated with a specific topic, but you can get general landing page view metrics on a topic landing page by using the search bar to enter in your LH3 site's topic URL. For example, "/issues/housing."
You will need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for metrics on the resources associated with a specific category, but you can get general landing page view metrics on a category landing page by using the search bar to enter in your LH3 site's category URL. For example, "category=evictions."
- Specific channels?
You will need to contact email@example.com for metrics on the resources associated with a specific channel, but you can get general landing page view metrics on a channel landing page by using the search bar to enter in your LH3 site's channel URL. For example, "channel=self-help-resources."
This is perhaps the most important question you will need to answer when thinking through Google Analytics for your LawHelp3 site; the answer requires a careful approach.
The first question you should ask yourself when trying to determine the answer to this question is:
- Who is my audience?
- My board?
- Technology decision-makers?
- My Executive Director?
- My funder?
- My development team?
- My outreach team?
- My content team?
Once you answer this question, you can ask yourself:
- What does my audience need to see? What will be most useful to them/ what information can they use to make decisions around our site?
The answers to these two questions will help shape which metrics you select for reporting. For example, a technology decision-maker may be interested in seeing what mobile devices individuals are using to access your site. Your board and funders may be interested in visitor/page view metrics. Your content team may be interested in page bounce rates. Your development and outreach teams may be interested in social media analytics.
This also raises an important discussion about vanity metrics vs. actionable metrics. Vanity metrics are those data sets which might be tempting to use, but that do not accurately give you guidance and reflect key drivers of your site's success. Actionable metrics are those analytics that help you make decisions towards a more successful LawHelp site.
The questions above will help you narrow down what analytics may be "vanity metrics" for your site, but we also did some additional research as to what analytics you may want to start with first when trying to identify actionable metrics. The metrics below were determined through a Google Search of web resources and blogs written on the subject, as well as identification of LawHelp-friendly, actionable analytics.
Focus on trends over time in the following area:
- Unique Users
- User Flow
- Page views
- Unique pageviews
- Bounce rate
- Navigation summary
- Audience > Mobile
- Traffic Sources > Sources > Referral Traffic
- Traffic Source> Social
- In-page Analytics
- Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages > Entrance Paths
- Behavior > Site search> Search Terms
What metrics are you finding most helpful, and how are using them? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add them to this toolkit!
Additional Questions/Need Help?
Please contact the email@example.com HelpDesk with any Google Analytics questions.
Special thanks to Gwen Daniels and Lindsay Ditto at Illinois Legal Aid Online for additional input and guidance on using Google Analytics for statewide legal aid websites.