Understanding Google Analytics: A Beginner's Tutorial
Google Analytics can seem to be very intimidating when you first start to use it. There is so much valuable information about your website that you can extract from this tool, you just need to know what to look for.
In this post, we'll take you through the most important features and show you exactly how you can use Analytics to measure and improve the performance of your website.
From the ‘Behaviour Overview’ tab, we can see how users interact with your site pages. Utilising this area properly, we can see which pages or pieces of content perform the best and how users move across your website. From looking at the overview page you can learn a lot about the average amount of time users spend on your page, bounce rate and the total number of pageviews you have received.
Once you are more familiar with using analytics, you can dig a little deeper and explore the different behaviour reports available. For example, by using the ‘Behaviour Flow’ report you can follow the user journey from each landing page, see where users exit and identify common behaviour patterns.
To get the most out of the Behaviour Reports, you could look into the following metrics:
You want this percentage to be LOW. The average bounce rate is between 41-55%, considering a range of sites, but will depend on the sector you are in.
This figure is drawn from the amount of users who have exited a page without any interactions within a session.
If your bounce rate is high these are some of the questions you should be asking yourself:
- Is your content is too long / too short?
- Is your content relevant and of a high quality?
- Are there enough links to other pages?
- Does your content engaging?
Bounce rate is useful to see if users are interacting with your page and if the page encourages them to navigate to other areas of your site.
You want this number to be HIGH. Pageviews are defined as the total number of times the piece of content was viewed. This means that if one user visits the same page five times in one session, that will give the page five page views and one user session. If your pageviews are low, it could be because:
- You content is hard to find in the website
- Navigation isn’t intuitive
- Content is of low quality, leading to people exiting the site
- You’re not driving organic traffic due to poor SEO
Pageviews can be a good indicator as to how engaging your site is. The metric shows how many people have not only viewed your site but also returned and viewed it multiple times.
Unique pageviews represent an aggregate of pageviews generated by the same user during the same session (i.e. the number of sessions during which that page was viewed one or more times). Because of this, the number of unique pageviews will always be lower than the number of pageviews.
One factor that could affect your figures is that users often visit your website multiple times but across different devices. This can mean one person might get counted more than once as a unique user, unless you are using GA’s User ID feature, you will be unable to identify the same user acrosstheir mobile, desktop or tablet. So for example, if someone has been on your website on their mobile and then later views it again but on their desktop, that user will be counted as a unique pageview on both occasions, unless they they are signed in to a user account.
Whilst this might seem problematic, unique pageviews are actually very useful as they give a good representation of how many people have visited your site rather than how many times it has been viewed in general.
If your unique pageviews are low, this could be due to the same reasons listed above under ‘pageviews’.
This report enables you to find out more about your target audience and website users. From demographics to interests and locations, this report can be interesting to analyse and extremely useful to learn from.
To get the most out of this report, you must enable the demographics and interest reports. You can find this under property settings where you just have to simply click ‘ON’.
In this report you will access data around:
The Demographics report allows you to see which gender and age group most frequently visit your site. This can be very useful when creating content as you create unique, highly-target content that appeals to the right age group etc. By understanding demographics, you might choose to cover certain topics or pick specific platforms or formats to promote your content.
If your content is receiving very little engagement, it would be useful to focus on your buyer personas and see if your copy is written in the best style and tone for your target group.
A simple, yet insightful tool, the ‘Interest Report’ can highlight the topics and areas your users are most interested in and inclined to engage with. From this information, you could plan content and alter the angle you create content from. For example, those interested in travel would engage more if your products were suggested to be used when traveling in a blog post.
Thanks to the location tool, you can see where your viewers are accessing your site from, in the world. Whilst all businesses can benefit from knowing more about their users, this is most beneficial to eCommerce sites where they tailor their content and marketing campaigns to increase their chance of securing sales. For example, if you start to get more interest from America you could add a dollar currency option and include international delivery information to your site to be more helpful for your customers.
With the knowledge of where your traffic is coming from, you can use this information to influence decisions you make regarding your ad targeting, potentially increasing your bids for the locations with higher activity. Alternatively, you could identify some areas as ‘low traffic generators’ and make your next marketing objective to boost brand awareness in these areas.
Acquisition Report - Traffic
This report shows you where your audience is coming from and allows you to identify which channels are driving traffic to your site. From this, we can see which of your marketing methods are bringing the best results and which methods may need to be reconsidered.
Finding out where your traffic has come from is important in determining whether your marketing efforts are paying off. By seeing which platform brings the most traffic to your website you can decide if methods such as SEO or paid advertising are successful.
As one of the most useful reports in GA, the channel report should be analysed on a regular basis. Besides giving a general performance overview for each channel, you can also use the report to track the success of different marketing campaigns throughout the year. For example, if you run a promotional campaign across social media, email and the display network, you can quickly use the channel report to see which provides the most traffic, received the highest number of bounces or created the most conversions.
With all of this important information, you can then see how you can restrategise and make the most of your time and resources.
A conversion is an action that the user has taken on your website and is something that you should review daily. This can be anything from completing an online purchase, registering for a newsletter or staying on a web page for a specific time. It is valuable to know how many users are converting daily to ensure your business is continuing to grow and your marketing efforts are proving to be effective.
As we mentioned earlier, there are many different types of goals you can set up for your site. Each goal type can help you to monitor various user interactions. Some of the most common goals include:
URL destination goals allow you to track the amount of views to a certain URL. This can be useful to monitor on confirmation pages, by making sure all purchasers are sent to this page.
Duration goals are useful in keeping an eye on how long users are spending on your site. This can be very useful on websites that aim to help users.
Page/visit goals indicate how many pages a user has viewed before they leave your site. This is useful as you can see how interesting and interactive your site is and if it’s engaging enough to encourage users to navigate through to other pages.
This tool allows you to view the economic movements of your site. You can see the percentage of users who made a purchase and track your online revenue. This is useful to identify the number of purchases made compared to how many people have viewed your site.
Overall, Google Analytics can be used to identify different information concerning how well your website is performing. These are just some of the basic tools to give you an overall idea on the status of your site’s success.
If you would like to go into further detail on how to make the most of Google Analytics for your site, contact us and see how our SEO experts can help you!