Hands up who uses Google Analytics? If you have a website, you really should utilise what they offer, because the wealth of data on your visitors is amazing. In a way, Google Analytics is like customer feedback on their experience of your website, much the same as if you were to attend an event and the organiser wants your feedback at the end – how to improve, what to change, what went well, what didn’t. Of course you don’t get written comments, but seeing how your visitors behave on your website can give you some very interesting insights. You can see who your users are, where they come from, which device they use to view your website, how they go from one page to another… etc, etc!
If you already have Google analytics on your website, then great! You may even have gone into your Google analytics dashboard and discovered that…it’s huge. With so much data you could end up spending a day a week analysing everything, so let’s help out a little with what we feel are the most important aspects to concentrate on.
Firstly, let’s explore the analytics menu and what the jargon actually means.
Home: your Google analytics dashboard, usually over the past 7 days but you can change this. This covers a good brief overview of your users, their sessions, bounce rate, where they come from (which countries too) and when in the day they visit.
Customisation: you can create custom reports, change the dashboard, save reports etc.
Real-Time: This section of the reports shows you exactly what’s going on, right now! You might have active users, so you can see how long they’re spending on pages, where they came from, etc.
Audience: explore your audience in more detail, I usually set this to a month but you can have a week, month, 3 months and custom dates. This section covers aspects of your visitors such as which system they use to visit your website, their country/city location, average session duration, how many are returning customers vs new visitors, which language their browser is set too, are they on a mobile device… and more!
Acquisition: this covers WHERE your visitors came from – was it from a direct source (typing your website domain into the URL bar), organic search, social media or a referral from another website? Who are the referrals, which social media is most popular?
Behaviour: track what your visitors do on your website – you can see a very handy behaviour flow so you can see how they go from home to check out (if they do), or how many visitors you lose within a minute, or along the way. This section even gives you page speeds, so you can monitor how fast your website loads.
Conversions: this section covers goals (which you can set up), ecommerce tracking (this needs additional code to work), multi channel funnels and attribution. If you have an ecommerce website, ask your web developer to add this section to the analytics, so that you can monitor aspects of your site like product performance.
What to focus on?
1. Where do your visitors land?
So this means, basically, which is the first page they see when they get to your website? More often than not it’s going to be the home page, but it could be a page to a voucher, or a blog you’ve written that’s been recommended elsewhere, so it’s quite an important one to suss out if you’re trying to track how successful your campaigns are going.
To get to this report, go to Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages.
What can we learn here? Firstly, you’ll see in the table a list of landing pages, here’s your top ten of where people land on your website (the table automatically sorts via sessions/hits). Top, is likely the home page (our top one is the English version of our home page, Welsh coming in at second). Notice the third most popular landing page is a recent blog we wrote on a new email scam doing the rounds, we posted this on social media so visitors are landing here directly from those links.
If you look across the table you’ll see a lot of useful information, but one of the most helpful ones in my opinion is the Bounce Rate. The bounce rate means how quickly a visitors moves away from that page, by clicking back or going elsewhere. A high bounce rate would suggest that the page isn’t engaging. You can also look at the page sessions and average session duration. Page sessions is how many pages on average are viewed by one visitor during one visit of your website, and session duration is how long a visitor will spend on your page/site.
2. Where do people come from?
A great report to delve into for this question is the Source/Medium section. Get to here by going Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium.
Again, go down to the table and you can see where your top ten sources are – Google, direct, social media, Bing, blogs. So you know where people are coming from, and what percentage of your visitors are coming from where. You can also look at how engaged they are, again by checking out the page sessions and duration stats as mentioned in point 1 above. The bounce rate is also a particularly juicy statistic here. Let’s say for example you have two sources that are YouTube and Facebook. Your YouTube videos are gaining traffic to your website, and you have a relatively low bounce rate (perhaps say 25%) from this source, whereas your Facebook referrals have a higher bounce rate around 50-60%. This suggests that even though you’re getting visitors to click through on Facebook, they aren’t getting what they expected when they arrive, nor are they as engaged as your YouTube referrals. So, you might want to tweak how you approach your Facebook posts.
3. Home page bounce rate
We’ve talked about the bounce rate earlier, but you should check out the statistics of your home page bounce rate – after all, this is the page that is most important to you to grab those visitors and engage them on your website. If the bounce rate is high (we’d say, aim for less than 35% as a good bounce rate) then the home page isn’t doing its job properly. You can then look at what is missing, are they any call-to-action points, is the information correct and relevant, is there information(!) etc.
4. Behaviour Flow
To look at this very handy flow, go to Behaviour > Behaviour Flow. You’ll see the initial landing pages, and then where your visitors go from here (and if they leave your website at any point, and from which page). Are visitors going back and forth? Are they exploring the website in a way you’d expect them to do so?
The above four points are enough to get stuck in for now – you should be able to see where your visitors come from, where they land and then visit on your website, and the bounce rate across your website and home page. These stats will give you a good idea as to what social media to focus on, which pages might need a bit of a rejig/rethink, are there pages which are totally ineffective, or pages that are surprisingly popular.
We’ll write some more blogs on the other parts of Google analytics, and if you’d like to chat further and in more detail, then please get in touch. Otherwise… enjoy the stats and let us know how you get on!