Google Analytics IQ Lesson 2: Interpreting Results


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Want to know more about Google Analytics or studying for the Google Analytics IQ Test? Here you have a my summary of the "Interpreting Results" lessons extracted from Google's Conversion University (

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Google Analytics IQ Lesson 2: Interpreting Results

  1. 1. Google Analytics IQ Lessons 2. Interpreting Results 1 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  2. 2. 2.1. Guidelines• When analyzing your traffic, avoid focusing on just a single metric. You must look each variable in the context of other metrics, in order to get a clearer picture.• Putting data into context can help us ask the right questions and decide on a course of action.• Analyzing trends is another useful way to bring context into your analysis (use the graph views for this!) 2 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  3. 3. 2.2. Pageviews, visits & visitors• A pageview is counted every time a page on your website loads. • A visit -- or session -- is a period of interaction between a web browser and a website. Closing the browser or staying inactive for more than 30 minutes ends the visit. • A visitor is uniquely identifed by a GA visitor cookie which assigns a random visitor ID to the user, and combines it with the timestamp of the visitor’s frst visit. 3 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  4. 4. 2.2. Pageviews, visits & visitors• A pageview is defned as a view of a page that is tracked by the Google Analytics Tracking Code. If a visitor hits reload or returns to it, an additional pageview will be recorded.• A unique pageview represents the number of visits during which that page was viewed--whether one or more times.• The “Absolute Unique Visitors” report counts each visitor during your selected date range only once.• The “New vs. Returning” report classifes each visit as coming from either a new visitor or a returning visitor.• A high number of new visits suggests that you are successful at driving traffic to your site while a high number of return visits suggests that the site content is engaging enough for visitors to come back.• You can look at the Recency report to see how recently visitors have visited. You can look at the Loyalty report to see how frequently they return. Both reports are under Visitor Loyalty in the Visitors section.• The Pageviews metric can be found in the Visitors Overview and in the Content section reports. Most of the other reports show Pages Viewed per Visit instead of Pageviews.• Unique Pageviews is only found in the Content section. 4 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  5. 5. 2.3. Time Metrics• To calculate Time on Page, GA compares the timestamps of the visited pages:A visitor saw page A, then page B, and then left the site:- The Time on Page for page A is calculated by subtracting the page A timestamp from the page B timestamp.- Atention: In order for this calculation to take place, the GA Tracking Code must be executed on both pages.- The Time on Page for page B is 0 seconds, because there is no subsequent timestamp that Google Analytics can use to calculate the actual Time on Page.- Time on Site is calculated adding the different Time on Page.• For Average Time on Page, bounces are excluded from the calculation.• To calculate Average Time on Site, Google Analytics divides the total time for all visits by the number of visits. Bounces remain a part of the calculation. 5 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  6. 6. 2.3. Time Metrics• Some sites make extensive use of Flash or other interactive technologies which don’t load new pages frequently and all the user interaction takes place on a single page.• As a result, it’s common for sites like this to have high bounce rates and low average times on site.• If you have such a site, you may wish to set up your tracking so that virtual pageviews or events are generated as the user performs various activities. 6 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  7. 7. 2.3. Time Metrics• The Length of Visit report categorizes visits according to the amount of time spent on the site during the visit.• The graph allows you to visualize the entire distribution of visits instead of simply the ‘Average Time on Site’ across all visits.• You can see whether a few visits are skewing your ‘Average Time on Site’ upward or downward.• The Length of Visit report can be found under Visitor Loyalty in the Visitors section. 7 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  8. 8. 2.4. Traffic Sources• The reports in the Traffic Sources section show you where your traffic is coming from on the internet. You can compare them to fnd out which sources send you the highest quality traffic:- Direct Traffic = visitors who clicked on a bookmark or typed the URL.- Referring Sites = sites that send traffic to you (banner ads or links featured on blogs, affiliates…)- Search Engine traffic = click on a search results link in Google, Yahoo… It can be organic (free) or paid - Paid search engine traffic is pay per click or cost per click traffic that you purchase from a search engine -- for example on Google AdWords. 8 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  9. 9. 2.4. Traffic Sources• WHAT MAKES A GOOD SOURCE OF TRAFFIC?• One easy indicator of quality is Bounce Rate -- the percentage of visits in which the person left without viewing any other pages.• A high bounce rate suggests that the site isn’t relevant to what the visitor is looking for• By clicking the “compare to site average” icon and selecting a comparison metric, you can see which sources outperform and underperform the site average. 9 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  10. 10. 2.4. Traffic Sources• The All Traffic Sources report lists all of the sources sending traffic. It is helpful to identify your top performing sources. - For example, in the report, we see that referred more traffic than any other source. It has a medium of referral because it is a referral from a site. - The second most popular source of traffic was direct. Direct traffic always has a medium of (none). - Free Google search engine traffic was the fourth largest referrer. - The medium of organic tells us that this traffic came from clicks on unpaid search engine results. - The medium of cpc on this entry tells us that this traffic came from paid search results. - You may sometimes see _referrals_ from These can come from Google Groups posts or static pages on other Google sites. 