Google Analytics Guide


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Confused by your Google Analytics report? Want to know how to use this information to make your website better?

This document will try to take the mystery out of your Google Analytics report and provide solid advice on how to respond to various metrics.

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Google Analytics Guide

  1. 1. A Guide to Understanding___________________________________________________ How to access, schedule, and interpret reports for your website.__________________________________________________
  2. 2. DashboardIt is important to note that all reports can be adjusted to reflect any date range you like. At the top right of your screen you will see the currently selected date range. In this image, the range is set as September 5th – October 5th. To alter this range, select the dropdown arrow near the date.The Dashboard contains a snapshot view of several reports. You can customize which snapshots appearhere by simply selecting the Add to Dashboard button at the top of any report. At the top left is your main reports menu. By default, you will automatically be on the ‘Dashboard.’ To get to another screen, simply choose the appropriate tab.With most of these reports you can toggle between graph styles to get the best visual representation ofthe information. Just look for this box:
  3. 3. Visitors This tab has some of the most useful information. It allows you to gather information about how many people are coming to your site, how long they’re staying, and even where they are located!Benchmarking is a separate service which allows you to compare your site to with similar industry sites.In order to do so, you would first need to give permission to share your information with Google andanyone who requests the same service.Map Overlay allows you to see where in the country (or world!) people are accessing your site from. Youcan zoom in to a specific area and discover where the majority of your page views are coming from.Below you will see the report of North Dakota views; the bigger the circle, the more page views. You can click on any circle, or the information below the map, to learn more about these statistics. You can use this to track the success of an ad campaign in a specific region or to gather more information about your online customers.
  4. 4. New vs. Returning allows you to differentiate between first time visitors and those who have been toyour site before. This helps you to define where your repeat visits are coming from, as well as track theaverage time each group spends on your site. As you see below, this feature also charts the percentagesfor new vs. returning visitors. The Site Usage information appears on each page, and may reflect slightly different information depending on which report you are viewing. For an overall Site Usage report, refer to the Dashboard. Bounce Rate: The percentage Pages/Visit allows you to see how Similarly, Avg. Time on Site is a of single-page visits (the many individual pages the average good indicator of how valuable the person left your site from the user clicks through. It is safe to average visitor finds your content. A entrance page). This can assume that a higher number higher number is a good indicator indicate that your site was not equates to a more engaged visitor that your content is useful; a really what the visitor was looking high number may indicate that your for, or that the content/design navigation is cumbersome! did not encourage them to stick around.Languages indicates whether you are getting a large amount of visitors from foreign areas (i.e. frindicates visits from France, while .com indicates US visitors). If you notice a high percentage of visitorswho speak a language other than English, you may want to consider offering a translated version of yoursite for their convenience.Visitor Trending provides a graphic representation of information already seen elsewhere; namely itshows visits, pages/visit, avg. time on site, % new visits, and bounce rate.Visitor Loyalty provides some great statistical information. Here you can find out how many returnvisitors you have, how long they are staying at your site, and how ‘deep’ they are going into your site(how many pages they click through after the initial landing page).Browser Capabilities informs you of what internet browsers people are using to access your site. Thiscan be very helpful in determining how to design specific content, and allows you to more accuratelytest newly designed information. Below you can see that the vast majority of our visitors are usingInternet Explorer. This tells me to be certain that the site’s pages are displayed well when being viewedin this browser. I also see that I need to test for accessibility within Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.
  5. 5. Operating Systems tells you whether people are using a Windows, Mac, or another operatingsystem. This helps not only in designing content, but by analyzing this information about your sitevisitors and online customers you can determine a bit more about their personality and habits. Forexample, if you had a large percentage of people accessing your site via Android or Blackberry, you maydeduce that they are fairly tech savvy and are up to date on the latest trends.Screen Colors and Screen Resolutions can provide important information for your site designer. Thisallows you to ensure that the majority of your viewers are able to interact with your content without anissue by designing your pages to fit within their technological parameters.Network Properties can tell you what network provider people are using for their internet service (suchas Consolidated or Quest) as well as their connection speeds. While knowing the connection speed canhelp you in deciding how complex to make your pages, knowing the service provider may help indicateappropriate places to advertise. Assuming that most people get their cable service and internet servicetogether, you can determine appropriate cable providers with which to place advertising!Mobile tells you what mobile devices people are using to access your site (such as an internet-enabledcellphone, or Ipad) as well as their service provider (Altell, Verizon, etc.)
