Posted on December 12, 2017
One month ago, we provided you with the key to understanding Google Analytics hierarchy, filters and permissions. Today we would like to continue our series by explaining how to understand Google Analytics. In particular, we’re going to show you how you can discover vital information about your website users’ Audience, Acquisition and Behaviour.
How to understand Google Analytics: Audience Reports
Every time you log in to Google Analytics, you will be taken to your Audience Overview report. This is a snapshot of very important data. For example, you can find the countries people are visiting from, the number of returning vs new visitors, and the number of people who visited your site in a specific time period.
You can set up the date window you are interested in investigating. At the top right, you can click on the dates to change the date range of the data you are viewing. You can also check the Compare box to compare your data from one date range (such as this month) to a previous date range (such as last month).
You can click the full report links to see the full reports. The Audience reports tell you everything you want to know about your visitors, from their age and gender (you’ll find this into Demographics), their general interests (Interests), where they come from (Geo > Location) and what language they speak (Geo > Language). But also, you can find out how often they visit your website (Behavior), and the technology they use to access it (Technology and Mobile).
With all this information available to you, you can tell where and how your Persona differs from your real visitors. And, as a result, you’ll be able to make important and informed, business decisions.
How to understand Google Analytics: Acquisition Reports
On the left-hand navigation, you’ll find several tabs, including the “Acquisition” one.
These reports tell you everything you need to know about:
- what drove visitors to your website (All Traffic),
- which percentage of each of the sources of Traffic (All Traffic > Source/Medium),
- and their behaviour (Bounce rate, Pages per session, Average session duration).
These are all strong indicators of your website User Experience that you definitely want to keep under control.
You can learn everything about traffic from social networks (Social). And you can connect Google Analytics to AdWords to learn more about PPC campaigns and to Google Webmaster Tools / Search Console to learn more about search traffic (Search Engine Optimization).
If you decide to go for paid advertising with Google AdWords, make sure to link your account with Google Analytics.
The “Search Console” report requires Search Console integration to be enabled. Google Serch Console is a free product that provides data and analytics to help improve your site’s performance in Google Search. You will have to enable Search Console data within Analytics. Search Console then will provide data about what users see in Google search results before they decide to click on your site (or another site). You can then use this data to identify and prioritise Search Engine Optimisation opportunities to increase the number of visitors to your site.
The Social reports will show you the result of your social media management in terms of sessions, landing pages visited, conversions, etc.
How to understand Google Analytics: Behaviour Reports
Google Analytics’ Behaviour reports tell you everything you want to know about your website content. So you’ll find information around:
- the most viewed pages (Site Content > All Pages),
- the top entry pages on your website (Site Content > Landing Pages),
- and the top exit pages on your website (Site Content > Exit Pages).
If you set up Site Search, you will be able to see what terms are searched for (Site Search > Search Terms). You’ll also be able to see the pages they are searched upon (Site Search > Pages).
Plus, you can learn how fast your website loads (Site Speed) (check the article on the importance of page speed here) as well as find specific suggestions from Google on how to make your website faster (Site Speed > Speed Suggestions).
We will explain how to set up Goals (to be monitored in the Conversions reports) in a follow-up article.
We hope you found this little guide on how to understand Google Analytics useful. And hopefully, it helped you discover new things about your website.
If you’d like more information, have any questions, or if you find any metrics of your Google Analytics reports surprising or unexpected, don’t hesitate to contact us here or on Social Media! We’re always very happy to help!