Using analytics software is one of the best ways to understand your website audience and identify ways to help drive traffic to your website. Google Analytics is one of the most popular programmes for measuring performance.
Its dashboard has a range of reports, but we know this can be confusing for beginners, so we have narrowed it down to the most important reports to look at if you are new to using Google Analytics.
Audience reports gives information about the users of the website
Study Bounce Rate
Accessing this report: Audience -> Overview
One of the most important pieces of data that Google Analytics provides is bounce rate. Bounce from a website is to leave the site before interacting with it in some way. Bounce rate tells you whether your visitors are engaging with your website or not. If your bounce rate is high (60% and above) this means that a large number of visitors are navigating away from your site after visiting just one page.
Some ways to improve your bounce rate:
- Great engaging content that is suitable for your target audience
- Reducing the loading time of your website – 47% of consumers expect a website to load in less than two seconds
Desktop vs Mobile
Accessing this report: Audience -> Mobile -> Overview
Google Analytics provides information on where your traffic comes from, desktop or mobile devices. Your website should be mobile responsive (ie the design adapts to being viewed on mobile devices) but if you are registering a high bounce rate from mobile devices, then you know that you need to work on the mobile version of your website.
Potential New Markets
Accessing this report: Audience -> Geo -> Location
By looking at the location breakdown of where your visitors are coming from, it can give you an insight into markets you do not yet target. If a location is generating high traffic you should consider adjusting your strategy to target that location in the future.
Acquisition reports tell you where your visitors originated from, such as search engines, social networks or website referrals.
Discover Sources of Traffic
Accessing this report: Acquisition -> Overview
Knowing where your traffic comes from will allow you to gain an insight into how to plan your marketing in the future.
Organic search–if you have a large percentage of traffic coming from organic (unpaid for) searches on, say, Google or Bing, it means that your pages are well optimised and you are being found in search results. If the percentage is low, you need to invest in a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy to get your website optimised.
- Referral – Referrals are visits that came to your site direct from another website. For example, if you are paying to have your business listed on a directory, this is a great way to see if it is worth the investment.
- Social – By monitoring what social media platforms receive the most visits you can see what platforms are worth investing in for future ad campaigns.
- Paid – If you are using Google AdWords, this will give you an insight into the number of clicks you are receiving. If the engagement is not what you are expecting, it might be time to change your strategy.
Behaviour reports tell you how people engage with your website.
Accessing this report:Behavior -> Site Content -> Landing Pages.
Users will land on your website in various ways. Some will type in the URL directly, some will find a page via a search engine and others may come via links from social media.
This report will tell you which of your 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 your site. For example, if you have a page that users aren’t landing on and you want them to, you can create a strategy to improve that by eg by posting the URL on social media.
Google analytics allows you to gain a great insight into how your website is performing and it is important to use this information to see if your current strategy is working. Be careful not to focus on only one component, though, as this could result in you missing the bigger picture.