  6. 6. Traffic SourcesThe information gained from this tab allows you to track how people are getting to your site. Knowingwhat keywords people are searching for, which sites refer to your own, and whether ad campaigns suchas Google AdWords are effective can be a great help in steering your online marketing efforts.Overview gives a brief snapshot of traffic source information. From this screen you can trackpercentages for how people find you online, see what keywords people use when finding you throughsearch engines, and track which search engines are being used the most. This can be helpful in decidingwhere to place online ads. When people type in your URL directly Traffic linked from other sites, such as a Facebook page or blog Knowing which search Here we see what words visitors have searched for when coming to our engines your site visitors site via search engines such as Google. This tells you about the content and online customers are that people are hoping to find at your site, and also helps choose using allows you to target appropriate keywords when advertising online. them more directly by placing ads on the most If you are getting a large number of visits for a particular keyword, you may popular search engines not need to create an AdWord for this instance. For example, it would not be helpful to create an AdWord campaign for ‘Dickinson, ND’ because this search is already driving traffic to the site.Direct Traffic shows statistics specifically for those who visit your site by directly typing in your URL orusing a bookmark they have made.Referring Sites not only shows which sites link to yours, but which referring sites people are actuallyusing to find you. This information allows you to gauge the potential for partnerships between sites,
  7. 7. gives you helpful information regarding advertising opportunities, and can show the effectiveness ofyour own referring sites such as a Google Places listing or Facebook Page.AdWords Campaigns applies if you have already created a campaign. How do the people referred fromyour AdWords Campaigns compare to the "average" visitor to your site? This report includes all visitsfrom AdWords. Click an AdWords Campaign in the table to see its component Ad Groups and Keywords.The "Clicks" tab displays the AdWords cost, impression, and ROI data useful for monitoring theprofitability of your AdWords Campaigns and keywords.Keywords shows the words people are typing into search engines prior to coming to your site. In thebelow example, we see that the majority of people coming to through a searchengine arrive here after searching for “Dickinson, ND.” ContentThis tab gives valuable information about how visitors interact with your web content. Particularlyimportant is the analysis of which web pages are visited most, how long people view these pages, andTop Content shows you which pages are used most. Knowing which pages visitors and online customersuse most lets you know what content is most useful to them.Top Landing Pages records which pages of your site people are coming to first when they visit. Becauseof search engines and links from outside sites, the first page people see may not be your home page. Inthe example below, we learn that many people first land on the real estate page versus the homepage.
  8. 8. Top Exit Pages works similar to the above report. Here you learn which page people are on when theydecide to leave your site. While this may appear unhelpful, it can help you to discern if any of yourcontent is prompting people to go elsewhere. In on online retail environment, you’ll want to payparticular attention to whether people are sticking around through the checkout process or not. If theyleave, maybe it is too cumbersome or confusing!Site Overlay is a really neat feature of Google Analytics. Choose this option to open up a new browserwindow with your site. You’ll notice that over each area a visitor can click on you will see a percentagebar. Navigate through your site and note where most people go when visiting. This information can alsobe helpful in determining if your navigation is straightforward or needs to be made easier for your enduser to get around.Site Search is an additional feature you can install on your website. Similar to using a search engine,customers can search your site for specific content. If you enable this feature and add a search tool toyour site, you can easily keep track of the keywords people are searching for on your site. Note that youcannot track every search; you need to enter in specific queries you wish Google Analytics to track, suchas a product name or specific page. GoalsThis tab allows non-ecommerce sites to track specific actions, such as event registrations or downloads.Once you have set your goals, youll be able to see conversion rates and the monetary value of thetraffic you receive. You can also define a "funnel path" for each goal. A funnel path is the path you wantvisitors to take to reach a goal. Defining a funnel path allows you to monitor how frequently visitors whobegin a conversion process actually complete it.Examples of goals include:  "Thank you for registering" pages  receipts  flight itinerary confirmations  "Download completed" pageSites that are ecommerce sites have the opportunity to track desired actions (customer purchases)simply by tracking their sales. The Goals feature of Google Analytics allows other sites to define goals fortheir non-paying visitors!
  9. 9. Keeping Up With Reports Despite the wealth of information available to marketers and website content managers in Google Analytics, it can be easy to forget to view reports regularly. Thankfully, you can set automatic emails to be sent to as many addressees as you like with a PDF report!While on the Dashboard tab, select the Email button (see below).Once selected, you will see a new screen. To set up an automatic email, choose the Schedule tab. Thisallows you to designate email addresses to send to, and a subject line and body to the automatic email,and choose from daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly reports.Obviously the PDF report will not have all of the interactive features you will find online, it will provide aregular snapshot of your website’s performance. Use this information to determine any necessarychanges in content and marketing practices, as well as track the effectiveness of current campaigns. Good luck! If you find you need additional assistance in getting the most out of Google Analytics, or to learn more about new features, visit