If you see the Google Analytics interface for the first time, you may be stunned by the number of charts, buttons, and categories. However, if you take some time to deal with that, you will appreciate the efficiency and user-friendliness of this tool. It should be mentioned that without using Google Analytics (or a similar tool) it is rather difficult to make your website successful as you will be missing out on data that can help you make the website better for your clients. And your competitors surely won’t miss that opportunity.
Study Your Audience
The first thing you need to do is to pay attention to your clients. Who are the people that visit your website? What are they looking for? How do they rate your content? These and other questions need to be answered to help make your website better for them. And Google Analytics has all of the necessary metrics to answer these questions. So you need to know about and consider these metrics.
Audience Overview Metrics
First of all, you need to consider metrics that show your traffic. Read below to find out more about them:
- Sessions – this parameter shows how many times people have browsed your website. The session starts when a user opens the page on your website and ends when he closes it. This means that no matter how many times one person opens your website, each one will be counted as a separate session.
- Users – the parameter shows the number of IP-addresses your website was reached from. No matter how many times your website was reached from a specified website IP address, it still is going to be counted as one user. This parameter allows you to assess the real number of people that have visited your website.
Audience Behaviour Metrics
The next category of metrics that play an important role in your website performance assessment is user behavior metrics. It is important as it shows the efficiency of your marketing on the website. What is the point of attracting thousands of users and waste tons of money on SEO and ads if people leave the website without making any targeted actions (page view, purchase, social action, etc.)?
- Page Views & Page Sessions – this indicator allows you to understand how many times the pages were viewed and how many sessions there are per each page. This allows you to assess the quality of content on the page. Using these metrics, you can answer the question of whether the content is valuable enough to make users come back to it.
- Average Session Duration – you have undoubtedly been in situations when you make a search query and follow the link on the search results page and see that the content on the page doesn’t fit your needs. So this parameter allows you to define whether the content on the page fits your clients. For example, if you have placed an article on the page which requires at least 4-5 minutes to be read and the average session duration for the page is less than a minute, you will know that most of the users do not manage to read the article till the end. This tells you that it should be edited.
- Bounce rate – this is the metric that surprisingly should be as low as possible. It shows the number of users that have left your website right after they entered it without making any useful actions (clicking any links, etc.). These metrics should be used to understand whether you are using the right keywords on the page and whether your page content meets consumers’ needs.
Know Your Clients – Audience Analysis
Once you provide any kind of the service no matter whether it is a business in a real sector or a blog, you should know as much as possible about your client. Who is he? Where is he from? What is his age? All of this data can be used to make your website a better place for them. For example, if you find out that most of your visitors are males 22-28 years old from the USA, you can use this information by placing ads about products that are the most popular among them.
- Audience Demographic – this is where you can find data on the user’s age. Age of the client is essential data for marketing as the needs and expectations of the youth differ slightly from the needs and expectations of the retired.
- Audience Geo – you surely need to know where your visitors are from, this is how you can find what information is more valuable for them, what services they want to know more about and many other things.
Traffic Source – Where Did Your Audience Come From?
Along with finding out details about your audience you also should be concerned with the place they came to your site from. We are talking about the traffic source. Why do you need that? To assess your marketing efforts and the most efficient traffic sources. Google Analytics has enhanced metrics implemented to figure that out. So here are the traffic sources below:
- Organic search – these metrics show the number of users that have made a search query and followed the link to your website on the search results page. It allows you to assess your SEO efforts – how good are you at choosing and placing keywords and making relevant content.
- Email – if you have people subscribed to your newsletter, this insight shows the number of subscribers that follow the link you place in the letter. Though when it comes to email marketing, the Google Analytics metrics are rather primitive. However, this parameter still matters.
- Direct – this is the number of users that have entered your website by typing your website address in the browser field. This shows the number of people that look directly for your website. You should also refer to the organic search when you consider these metrics as some people may enter your website domain name into the search field in order to enter your website via the search results page.
- Social – these metrics show people that have entered your website from social networks. If you show some activity on social networks like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you really need to consider this parameter.
- Paid search – if you have launched an ad campaign, this parameter will show you the number of users that have made a click on an ad. Though for evaluating your ad campaign results it is better to use the data in your Google Adwords (or other ads network you are working with) personal profile.
- Referral – the number of users that have visited your website from other websites by following the link placed there. This parameter began to play a larger role in recent years. It helps you to assess efforts on your link profile building.
- Other – this parameter shows you the number of users that have come from undefined traffic sources.
Behavior – The Most Successful Pages
The Behaviour section will let you understand the rank of the pages by user activity. This section can be used by you as a webmaster to assess which pages (and the content) is the most successful and popular among your visitors.
Google Analytics is the base tool used to analyze incoming data on your website. Although it is an advanced tool for making insights, you should consider the fact that it is a base product and there are also many other types of specialized analytical tools on the market. For example, there are specialized tools for online stores, blogs, corporate websites, etc.
However, if you are a beginner, starting with Google Analytics will be a great idea for you.