Google Analytics is a free tool provided by Google that allows you to analyse the visitor traffic on your website, and provide reports on how well your website is performing. This is useful for optimising your marketing and promotional campaigns, and for detecting potential problem areas on your website.
In this article, we'll cover the main reports you're likely to see on your dashboard, and some of the main reports you might look at under the five categories: Real-time, Audience, Acquisition, Behaviour, and Conversions.
Main Dashboard Reports
The main reports you'll see on your dashboard include:
- The Audience Overview: This shows the number of users, sessions, and bounce rate for a time range (usually set to seven days). A user can have more than one session; a session generally ends after 30 minutes of inactivity. The bounce rate is the number of visitors who only view one page on your site before leaving again.
- The Real-time report: This shows the current number of active users.
- The Acquisition Report: This shows the number of users arriving at your site via various channels, source/mediums, and referrals on any given day in the last week (or any other date range you choose).
- The Location Overview: This shows you the number of sessions for a specified date range by country.
- The Users by Time of Day Report: This shows you when users are on your website for the last 30 days. The information is collated so you'll be able to tell the most common time of day for each day of the week.
- The Pages Report: This report shows the number of views per page for the given date range. This can include one person viewing a page multiple times.
- The Active Users Report: This is the number of active daily, weekly, and monthly users.
- The Mobile Overview: This doughnut chart shows you the percentage of users viewing your site through mobile devices, tablets, and desktop computers.
- The Cohort Analysis Report: This report gives you the percentage of returning users.
The side menu directs you to even more reports that go into more depth than the dashboard reports. These are the five categories mentioned previously: Real-time, Audience, Acquisition, Behaviour, and Conversions. Don't worry about Conversions as this section is a bit more advanced and requires you to set up goals and configure E-commerce settings.
Real-time contains a visual of the data as it comes in. It's grouped by location, traffic sources (how they got to the website), content (what pages are being viewed), and events and conversions. Again, don't worry about these last two, as they will require a fair amount of set-up which can be unnecessary if you do not need it.
This category tells you about the users themselves. The reports of interest here are demographics, mobile, and geo (location).
This tells you how users got to your site. 'All traffic' contains two of the basic reports we need. 'Channels' shows you where the user came from e.g. organic search means they came from a search engine, direct means they typed in your website address directly, 'referred' is a link clicked outside of a search engine (it can also mistakenly include social links), 'other' refers to channels that are not recognised by Googles default system, 'paid search' is things like Google Ads, and 'social' is links from social media sites.
The 'source/medium' report is the place and methods of links directing traffic to your website. Ones you might see are Google/organic (a normal Google search), Google/cpc (cpc means 'cost-per-click', so here a user would search on Google then click the ad), or Facebook.com/referral. What you see here will depend on how and where you put links out for your website - like posts or ads on Facebook, ads on Google, links in emails etc.
The 'referrals report' shows what sites are referring users to your site outside of search engines.
Acquisition overview report
Behaviour covers what users do on your website once they've reached it. The landing pages report under 'Site Content' shows you what pages users end up on when they first arrive at your site. The 'exit pages' report tells you what pages users leave your website from. A good visual for these is the 'behavioural flow report'.
Behaviour overview report
Landing pages report
Exit pages report
Behaviour flow report
Google Analytics is being updated and improved all the time, so the internet is one of the best resources to find out how it can help you improve your website business. Be aware that any 'How-to' videos a year old could be out of date. It's always best to view the guides from Google Help or get in touch with us here at Turboweb and we can help you out. Just call us on 0800 887 269 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.