Google Analytics reports: Tips and takeaways.

Using the most relevant Google Analytics reports to track performance and learn about website audiences.

By Craig Cartwright26th October 2018

Google Analytics is undoubtedly the number one web analytics tool to use. With the sheer amount of reporting capabilities and the zero-price tag to run, its competitors struggle to compete.

However, that amount of reporting functionality and data stored can also be the cause of headaches - becoming a Google Analytics master can be challenging for even the most experienced marketer. To help you out, I’ve put together a quick-fire list of six reports that can be used straight away to gain a better insight into your audiences. First up is the Audience overview screen.

Audience overview.

From here you can instantly see the amount of users that have visited your site over the set period as well as the number of sessions, page views, and the average length of a session. You can also draw down into the figures for country and city demographics and most popular browsers for both desktop and mobile.

Also very important and useful is the pie chart provided showing you a breakdown of new versus returning visitors. Getting a user to return to your site, even once, is a great achievement – multiple times and you’re laughing! These returning visitors often end up becoming readers, followers, customers and ideally advocates.

Channels report.

From this report you can see exactly how traffic to your site is broken down: between direct traffic, organic and paid search, social, referrals from other sites and associates.

Similar to the audience overview, it includes details on how many users have come through that traffic channel including how many new users, sessions, average sessions and pages per session. A great way of understanding how your different channel audiences are using your sites.

Demographics dashboard.

It is important to understand the different age groups or generations that are making up your site visitors.  Baby Boomers have very different buying habits compared to those of the Generation X or Millennials. Not only do different generations have different buying habits, they also have different ways of speaking and alternative ways of buying.

But age ranges goes a bit further than just generation groups. For example, a travel agent could be targeting newly wedded couples. This is not a generational thing, but more likely an age range target for couples between the ages of twenty and forty-five. This age range spans several generations and is contingent on the common thread of having just got married.

This report overview allows you to see the breakdown of age groups visiting your website as well as a breakdown of male/female. Using the reports within this section, you can find out what pages each sex and age group is looking at – allowing you to tweak your content and tone to the relevant types of visitors.

Landing report.

Your website users will enter your site from all sorts of pages. Some will type in your home page URL directly, some will find a page through search engines and others will click on a link from a referral website, including your social sites.

This report will tell you which pages visitors are landing on when they first enter your site. Based on data from this report, you can figure out how users are interacting with it.

For example, if the report shows that some pages have a substantially higher bounce rate than others, you can take steps to make high bounce rate pages more engaging.

Exit page report.

Similarly, your website users will leave your site from all sorts of pages. Some pages will be correct dead ends, e.g. the “Thank You” page for a job application. Others may be a surprise as to users leaving, for example the first page in a three-page article, or the first or second step in a booking process. This report will highlight your top exit pages – showing potential UX, functionality or content issues.

Speed suggestions.

In July 2018, Google announced a new ranking algorithm designed for mobile search. The company called it the “Speed Update”:  websites and in particular pages that “deliver the slowest experience to users” will be ranked lower or even removed by this update.

Google recommends you use this report to measure page speed and make improvements. It lists all your pages and provides a breakdown of the average page load time in seconds along with a PageSpeed score and number of suggestions to speed up the page. The higher the PageSpeed score the better – so aim to get your major pages around the 68+ marks.

Over to you.

With Google Analytics insights in mind, you can go ahead and turn your website into a platform where users land and stay. Which reports do you find most useful in Google Analytics? Let us know via Social Media by tagging us in on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.