Google Analytics Fundamentals: A Beginner's Guide to Finding Useful Reports
Google Analytics is a free tool from Google that businesses of all sizes use to analyze who visits their site and how frequently. If you're new to Google Analytics, the interface may appear overwhelming: with so many view options, it can be difficult to know where to begin. However, the learning curve is not as steep as it appears. We've compiled a list of the go-to reports we like to compile below so you can become acquainted with the navigation and start taking advantage of this powerful tool.
|Beginner's Guide to Google Analytics|
Your dashboard will provide you with a high-level overview of how your site is performing, as well as brief snapshots of the most important metrics for each report type.
- Reports left-hand pane: This is where you'll start narrowing down your search. To find data about specific areas of your site, click into each report type and navigate through the subtypes.
- The search bar top center: Remember the search bar if you need to find something specific but aren't sure where it is in the left-hand navigation pane. This robust feature (it is, after all, Google) will provide a variety of options for locating the exact information you seek.
The Audience tab will provide you with reports on the demographics and geographic location of your site visitors, as well as the devices they use to view your site.
- Demographics Overview: This section provides a high-level overview of your visitor base, including age, gender, and location. Knowing this information will allow you to better align your strategies with the various personas who shop on your website.
- Behavior New vs Returning: This report displays how many returning visitors you have compared to how many are brand new. Understanding your new vs. returning visitors will assist you in setting goals and providing insight into how various marketing strategies are performing.
- Overview of Mobile: Visit this section to find out how many people are visiting and converting on desktop, mobile, and tablets. This can assist you in troubleshooting conversion issues by identifying where you are losing visors or conversions.
The Acquisition tab shows you where your site visitors came from when they clicked on your link, whether it was from social media profiles, advertisements, or other sources.
- Overview: This is the best way to see how all of your marketing channels are interacting at a glance. You can see how each visitor came to the site, how they behaved on the site, and who converted.
- All Traffic Channels: This is a more detailed version of the previous section's Overview. When you've arrived at this page, click on the "Ecommerce" link on the left. This will provide you with a nice breakdown of each marketing channel in relation to your ecommerce metrics.
- Social Network Referrals: This section lets you know which social networks referred visitors to your site, how many pages each visitor viewed, and how long they stayed. This will allow you to assess the success of your social media campaigns and redirect your efforts to platforms that are generating high-quality traffic.
The Behavior tab will tell you what your site visitors did when they arrived at your site, from the pages they clicked on to the actions they took on each page.
- Site Content Landing Pages: This report shows you which pages on your website visitors are landing on. You can narrow your search even further by looking at the top landing pages by traffic source, such as organic search or social media. You can almost always expect your homepage to rank first, but learning about the popularity of other pages will help you adjust your strategy at every level.
- Site Search Overview: To use this graph, your ecommerce site must have Site Search enabled. Following that, you'll be able to use this feature to see the top queries people are typing into your site's search tool. This report can help you identify popular products on your site, highlight product gaps, and show you where your site navigation may not be intuitive enough to help users find what they need.
The Conversions tab allows you to specify where you want your site visitors to go (“goals”) and monitor how your site is performing overall.
- Ecommerce Overview: This section provides an overview of the sales performance of your ecommerce store. You can see the conversion rate for each product, the total number of transactions, the average purchase price for each order, and other information.
- Ecommerce Product Performance: This report provides an easy-to-understand breakdown of each product purchased, allowing you to make informed decisions based on where your revenue is coming from.
- Multi-channel Funnels Assisted Conversions: Before purchasing a product, customers will frequently browse and return to the site a few times. This report demonstrates how each marketing channel may have aided in the conversion process. For example, if a customer found your site via a PPC ad but converted much later via a direct visit, this section will show PPC as the customer's first interaction. Knowing this allows you to give each channel full credit for its contribution to the conversion process.
Make sure to adjust the date range at the top right of the site as you use these reports. This allows you to compare month-to-month performance, year-to-year performance, and any other date ranges you choose to measure.
Remember to have fun while you're exploring. Because it is difficult to break anything in this dashboard, the best way to use it is to experiment with different filters and views. All you need is a working knowledge of the tool to gain access to the critical insights that will help your business succeed.