There’s no arguing that Google Analytics is a powerful tool. Marketers everywhere praise the platform’s ability to measure key metrics on website performance, audience, organic search, paid search, and even social media. It’s also a free tool, which makes it even more appealing to the masses.
Over 50 million people currently use Google Analytics to monitor and aggregate their website data. This information helps users understand what’s working with their site and what isn’t. Without quantifiable data, there’s no way to determine critical metrics like pageviews, bounce rate, traffic sources, and more.
When it comes to business and marketing, the more information you have, the more able you are to improve. However, if you’re new to the Google Analytics game, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Google analytics offers a robust line of reports and features, and most people don’t need all that data. Even the most tech-savvy, marketing gurus don’t need (or understand) the minutiae of the vast amount of data that Google Analytics offers.
There are, however, a few reports that are basically universally useful. With the right information, even data newbies can start taking charge and utilizing Google Analytics’ power. Here are the top five reports to use in Google Analytics.
When measuring website traffic, it’s crucial to know where you’re getting your traffic. Are visitors coming in from organic search? Are they visiting after following you on social media? Are they clicking on your paid ads? The channels report will answer these questions for you.
This report breaks your traffic into seven different segments.
In the channels report, Google Analytics gives you access to acquisition metrics like the total number of users, including how many are new users, and the number of total sessions. It also displays behavior metrics like the bounce rate, the average number of pages views, and the average session duration. This report also reports on several conversion metrics. Then, all of this is broken into the respective channels.
All this information helps you to identify where you’re getting traffic, moreover, how that traffic performs and converts once they get there. This allows you to see which channels are worth the investment, and which are worth cutting out.
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Like the channels report, the mobile overview report breaks down sessions via acquisition, behavior, and conversion metrics. Unlike the channels report, this mobile overview report only displays the visitors who came to your website on their mobile devices.
This data is useful for several reasons. According to a recent Statista report, nearly half of all internet traffic is mobile. Beyond that, Google started prioritizing mobile-optimized websites in 2016, when they announced that they were planning to index mobile sites before desktop websites.
This Mobile Overview report gives you insight on how your mobile site is engaging with users. Is it performing as well as your desktop version? If not, high bounce rates could help identify which pages or areas of your site aren’t resonating with mobile visitors.
The landing page report is an incredibly useful report for identifying what pages are working for your visitors. Since landing pages are either first impressions or the pages that you’re hoping to make conversions on, the more information you can glean about them, the better.
Perhaps the most important metric to look at on this report is the “bounce rate.” This percentage lets you know what percentage of visitors are coming to your website and immediately leaving. The higher the percentage, the worse your page is performing. Use this information to improve your landing page performance.
Your website needs to run lightning-fast. While there are several free website speed checkers around the web, the Google Analytics site speed report is much more comprehensive. The reports around site speeds are nested underneath the “behavior” tab.
While the overview report is insightful, the “page timings” report highlights the pages on your website that are underperforming. It displays their load times versus the site average load times. This data is valuable information as time is money. Web visitors today expect pages to load in under three seconds.
If you harness the power of this report, you can identify those slow pages, and work with your developer to fix them.
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Nested under the audience tab, the demographics and interest reports provide a wealth of information about your audience. These reports, when used in combination, allow you to understand who your visitors are. Beyond that, you can segment your other reports by these demographic filters, so you can better understand which characteristics your converting visitors share.
If you don’t already use a buyer persona, these reports can help tremendously with branding efforts. If you do have a buyer persona, these reports can show how effectively you’re communicating with your target demographic. If you use Google display ads, these are the same interest and demographics categories used to target ads. So, if you understand what’s working in your analytics, you can better understand how and where to point your Google Ad budget.
Beginning to use Google Analytics starts with understanding what reports and information you need to improve your operations. Once you have that figured out, it’s easy to choose and master the reports you need on the platform. If your budget allows, you can also consider analytics consulting to ensure you’re utilizing the correct reports and truly harnessing the power of Google Analytics.
Sometimes it takes a while to wrap your head around all the features and reports. If you follow the course and start with the above five reports, you’ll be well on your way to using Google Analytics like a pro.
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