10 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  11. 11. 2.4. Traffic Sources• If you have goals or ecommerce set up on your site, you have a much wider range of metrics with which to assess performance. Click on the Goal Conversion or Ecommerce tabs to view which sources are driving conversions and purchases.• The Keywords report is very useful for understanding what visitors were expecting to fnd on your site:- Keywords with a high bounce rate tell you where you failed to meet that expectation.- You can isolate your paid search engine traffic by clicking the Paid link.- If you have paid keywords with a high bounce rate, you should evaluate whether your landing pages are relevant or whether you should continue to buy those keywords. 11 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  12. 12. 2.4. Traffic Sources• By clicking on the ‘keyword’ entry in the table you can see its report and to fnd out which landing page is being used for this keyword, we’ll select Landing Page from the Dimension pulldown menu. • We can now see which landing page is being used and evaluate it’s relevance to the keyword (particularly helpful if we use multiple landing pages). • You can fnd out which landing pages are responsible for the poor performance and send the keyword traffic to the most effective landing page. • Be sure to also check the bounce rates for organic, non-paid keywords. This information can offer insights into how to best focus your search engine optimization efforts. 12 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  13. 13. 2.4. Traffic Sources• By default, Google Analytics attributes a conversion or sale to the campaign that most recently preceded the conversion or sale. For example:- if a visitor clicks on an AdWords ad and then later returns via a referral to purchase something, the referral will get credit for the sale.- if instead the visitor returns directly, then the AdWords ad will credit for the sale.• To prevent a specifc referral or campaign from overriding a prior campaign, simply append “utm_nooverride=1” to all referring campaign links. This ensures that the conversion is always atributed to the original referrer (or frst campaign the user clicked on). 13 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  14. 14. 2.5. Content Reports• The frst three reports listed in the Content section all show the same information, but each report organizes it differently: - The Top Content report lists each page that received traffic. - The Content by Title report groups your pages according to Title tag. You can click on a title to see the pages that share that title. - The Content Drilldown report groups pages according to directory. You can click on a directory to see the pages in the directory. 14 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  15. 15. 2.5. Content Reports• Pages in your Content reports are represented by their “request URIs”, which is the part of the URL after the domain name. So, a forward slash represents your home page.• When you create your profle, you should specify the name of your homepage as the Default page. That way, instead of having forward slash show up in your reports, you’ll see your homepage URI instead. 15 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  16. 16. 2.5. Content Reports• The Top Landing Pages report lists all of the pages through which people entered your site. Use this report to monitor the number of bounces and the bounce rate for each landing page (it is good indicator of landing page relevance and effectiveness). 16 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  17. 17. 2.5. Content Reports• Navigation Analysis reports can help you understand how people move through your site.• The reports are listed on the Content Overview page. They’re also available from a pulldown menu when you drill down to a page detail report.• The frst of these -- Navigation Summary --- can help you see how people arrived at a specifc page and where they went afterwards (see next slide) 17 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  18. 18. 2.5. Content Reports• The list of pages that were viewed immediately before the page or pages is shown in the left column. Pages viewed immediately after in the right. 18 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  19. 19. 2.5. Content Reports• Sometimes the Previous Page, the Next Page, and the page you are analyzing are all the same page. This can be caused by visitors hitting the refresh buton multiple times and generating “self-referring” hits.• It can also be caused, for example, if the page has graphics that the visitor can click to enlarge. Here’s what happens:- The visitor views the page and Google Analytics registers a pageview. Then the visitor clicks on a graphic and views the enlarged graphic fle.- This does not result in a pageview because the enlarged graphic fle doesn’t have the Google Analytics Tracking Code. The visitor then clicks the back buton, which registers another pageview. 19 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  20. 20. 2.5. Content Reports• The Entrance Paths report is a powerful tool for analyzing navigation paths.• For example, let’s say that you want to fnd out whether people clicked the Purchase buton on your landing page and actually completed the purchase.• To fnd out, go to the Top Landing Pages report and click the landing page you want to analyze.• Once you are on the Content Detail report for the page, click the Entrance Paths link (see next slide) 20 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  21. 21. 2.5. Content Reports In the middle column, you’ll see all the possible clicks people made on the page. Choose the link that represents the Purchase page.In the right hand column, you’ll now see all the pages visitors went to after the Purchase page.By looking at this list, you’ll be able to see how many visits ended up on the PurchaseCompletion page.This report can show you if the landing page is doing the job you designed it for. 21 Based on Google’s Conversion University
  22. 22. 2.5. Content Reports You can use the “Analyze” drop-down menu to view additional reports such as Entrance Sources and Entrance Keywords. The “Content” drop down menu allows you to select -- or search for -- specifc pages to analyze. 22 Based on Google’s Conversion University