Welcome back to part 2 of Geeking out in Google Analytics.
Last week we laid a foundation for Google Analytics by explaining the lingo, telling you how to set it up or make sure it was on your site and what’s possible with Google Analytics.
Today, we’re going to dive into some of the reports that you want to take a look at to see which ones are going to be most important for your business as you get started with Google Analytics.
Like I mentioned last week, my goal is not to tell you what reports to run or how to run your Google Analytics account. Instead, I want to teach you how to look critically at the data coming in so you can make smarter decisions about what you’re promoting, or advertising, or launching, or spending money on.
As we dive into the four main categories of reports, make sure that when you’re looking at reports that you set the default view to be 30 days. Anything less is not going to give you a great snapshot that’s meaningful.
The first category of reports when you’re just getting started is Audience Reports. These reports are answering the question: Who is visiting your site?
1. Find out if your traffic is mostly local or all over the country/world
Am I reaching the right people?
2. Mobile reports
How are they visiting? How much effort should you put into mobile vs desktop design and traffic?
How people are moving through your site, where they drop off
4. Demographics of visitors
Age range, gender, interests (what else you’re interested in thanks to third-party cookies)
These reports help you to understand the traffic patterns and answer the question: “Where does my traffic come from?”
Channels = communication channel, when I mention channel reports in this section*
Important reports to look at in this section are:
1. All Traffic – which will show you by channel, where your people are coming from to hit your site.
Ninja move: *Split up traffic into non-branded organic search (people searching for keywords and find you) and branded organic search (type your brand words in and find you) in a filter so you can see how people are searching for you and if its through keyword or brand recognition.
Why is this a ninja move to track? Because branded organic search stays longer and is worth more than cold non-branded search, which equals easier conversions and more revenue for your business if you’re selling anything.
2. Source/Medium – This report tells you who sent the traffic and how they sent the traffic, and then you can drill down to see what page they sent traffic to
For example, google/organic means your traffic came from Google’s search engine and they sent the traffic to you because of organic keyword searches.
When you see the word referral traffic, it means that someone clicked to your site from another browser or link – (like a blog, directory, social platform, etc).
If you advertise on Adwords you can look at Adwords report to see who they are.
3. Social – This report will tell you what percentage of your traffic comes from social platforms, what channels and how many are contributing to your website goals if you’ve set them up with social value.
4. Campaigns – This report will help you track what campaigns are effective and profitable if you use UTMs to track email campaigns or paid traffic to your website.
These reports are answering the question: “What did a visitor do on our website?”
In this section (and all main categories of reports, the overview page is a dashboard where you can drill down into specific reports for each section — it’s just showing you the data at a glance in a pretty format.
1. Behavior Flow – This report shows how your website visitors go through different pages of your site, whereas User flow looks at the specific user. That means you can see common paths people take on your website from one page to another and see where they drop off — or if they’re behavior is what you’re expecting and what you’ve designed your site to do.
2. Site Content Report – This report tells you which pages get the most traffic. It’s one of the most common reports website owners look at. But the next step needs to be: What is this a result of and why is this traffic coming here?
3. Landing Page – This report tells you how the visitors found you, which means the first page they came into your site
Understanding where people are first “landing” helps you understand what pages to make improvements on. If they have a high bounce rate then there is room for improvement. 🙂
4. Exit page — This report tells you what page they left the site from. Everyone has to leave the site at some point, so the question you need to answer is: Does it make sense that they are leaving from here?
One thing to note is, landing pages will have a high bounce rate just by the sheer volume of click-throughs, so don’t panic about your number.
Conversion Reports (Goals)
These reports are answering the question: “What is the purpose of my website?”
One way to figure this out is to set goals because that is how we tell Google Analytics what’s important to us on our website.
Goals > Overview will show end result of how it’s tracking the conversions
To set up goals, go to Admin > Goals
You only get 20 goals in Google Analytics so don’t go crazy creating goals for everything until you know what makes sense for your site to track.
First, create a new goal. You can use a template, but give it a name that makes sense to you because the generic names are well, generic.
There are four types of goals:
Destination (thank you or order complete pages)
Page/Screens per session
Event (something that happens within a page)
Destination goals will be able to cover 75% of the goals you create because it’s how you track final results like confirmation pages for options, purchases, abandoned carts, registrations, etc.
Setting up goals makes everything else mean more in GA because it’s tied to what matters — conversions and growth, not just action or behavior.
You can DO this! Don’t you feel 100x smarter about Google Analytics right now? Next week on Part 3, we’ll wrap up Google Analytics by looking at some advanced reports, how to analyze the data and track conversions better.
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