I am self-publishing my books. If I’m extremely lucky, maybe I won’t have to in the future, but for now, I have to take on everything a publisher would do. That includes marketing and knowing the whos, whats, wheres, whys and hows of my website traffic. Google Analytics is perfect for this.
The amount of data that can be tracked is limitless. You can track traffic sources, demographics, goal completion, how long people are on the site, bounce rates, whether they are return visitors, and the most important to me, events (clicks) on sections of my website. I can see which parts of the site are working, how many people are jumping over to Amazon, how many are signing up for my newsletter, etc.
However, with great power comes great responsibility to stop SPAM. Yes, to my surprise as well, spammers will inject their data with their links into the analytics I record. They water down the results and make it difficult to understand. Luckily, there is a way around it. I won’t profess to be an expert, but I can recommend a you read and follow the recommendations here: Keep calm and Stop Google Analytics Spam with 2 filters.
My site hasn’t been active very long, but I started to see analytics data that didn’t make sense. Now that I am filtering out the spam, I’ll have a better idea exactly where my traffic is coming from and heading to after. This information will help me make sure my marketing efforts are working.