Starting With Google Analytics? Answer These 4 Crucial Questions First
Previously we discussed the importance of website analytics. And for many, Google Analytics is the website analytics tool of choice.
However, there are 1000s of measurements you can sift through in Google Analytics.
So where do you start?
Get started on the right foot by answering these four crucial questions:
1) Who visits my website?
2) What do visitors do on my website?
3) Where do visitors to my website come from?
4) When do visitors come to my website?
Unfortunately, Google Analytics does not have Categories called “Who, What, Where, When.” That would be too easy.
But don’t worry, the answers to those questions are readily available as long as you know where to look.
So let’s figure out where to look.
Who Visits My Website?
This information can be found in the Audience Section.
The Audience section is where you can find out about the specific type of people that are visiting your website. This data is anonymous aggregated data so you will never know specific information about individual customers. But you will get useful information that can guide your marketing efforts.
The Audience reports give you the following information about WHO visits your website:
- Geo – The language preference and location of visitors to your site. This could come in handy if you offer services or products to a global audience.
- New vs Returning – How much repeat traffic you are getting and how much of a new audience your site receives.
- Frequency & Recency – How often people visit your site over a set time period and how many days since their last visit.
- Engagement – How much time a person spent on your site (Visit Duration) and how many pages they visited per visit (Page Depth)
- Technology – The browsers and networks being used to access your site/app.
- Mobile – The mobile devices being used to access your site/app. Are people using a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer to access your website.
The Audience report can give you demographics data for your visitors but it requires a special version of the Google Analytics Code and that you register with Google’s Display Network. To keep things simple we are going to skip this for now.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: These reports start to help you build profiles of the people visiting your site. Before you can convert these visitors into customers you need to know such basic information such as where they live, how they interact with your site and what technology they use when visiting your site.
What Do Visitors Do On My Website?
You can find answers to this question in the Behavior section.
The Behavior reports tell you WHAT pages visitors are viewing and how they navigate through your website.
- Site Content – All Pages: Here you see the pages that receive the most views on your site for a set amount of time.
- Behavior Flow – This shows a visual representation of how visitors navigate the pages on your site.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: It is crucial that you identify your most popular content. You need to know if visitors are spending time on the pages you actually want them to view. You also need to know how visitors traverse the pages on your site. The Behavior Flow will help you discover pages on your site that cause problems for visitors.
Where Do Visitors to My Website Come From?
You can find answers to this question in the Acquisition Section.
The Acquisition reports tell you WHERE your visitors come from.
Sources driving traffic to your site include:
- Organic search – Visitors who use a search engine to find your site
- Referrals – Any website sending traffic to your site
- Direct – Visitors who come to your site directly from a bookmark or typing your website URL into a search bar
- Social Media – Traffic that comes from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Email – Traffic that is comes from links in emails. (You need to add special tracking code to these links so they don’t show up as DIRECT)
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: To get the most from your marketing efforts you need to know Which traffic sources are sending you the most valuable traffic. You need to know if the traffic sources you are investing time and money in are actually working.
When Do Visitors Come to My Website?
You can look at specific time periods for every report in Google Analytics to see WHEN people visit your site.
You can view any metric using the following time increments:
- Hour (Only the Overview Reports)
- Custom Ranges
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Timing is everything – whether you want to know how well last month’s campaign drove visitors to your site or how your site performed over an entire year.
If you want to learn more about Google Analytics, you can read more about our popular starter solutions or contact our experienced analytics team to find out how we can help you get important, actionable website data to grow your business.