Google Analytics offers a variety of reports with data but if you don’t know what to look for, the reports available might seem pretty overwhelming. In addition, you’ll immediately notice there are A LOT of reports to look at and not all of them will directly apply to your business.
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Instead of focusing on what reports are most important to look at, I prefer to focus on what questions I am interested in seeing answered about my website. So as a marketer or someone who runs an online business, I suggest asking yourself:
- Who are my website visitors?
- Where are my website visitors coming from?
- Where are they hanging out on my website?
- And what actions do they take once they get there?
Here’s where you can answer this information:
The reports in Google Analytics are all labeled under four main categories: Audience, Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions.
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Who are my website visitors?
Your audience reports can tell you a lot about your website visitors including their geographic location, what type of browser they use, if they are on a mobile phone or desktop, a new or returning visitor and even what personal interests they have.
This information is useful because if 50% of your website visitors are coming from mobile and your website is not mobile friendly, you’ve got a big problem! Knowing this data helps you cater your website to meet the needs of your visitors and improve their overall experience on your website.
Where are my website visitors coming from?
Your acquisition reports break down where majority of your website traffic comes from so you know if they were referred to your site through social media, an email, another website, etc. Have you ever wondered if that guest blog post you wrote actually sent you any traffic? Or if Facebook or Twitter refers more visitors to your site? All of this info can be found in the acquisition reports.
These reports can help you make an informed decision about what channels are most effective for your business and also what channels you may want to put a little more work into improving.
Where are my website visitors hanging out on my website?
Under your behavior reports and then landing pages report, you will be able to see where your visitors are entering your website. If visitors mainly enter from the index page, then they may have your site bookmarked or found you through a Google Search. However, if one particular page gets a lot of traffic, this tells you that this topic is more popular amongst your visitors and you may want to offer more information about it.
What actions do my website visitors take once they get to my site?
Your behavior and conversion reports will tell you a lot about what’s working on your website and what’s not. But until you go through the process of setting up site goals (which can get more advanced) I would focus again on the behavior reports.
Driving traffic to your website is important but if your visitors leave immediately because they aren’t finding the right information or if they are forced to search between multiple pages without finding what they need, you’re going to have a much harder time trying to get your website visitors to take any action. Pay attention to things like bounce rate, time on page, and even exit pages to start to get a feel for where your website is potentially steering away your customers.
Google Analytics offers a vast amount of reports but it’s useless information unless you know how or why it applies to your website. Fully understanding all the information and getting past the learning curve might take some time at first. However, once you start to noticing trends and can fully analyze where improvements can be made on your website, you’ll be able to greatly improve your website traffic and also increase your profits.