How to use Google Analytics

Posted on Posted in Analytics, How Tos

So you have a website and you know, just KNOW that people are coming to your site – you’re convinced in fact. Unless you know how to use Google Analytics you’re going to find it tough to PROVE that. It is the main difference between just a website and a website that is helping your marketing and ultimately your sales efforts!

So… what’s the secret of How to Use Google Analytics?

Here are the basic things you need to know about Google Analytics to get SOMETHING from it:

  • Audience Overview
  • Acquisition Overview
  • Behaviour Flow

These three areas are literally the key to unlocking the secrets of your website without having to have learned brain surgery! Now let’s take a look at what each of these areas do!

Audience Overview

So the first step on our journey to understand How to use Google Analytics we start with Audience Overview. This gives you a snapshot glance at your users and what they are doing. So let us navigate to AUDIENCE –> Overview from the menu on the left;

Now you’ll see this fancy looking screen:

Let’s take a look at each of these metrics:

  • Sessions: A grouping of things that a user does on site (so you could have 1 user (me) who goes to 4 pages, two now and two tomorrow = 2 sessions)
  • Users: How many people came to your site (within the specified date range)
  • Page Views: How many pages they viewed
  • Pages/Session: How many pages viewed per session (pages views/sessions)
  • Avg. Session Duration: How long they looked at each page (Hours:Minutes:Seconds)
  • Bounce Rate: How many people come, visit a single page then leave – the higher the % the more people ‘bounce’
  • % New Sessions: The percentage (estimated) of NEW sessions vs returning ones

That’s going to give you a great understanding of how your website is doing in general. We know how many people are coming to our site, how many pages they are looking at, how many are new, maybe our marketing is working, but there is no way to know for sure. OR is there.

Acquisition Overview:

Step 2 in How to use Google Analytics – we move into Acquisition or HOW did they get here! Navigate to Acquisition –> Overview from the menu on the left.

You’ll then see this awesome looking screen (I’ve broken this into two sections). Section one is an overview of the data in section two.

Section two;

So what you’ll see here are 5 channels (I have six because I added my own…more on that later). The 5 default channels are:

  • Organic Search: Searches on the internet for your brand/product/service
  • Direct: Direct clicks on the site: typing the full address of the site, clicking on a bookmark
  • Referral: Traffic from other sources (like an affiliate website)
  • Social: People who come from your social media channels
  • Other: *sigh* this can be other paid sources, such as Facebook, in fact in the above example all 90 were from paid social media campaigns that I had made a mistake on when creating the UTM codes (silly Chris)

You’ll notice a 6th channel there: Paid Social – this is one I have created so I can Find Out How to Track your Paid Adverts in Google Analytics – which is a great read (in my opinion).

Behaviour Flow:

This area is absolutely fantastic for learning about what is and isn’t working on your website and is our last step in working out How to use Google Analytics. Navigate to Behaviour –> Behaviour Flow.

You’ll see this lovely screen (which looks ore confusing than it is).

The simplest way to gather data from this screen is to look at the;

  • Starting Pages: This is where people CAME TO your site so / is the home page (the one below is Application Form) – this is also where you’ll be able to see where people come to your LANDING PAGES (Want to know Why Landing Pages are Important <- Click there).
  • The Red Bits at the end: These bits are ‘Drop Offs’ and tell you how many people simply stopped looking at your site and went elsewhere.
  • 1st Interaction: Where users went from Start to the next page
  • 2nd Interaction: Where users go from the 1st interaction

The important thing here is to identify;

  • Places where people leave your site – this might indicate that there is something wrong with the page, from; too much text/not engaging content to the page might actually be broken
  • The user flow from page to page can show you the best route that users take and the pages they go to. This can now DIRECTLY inform your marketing.

From the above example I can see that the following four pages are the top visited pages:

  1. Application Form
  2. Global Recruitment
  3. Qualifications
  4. Interview Dates

Now on the surface, great, however, the Global Recruitment page is a conduit page (it has links to other pages). NOW I know even more I know that people are going to this page and then going onto the other pages: Applications, Qualifications and Interview Dates – I should answer these questions in my marketing AND I should make this ‘journey’ as easy as possible (to get information about those three things).

How to use Google Analytics – Conclusion

Go to your Audience Overview and check how the growth of the site is coming along (visitors, sessions etc). Check your Acquisition Overview to see which channels are bringing in the most users and check your Behaviour Flow to see what those users are looking at (or if you are losing those users)

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