How to Set Up Google Analytics in 2 Steps

A quick and simple guide to connecting your SaaS platform to GA

Hannah Duckworth
Dark Matter Digital

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We recommend reading the first article in this series before continuing: 3 Google Analytics Rules to Live By

If you’ve read the article above, you’ve learned how important Google Analytics (GA) can be for your company’s success. In this article, we’ll go over how to connect your SaaS platform or website to GA using a brand new GA account.

Step 1 — Setting Up the GA Basics

As we know, GA’s purpose is to track users on your website. Google accomplishes this by using a tracking device called a Global Site Tag (gtag) which is installed manually on your website. Gtag is a javascript tagging framework and API that allows you to send event data to Google Ads, Campaign Manager, Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360, and Google Analytics.

Our first step will be to create an account at https://analytics.google.com/. Log in to the Google account associated with the website you want to connect to GA and click “Set up for free”.

Create your free account at analytics.google.com

Account Setup

  1. Account Name — First you’ll be asked to enter the account name. The account name is the highest level of account you can have in GA. Under your account name are your properties (websites and apps). You may want to name your account the name of your company. If you are an individual developer using this for a project, using your name would work as well.

Pro Tip: When creating an account for a Saas product, name the account the company name, not the product name. That way if your company has multiple products and websites this naming convention will work nicely. See an example below:

Account Name [Company Name]

  • Property Name [Sass Product 1]
  • Property Name[Saas Product 2]
  • Property Name[Marketing Website 1]

You can dive into each data sharing section on your own — for now we are going to keep the default (recommended) settings checked and continue by hitting next.

Your Account Name should likely reflect your Company Name

Selecting a Property Type

2. Properties in GA are just underneath the account in the hierarchy like we mentioned above. A single account can have multiple different properties. Think of a property as a single application you have running within your company that you want to capture metrics on.

This is the step that gives users the most trouble when setting up a new account given that Google has recently introduced a new beta property. You can easily get confused by this new beta property type “Apps and web” since it seems to combine both the other types.

For our scenario we are setting up GA to track our Sass website traffic and user metrics, so we will be using the web type.

Pro Tip: When setting up tracking analytics integration for your business, don’t use any beta software. It may not seem like a big deal now, but we need to ensure 100% tracking accuracy and a bug free integration, especially when the end goal is to connect to google ads where money is on the line. After this setup is complete you can always add more properties to your account to play around with the beta features.

Select the property Web Type

Property Setup

In this step we can define what website or application the property is going to be collecting metrics from.

Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to explicitly define your properties as to be able to handle more than one in the future. See our example below.

In this example, we are tracking website metrics for our saas product website so we will name it as such. This leaves the option to define a second property for our marketing site, since most saas products and marketing sites are separate domains. Here is an example of a future setup or account and property names:

Dark Matter Digital

  • Dark Matter Digital — Saas Console
  • Dark Matter Digital — Marketing Site
  • Dark Matter Digital — iOS App

Set the rest of the fields and click create and accept the terms.

Define a naming convention for your properties that can be used across multiple domains within your account.

Step 2— Connect Your Website to Google Analytics

For GA to start capturing metrics on your website, you need to manually connect your website to Google Analytics using their API and Javascript. Google does most of the work here and gives you a pre-built javascript snippet ready to be dropped into your website’s head tag. This is called the Global Site Tag (gtag). This javascript code houses your property tracking ID and is how Google knows what property you’re tracking. If you’ve heard about Facebook tracking, this mechanism is referred to as a tracking pixel on Facebook’s platform. A Gtag and a pixel pretty much do the same thing — they capture data from the page and send it to their respective analytics platform. You can have both Facebook and Google trackers on a single site.

Pro Tip: Each property you create gets assigned a tracking ID. This tracking ID will be used when moving past the basic setup and into more complex setups like integrating Google ads and Google Tag Manager. Therefore, make sure to create separate properties for assets that will be marketed separately.

Each property receives its own Tracking ID used for Google Ads and Tag Manager

To complete the setup you’ll need access to your website or platform’s layout file and modify the code in the head tag. Here you will paste the following snippet of javascript that google provides you with.

Paste the snippet of javascript that Google provides into the head tag of your website

Pro Tip: DISABLE YOUR AD BLOCKER. This is always a headache as to why your tracking snippet isn’t working. After your ad blocker is disabled, refresh your site.

After a few seconds (and up to a minute), the GA dashboard page will update to display “1 active user” under the Status section next to the Tracking ID (shown below). If you still don’t see “1 active user” we can start to troubleshoot the issue.

You should see “1 active user” on the right side of the screen

Pro Tip: For troubleshooting we recommend Google’s Tag Assistant Chrome extension which can be found here.

For testing your Google Site Tag with the extension, click on the extension and enable it on the page. Hit refresh. If there are any issues with your website’s gtag, they will show up in the extension window. If all else fails and you still can’t connect to Google, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dark Matter Digital. We love a good Google tracking troubleshoot.

This is the Google Tag Assistant Chrome Extension

That’s It!

And there you have it - you’ve successfully connected your website or product to Google Analytics and have taken the first step towards a better product. Now take a look around the GA dashboard, and all of the reports, charts, and visuals GA has to offer. In our next article, we will cover setting up custom events.

At Dark Matter Digital, we get super pumped up about a great Google Analytics setup. We look to it as a backbone of every product we build. If you’d like to learn more about GA, or need help getting setup — give us a shout!

Dark Matter Digital is a product studio based out of Seattle, WA.

We build products smarter, better, faster, AND stronger.

Need help getting a project off the ground? Email hannah@drkmtr.marketing.

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