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First, let's start with the basics. Google Analytics is, currently, clearly what some people would refer to as "an engineer" product. Meaning that it looks very technical and it's not always clear how to interact with it.

Google Analytics collects data via a "tracking code" or "script" that is placed on every page on the website that you would like to track and collect user data from. Usually, that's all of them. It currently looks like this:

<script>

(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){

(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), 

m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)

 })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); 

 ga('create', 'UA-XXXXXXXX-X', 'auto'); 

 ga('send', 'pageview');


</script>  

*(For reference - your specific tracking code can be found in Analytics by clicking "Admin" and then "Tracking info" --> "Tracking code" in the middle column, called "Property")*

What does it track? Is there anything it doesn't do?

The script is placed on the page, and every time the script is loaded it sends some info about a user visiting the specific page. There's also a whole bunch of stuff that it doesn't collect data (or "track" for short) about. Generally speaking, Google Analytics will tell you (among other things) which pages were visited by a user, the number of times said user visited your website, how long he/she stayed there, how many pages were visited, at what time, from what device, etc...

What it doesn't tell you, without implementing custom "tracking" in cooperation with a web developer, is what these users actually did while on the page - if they looked at a video, signed up for your newsletter, bought a product, etc.

Regardless of the level of implementation, whether basic or custom, Google Analytics collects a bunch of data, and sends it to an account specified by a set of numbers, represented with big 'ole letter X in the example above.

It should also be noted, that according to Google's policies it is currently not allowed to collect any data with Google Analytics which might be used to identify an individual person, such as credit card numbers or social security numbers.

Now that you know what it does - let's find out how it's structured!