You’ve probably heard about Google Analytics but may not know what it is exactly. In a nutshell, Google Analytics is a free service that will help you obtain maximum value from your website by determining the where, when, and why of your site traffic. It can take a while to become familiar with all that Google Analytics offers, but it is definitely worth your time to learn all you can. The insights you draw from the data obtained in Google Analytics (GA) can help you improve your marketing, better serve your target audience, and ultimately gain more customers. This post is a brief overview of some of the data you can gather from GA and how to utilize the data for your business. Let’s define some of the terms on this that we’ll be using. (A more complete guide can be found here.)
- Users: An individual on your website.
- Sessions: A single visit to your website, including one or more pageviews.
- Bounce Rate: Percentage of sessions with a single page view. Usually, this means the user entered and exited from the same page.
- Session Duration: Average amount of time someone spends on your site.
- Source/Medium: Source is where your message or site was seen. Medium is how the message was communicated. For example, ‘organic’ for free search traffic, ‘cpc’ for cost-per-click and ‘referral’ for inbound links from other websites.
Google Analytics Home PageWhen you log in to Google Analytics, you will be directed to the home page which is a high-level overview of your business website’s traffic. Google makes it easy to see data over a particular time frame and you can change this range right below the graph. As you can see, on this graph we have this set for 28 days. The screenshot below displays the number of users, sessions, bounce rate, and session duration for the last 28 days. It also displays how this data has changed over the same time period. As you can see, the percentage of users was down 60.8% over the 28 day period, but the session duration was up over 50%. This information can be used to display that you need may need more relevant content to draw users to your website, but your website is doing a better job of keeping the customer’s attention once they have made it there. This chart, also found on the home page, will display the trend of your active users over the time frame you select.
Timing is ImportantAnother piece of useful information found on your Google Analytics homepage is to know what day of the week and time of day users most frequently visit your site. This will assist in determining the best times for you to post to your website and social media. For this website, Tuesday appears to be the most popular day for users to visit. This is likely due to the fact that this particular business posts to social media more often on Tuesdays, emphasizing that social media is critical to drawing customers to your website and attracting new business.
Who’s Your Audience?The below data is found under Audience Overview. Google Analytics displays detailed user information for the specific date range that you select. It will break down new vs. returning users to your site. GA also gives other details including average session duration. In this case, the average user was on the site for 1 minute 20 seconds. Providing content that not only draws customers to your site but keeps their interest should be your goal. The longer they stay, the better for you! The below chart is found under Audience -> Mobile -> Overview and it displays what device consumers used to visit your website. Notice that almost half of the users for this time period were using a mobile device. This is essential information to ensure your site is optimized for mobile.
How Are You Getting Site Visitors?Top Channels, found under Acquisition Overview, displays how consumers are navigating to your site. Notice the graph below displays 40% of the website visitors navigated from social channels, therefore it’s important to provide excellent social content that peaks consumers’ interests and draws them to your website. How do you get their interest? Great content and SEO on your pages and posts.
How Google Analytics Data Is DisplayedThis chart breaks down even further how users navigated to your website. An observation made here is that aside from an organic Google search, LinkedIn was the top channel visitors used to come to this website. This confirms that LinkedIn has been crucial in drawing visitors to the site. Yes, those social media posts really do work! Notice on the top right of this chart, there are multiple options on how you can display your data. This can be found on most of the pages so you can view the data in the best format for your use.
Where in the World is Your Site Traffic Coming From?The below map displays where your website visitors are located. This is important information so you can determine your target audience. This will break down much further: countries, state/province, all the way to the city. This was a brief overview of the multitude of benefits that Google Analytics can provide for your business. Here are just a few that we touched on:
- Tells you which channels are leading people to your website such as social media platforms, emails, or landing pages.
- Shows which pages on your website get visited most frequently.
- Determines the device that site visitors are using to navigate to your website.