Google Analytics is a powerful, free tool used to collect data about your website and the visitors to your site. The reporting dashboard in Analytics can give you information about where your traffic is coming from, the locations and demographics of visitors, the different pages users look at when they visit your site, and much more.
Many business owners agree it’s important to have Google Analytics on a website, but few know how to navigate the Analytics interface (dashboards) to discover the insights available. Here are 4 tips to get you started in the right direction:
#1 Demographics: who you are talking to?
Knowing more about who is visiting your site allows you to tailor your content and site experience to the user. There are a couple of reports you can look at to get this information:
- Audience > Demographics – This will give you information about the ages and gender of site visitors.
- Audience > Interests – This will provide information about other activities and hobbies your visitors are interested in. The interests are broken down into 3 categories:
- Affinity Categories – these categories may give you ideas of areas to reach potential new customers to make them aware of your brand or product.
- In-Market Segment – According to Google, users in these segments are more likely to purchase products or services in your specific category.
- Other Categories – These are more granular categories than Affinity or In-market, and let you identify users who are not in those other categories.
#2 Geography: where are your visitors located?
It’s important to get a good sense of the location of users on your site. For example, if most of your marketing efforts are targeted to the Southeast US, you can use the geographic location report to review how productive those endeavors have been. To see this information, navigate to:
- Audience > Geo > Location – You can change the primary dimension to see the users grouped by either country, city, continent, or sub-continent.
#3 Acquisition: how did people get to your site?
Website acquisition is crucial to understanding what brought your visitors to the site and discovering opportunities to maximize branding, awareness, and lead generation. To dive deep into how your website visitors are acquired go to:
- Acquisition > Overview – Provides a quick snapshot of the varying sources
This is further broken down into 9 default traffic categories:
- Direct – visitors directly entering the URL of your website into a browser
- Organic Search –people who arrived at your site via a search engine query
- Social – traffic from a link click to your site on a social media platform
- Email – traffic from a click in an email
- Affiliates –affiliate marketing efforts
- Referral – traffic from another site
- Paid Search –search network Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns
- Display – display network advertising campaigns
- Other Advertising – traffic from advertising outside of search and display campaigns
#4 Conversions: are your visitors completing a valuable action?
Yes, it is great to increase awareness of your brand as you drive traffic to your website, but how can you tell if that traffic is generating results towards your end goal? By setting up conversion tracking. Tracking conversion allows you to monitor the number of meaningful actions users take when they visit your website. This can give you detailed information about a particular advertising campaign’s effectiveness, how well your landing pages are converting and the clarity of your call to actions (such as directing your clients to complete a specific form or ordering your product).
Conversion tracking will need to be set up either through Google Tag Manager and/or your Analytics account goals. Once they are set up, you will be able to view your data by accessing the following:
- Conversions > Goals > Overview (possible trackable actions to set up):
- Completing a “Contact Us” or “Request a Demo” form
- Clicking a “More Info” or “Donate” button
- Calling a phone number through a button click
- Clicking an address to get directions
Google Analytics can provide a lot of website data, but we hope these tips will help you to start understanding your website’s data.