Analyze This! A Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics

Google Analytics is by far the most accurate and widely used tool for measuring traffic for your company’s website. It integrates nicely with most other tools and reporting systems, and works smoothly with Google AdWords to manage and measure campaigns, and track goals and conversions in order to give you an accurate ROI.

Recent changes (and by recent, we mean within the last month) to the Google Analytics platform has made it more user friendly. However, if you’ve never used it before, you still may end up opening it up for the first time and be struck with a mixture of shock and confusion that looks something like this:

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There are many varied layers to using Google Analytics. You can go as in depth as setting up goal tracking, creating custom reports, custom dashboards, real-time analytics, adwords analytics, content grouping, segmentation . . . the list goes on and on. As a beginner, you don’t need to worry about these things just yet. More than likely you just want to know how your website is performing and if we’re looking at analytics as a whole, that’s the most important upfront result you’ll want to be looking at as a business anyway. A digital marketing agency, like Sayvee, tends to plumb the depths (even the dark and scary ones) of Analytics in order to gather essential information about your target demographics and to help shift marketing efforts in the right direction.

However, if you’re new to Analytics and are looking for the basics, here’s what you need to know:

1. Set Your Date Range

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In the top right you’ll see an option to set your date range. You can look at Analytics on a week to week basis or, more commonly, on a month to month basis. But really you can pick any date range you’d like to evaluate. Within the same date range settings, you can also choose to compare your results to the previous period or the same time period from the previous year. This will give you a good idea as to how your website and web campaigns are performing compared to the past.

2. The Audience Tab is Your Friend

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The main screen you’re going to want to look at is your Audience Tab. This shows you all the main juicy Analytics goodness. Here’s the main info you’re looking for on this page:

Sessions - The number of times people have visited your site.

Users - The amount of people that have visited your site.

Pageviews - The amount of pages viewed on your site.

Avg. Session Duration - How long people spent on your site.

Bounce Rate - How bouncy your site is. No, really. Bounce rate is an average breakdown of how many people visit your site and then leave after viewing only one page.

A digital marketing agency, like Sayvee, tends to plumb the depths (even the dark and scary ones) of Analytics in order to gather essential information about your target demographics and to help shift marketing efforts in the right direction"

What kind of results do you want to see? Sessions and users should be high numbers, page views should be higher because, ideally, you want people browsing your site and not just visiting a single page. Average session duration is dependent on how big and interesting your site is. The more time people spend on site, the better chance they’ll be reacting or taking some sort of action, whether that’s making a purchase or inquiring about/booking a service.

Bounce rate should be low all the time with one single exception, which we’ll get to in a moment. You want your site to be ‘sticky’. You want people to navigate around and hit a few pages per visit. If people are hitting one page and then leaving, your bounce rate will go up. The exception is with landing pages which are created to only be hit once. If you’re getting a high bounce rate to your landing page, it’s usually nothing to worry about as long as the time on site is high and you’re getting the results you want (form submissions, phone calls, etc.).

3. Pay Attention to Demographics

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Demographics has it’s own section under the ‘Audience’ tab but you can see most of what you’re looking for on the overview page. Scroll down and check out what country and city you’re drawing traffic from. Is this where you want your customers to be located? If not, you may want to take a look at your marketing efforts and make sure you’re actually targeting the locations you want to target.

4. How Are People Browsing Your Site?

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It’s a mobile world. 80% of internet users own a smartphone. In analytics, under the audience tab, click on ‘Mobile’ then ‘Overview’. This will show you how many people are browsing your site on a mobile device, tablet, or desktop. With 80% of internet users searching and browsing on their mobile devices, if your mobile traffic is low, then you may want to make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices. It’s never been more important for your site to look as good on a mobile device as it does on a desktop. According to Google, 61% of people who visit a mobile site they had trouble accessing will never return to that site again. And 40% of those people will instantly visit a competitor’s site instead.

5. Where is Your Traffic Coming From?

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Alright, enough of these Audience stats, let’s hop over to the Acquisitions tab. Click on overview and BEHOLD! Here you can see where all your traffic is coming from. Again, these results relate back to your marketing efforts. Ideally, you should know where a lot of your traffic is originating from because we can only assume that your marketing plan includes social media, paid ads, search engine optimization, etc. If you’re running ads on Facebook but your traffic coming from Social is low, you may want to re-examine those ads and who your target audience is. The same goes for paid ads. If your organic traffic is down, it could be due to a low search ranking, in which case you need to beef up your SEO.

And this is why the ability to measure results is so important! By measuring your results, it not only allows you to see how many people are viewing your site, but it gives you valuable information that can help direct your marketing efforts.

You also probably noticed there are several other tabs and sub headings in Analytics but if we went through everything, this blog article would be so massively long that it’d break the internet harder than any instagram post ever posted by Kim Kardashian. And let’s face it, we all love the internet, so let’s not do that.

We’ll cover more pieces of Analytics in more depth in upcoming blog articles, but hopefully this has given you a starting point. If you want to learn more about Google Analytics and are looking for an agency to interpret the results and make some recommendations, we’d be happy to help. Simply fill out the form below, and one of the Sayvee team will contact you shortly.

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About the Author

Andrew likes to write. And that's a good thing because he's good at it. He likes Canada, the UK, and of course, pop tarts. …

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