Now that we’ve gone over the key terms and had a quick tour, it’s time to get into the real meat and potatoes of Google Analytics – the Audience, Acquisition and Behavior Reports. These reports provide a plethora of data about your website, site visitors, social media activity and more.
I’ve broken each report section down and paired it with a quick video showing you how to find the most important information in each report. As you look at the information available, ask yourself how it can apply to your website, strategy and site visitors. Let’s get started understanding Google Analytics reports!
Audience Report Section
Questions you can answer under the Audience area:
How long are visitors spending on my website?
How much content are they consuming?
Who is your audience?
What are their Interests?
Are they using desktop or mobile to access my site?
Where are they going on my site?
Let’s start at the Overview tab. You will see information detailing website traffic, demographics and more. The default date range is set to one week, but you can adjust the range top right corner of the page. You can look at years of data or compare year over year or week over week.
Demographics – In this section you can find the age and gender of your audience. Knowing the demographics of your website visitors will allow you to better understand your audience. You can cater your website to better target your audience or adjust your content to attract a different audience.
Interests – You can also see your audience based on what their interests are. For example, if a large portion of your audience includes “Book Lovers”, then you might want to consider a blog post sharing your favorite books.
Geography – You can breakdown where your visitors are coming from based on both language and location. Location can be as broad as which country your visitor is from, to as narrow as which city your visitor is from.
Mobile Traffic – The mobile tab under Audience breaks down how many people are visiting your site on a desktop, mobile device or tablet. It’s important to know these numbers because if you have a large portion of users visiting via a mobile device, you want to make sure your website is mobile friendly. Take some time and test your site out on your phone and see what might need to change.
User Flow – This section by default shows you how visitors from various countries navigate your website. You can change the dimension with the drop-down box at the top to a different variable, such as social, to see how people from different social networks are moving through your website. The user flow section visually shows you how people are navigating your website and where they are leaving.
Acquisition Report Section
Questions you can answer under the Acquisition area:
How are site visitors getting to your website?
Where are they coming from?
What pages are people finding through social?
What searches are people using to find your site?
In the Overview section, you can get a broad view of where your visitors are coming from – direct, social, organic, referral or paid traffic. Just like with the Audience section, the default time range is a week, which you can change to see your long-term activity.
You can click on specific channels like Direct and it will bring you to specific landing pages with a breakdown of the users, sessions, bounce rate and more. You can also see how much traffic you’re getting from referrals (i.e. other websites). This is especially useful if you’ve been featured in a guest blog post and want to see if it is generating any traffic to your site.
Search Console – Before you can get any data from this tab, you must connect your Google Search Console account. This will allow you to look at what search terms are being used when a visitor lands on your website through an organic search. When you click on a specific landing page, you can see what search terms people used to reach that specific webpage. (Many search terms are still unavailable, but if you connect Google Search Console, you will see more search terms.)
Social – This section will show you which social media platform is directing the most traffic to your website. It gives you insight on which social media account you should put the most resources in, based on what gets the most traffic.
Social > Network Referral – When you click on particular account, say Facebook, Google Analytics will show you which landing page gets the most traffic from said account. So you can see which pages and posts resonate the most with your audience through a particular social media account.
Social > Landing Page – If you want to know which landing pages are getting the most traffic from social media, start here. You can then dig deeper and see how many sessions come from a specific social media platform
Behavior Report Section
Questions you can answer under the Behavior area:
How are visitors moving through my website?
What pages are most viewed?
Where are visitors leaving my site?
What pages need updating?
In the Overview section, you can see pageviews overall and see what page is getting the most activity, which can be seen for a specific time period at the top of the page, like checking activity for a month or 6 months. You can also compare your data between various months, so you can see how well you’ve been doing in one month versus another month and adjust your goals. When comparing months you can see data like whether your pageviews, average time rate on a page and bounce rate has increased or decreased.
Behavior Flow – This section is similar to the Audience Flow area in the Audience report. You can see what path people are taking through your website. You can see what the major landing page is and how people navigate through your website, so if they are looking at your about page or a blog post. You can keep moving through interactions after that until reaching the page where visitors exit. You can break this down to look at specific users like Mobile Traffic or New Users and you can also look at specific flows by highlighting a particular landing page.
Site Content – This section breaks down your pages by pageviews. Therefore you can determine which pages are the most popular so you can make content similar to those popular pages and posts. You can also see how long visitors stay on a page and the individual bounce rate for that page.
Landing Pages – This area shows you what pages visitors arrive on when they get to your website. The Exit Pages (below landing pages) tab shows you the last page a visitor was at before they leave your website. You can see the percentage of how many people exit compared to how many pageviews a page gets, which also shows you the exit rate. This can give you some insight on how your website is doing, like whether a visitor is leaving from your homepage or from your contact page.
Site Speed – This will give you an idea of how fast a page loads on a particular web browser. This data can help you determine why people might be leaving certain pages – perhaps they are loading very slowly?
Wow. That’s a lot of information. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, have no fear, next week we’re going to dig into goals reporting and what information you should be tracking. If you have any questions about understanding Google Analytics reports, just comment below or send me a note.
A Quick PS
Hurricane Harvey hit Texas almost 2 weeks ago. It’s no longer top news unless you happen to live in the affected area.
But we can’t forget that hundreds of thousands of people need to pick up the pieces and start rebuilding their lives. This process will be long and difficult for everyone.
I would love to make a difference and contribute to the relief efforts. For every website audit booked between now and Friday, September 8, $50 of each audit will be donated to Hurricane Harvey relief.
If you have any questions about the website audit and how it can help your business, please let me know. This is a great opportunity to uplevel your website and support hurricane victims.
If a website audit isn’t for you, here are other ways you can help those affected by Harvey.