Excerpt from Google Analytics for Government, Second Edition
Welcome to the Second Edition of Google Analytics for Government
Two years ago when I set out to write a manual on using Google Analytics to improve government websites, I never imagined how far this manual would travel. I’ve been impressed by the reception to the manual and I’ve greatly appreciated hearing from its users. I wrote the first edition with other federal government workers in the United States in mind as the primary audience. I wasn’t thinking about a more global applicability of these lessons. Since its release, I’ve heard from people working in local, state, and federal offices throughout the country, as well as from public sector workers in the Canada, the United Kingdom, and even from the World Bank and United Nations. I have also hosted a series of webinars with the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Digital Government University, presented with GovLoop and LunaMetrics, and started teaching for Georgetown University. I’m glad to report that the goal of making government websites more useful to the digital citizen resonates with such a wide audience.
The second edition of the manual has gone through a fairly extensive rewrite. I’ve had the opportunity to listen and learn from people who have shared their stories with me, so I have drawn from those experiences and included new actionable insights. I’ve made additions to the manual as well. Some of the new sections include demographics and interests reports, using real-time data, and campaign tracking. I also mirror updates in terminology for setting up accounts, managing users, and standard reporting.
I hope this manual provides you with the tools you need to identify meaningful metrics to improve your website. Regardless of whether you work in communications or information technology, you can use this manual to understand how to tailor Google Analytics for your agency’s needs. While you might not be the person who creates new custom segments or configures the internal site search, understanding these concepts will help you communicate effectively about these topics and ensure your agency gets the most out of Google Analytics. When I first started working with Google Analytics for my agency, I had no background on using analytic tools to evaluate websites. As I learned more, I found it provides invaluable information to make informed decisions on website enhancements.
Thank you for your interest in Google Analytics for Government. I hope that you too will be successful in implementing these strategies to make your government website as useful as possible to the digital citizen. Thanks also to the U.S. Government Accountability Office for allowing me to share the best practices that I’ve learned since starting to use Google Analytics for gao.gov.
Sarah Kaczmarek is the Digital Communications Manager for the U.S. Government Accountability Office. You can find out more about her work in this space at SarahKaczmarek.com.