Understanding Google Analytics: A Beginner’s Guide

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By Hiba Akbar

If you’re new to the world of website analytics, you might be wondering how to make the most of the insights that Google Analytics (GA) offers for your site’s data. Fortunately, Google Analytics is a game-changer for precisely this purpose, as it empowers website owners to uncover the mysteries of their site’s visitors. 

With over 37.9 million websites currently relying on Google Analytics, it’s evident that this tool has secured its position as the frontrunner in web analytics. In 2021, Google Analytics commanded a market share of 30%, showcasing its dominance in the field.


In this guide, we’ll walk you through the fundamentals of Google Analytics, enabling you to harness its potential and gain invaluable insights about your site’s audience.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics (GA) offers free, detailed insights into website and app performance, empowering users to analyze traffic, demographics, and behavior through informative reports, providing an invaluable view of site performance.

Moreover, It succeeded Universal Analytics (UA) as the current version, known as Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

How Does Google Analytics Work? 


The data collection process begins with a visitor’s request for a web page from the server. The server responds by sending the requested page to the visitor’s browser. Subsequently, the browser requests the Google Analytics tracking code from a Google Analytics server, which is then sent to the visitor’s browser.

Source: An example of Google Analytics tracking code

Following data collection, the Google Analytics Tracking Code sets cookies and transmits data back to the Google Analytics server. Upon receipt, the server stores this data in a log file, with each Google Analytics pageview represented by a line. Google Analytics periodically processes this logfile data, breaking it into fields and applying filters. 

Finally, reports are generated and stored in the database, with each report created by comparing a field (e.g., Visitor City) to numerical data.

Benefits of Using Google Analytics 

Google Analytics is a widely relied-upon tool for website data among companies of all sizes. In fact, 71% of users fall into the “small” category, indicating its popularity among businesses.


  • Cost-free accessibility: Google Analytics is free for all website owners, fostering a thriving knowledge-sharing community.
  • Versatile analysis: It accommodates analysts at all skill levels, offering basic and advanced performance insights, including traffic sources, referrals, landing pages, and load times.
  • Google’s data insights: It aligns with search engine marketing goals, providing valuable Google-tracked data and promoting data-driven strategies.
  • Seamless integration: Google Analytics integrates smoothly with popular marketing tools like Search Console, Google Ads, Looker Studio, Google Tag Manager, and Google Optimize.

How to Get Started with Google Analytics?

To initiate the Google Analytics setup process, it’s important to understand that it involves two key steps.

The initial step entails the creation of a GA 4 property that produces an exclusive tracking code specific to your website. The subsequent step involves the actual installation of this tracking code onto your website.

Let’s begin our guide to Google Analytics by exploring the setup of your account:

How to Make an Account on Google Analytics?

For a start, use your account credentials of Google for signing into Google Analytics.

If you’re new to Google Analytics, you’ll encounter a screen like the one displayed here. Click on “Start measuring” to continue to Step 1, as indicated below.



Those with previous experience with Google Analytics (using the same email address to sign in) won’t see this screen. In this case, simply choose the cogwheel icon in your screen’s bottom left corner to expand the admin option.


1. Account Setup


  • Begin by clicking “Create Account.”
  • Provide a name for your account, preferably your business name, and select sharing preferences.
  • Click “Next.”

2. Establish Google Analytics 4 Property


  • Provide a name for your property, and feel free to enter your own website’s domain name.
  • Specify the time zone for your reporting and select your preferred currency.
  • Click “Next” after configuring these settings.

3. Enter Your Business Details


  • Select the available industry categories that best match your business, or select “Other” if none is suitable.
  • Indicate your company’s size and then press “Next.”

4. Define Your Business Objective and Accept Terms


  • Your selection here determines pre-loaded reports in Google Analytics.
  • Opt for “Get baseline reports” if unsure; additional reports can be added later.
  • Click “Create.”
  • Accept Google Analytics terms of service by agreeing to the terms related to data processing and clicking “I Accept.”


5. Data Stream Configuration


  • It’s time to begin collecting data by setting the data stream and conduit for sending data to Google Analytics.
  • Select your platform type.
  • Opt for “Web” if you are considering your website.
  • Continue to configure the web data stream with the following options: “Configure Your Web Data Stream” Page.


Here are three essential steps:

  1. Enter your website’s URL.
  2. Name your data stream; you can select any name you prefer. 
  3. Make sure to activate the “Enhanced measurement” feature using the blue switch/slider. The above feature tracks specific engagements such as downloading files, clicking on external links, and playing embedded videos without the need for custom setups.

Now, you can deploy your exclusive code to initiate the data flow into GA4.

Installing Google Analytics

You are now prepared to set up GA on your site.

Subsequent to configuring your data stream in GA4, you’ll encounter a screen displaying a unique “MEASUREMENT ID” section for the property and another option of “View tag instruction.”

When you click this button, you’ll be presented with the following three options:

  1. Manual installation on the website.
  2. Installation via Google Tag Manager.
  3. Installation using plugins and integrations.

We will focus on manual installation—here’s how to proceed:

How to Manually Install GA4

  • Select the “View tag instructions” option through the data stream.
  • Navigate to the text within the linked header labeled “Install manually.” which is your unique code responsible for running GA4.
  • Use the “copy” symbol to replicate the code onto your clipboard.


  • Access the website and place the copied code into the <head> section of the page.
  • Placing your code on the top in the <head> section ensures proper tag firing and accurate data collection.

With these steps completed, you are now fully prepared to utilize Google Analytics on your website.

Final Words

Google Analytics offers comprehensive insights into website data, empowering informed decisions and strategy adjustments. Its user-friendly nature, coupled with a free cost, makes it indispensable for website owners.

While advanced features exist, beginners can harness essential reports for valuable insights. Installation is straightforward and tailored to your platform. Google Analytics stands out for optimizing website performance and conversions compared to other analytics tools.

For more updates on web analytics, visit Daily Digital Grind


Is Google Analytics free?

Yes, Google Analytics offers a free version, allowing users to access a wide range of analytics and data insights at no cost.

How do I start learning Google Analytics?

To begin learning Google Analytics, explore Google’s Analytics Academy for free courses and resources. Practice by implementing Google Analytics on your website for hands-on experience.

Is Google Analytics good for beginners?

Yes, Google Analytics is suitable for beginners, offering both basic features and advanced capabilities, making it accessible to users at various skill levels.