Five Essential Google Analytics Reports To Understand Your Website Traffic
Marketers in this digital era believe their website to be their goldmine of prospects and revenue. Each prospective client landing on your website has an intention and Google Analytics helps you learn about it.
There are a few other skills more critical for any marketer today than an in-depth understanding of Google Analytics.
Google Analytics helps businesses track the footfall on their website and measure key metrics that reveal important sales trends and steer the wheel of marketing efforts.
Digital marketers use reports and dashboards to gain insights into their marketing results and course correct wherever needed.
However, Google Analytics dumps a whole lot of data to its users with little visualization capacity. The information it gives can be overwhelming for new marketers.
And so, the tool is hard for anyone to master. However, there are five reports all businesses can run, to earn insights into their marketing results and measure conversions through their website.
These reports will help you zero in on critical KPIs to measure how efficiently your website is working for your business.
Let’s explore these five key Google Analytics reports.
Any marketer’s initial priority is to learn as much as they can about their target audience and audience reports are a way to do that. If you want to understand the demographics, buying behavior, and interests of your audience, this is a report that can help you.
Businesses can improve their marketing performance by learning about what matters to their audience and how they react to any form of marketing. Fine-tune your marketing efforts for your target audience by classifying them on the basis of parameters such as location, demographics, age, interests, etc.
Subsequently, businesses can run unique marketing campaigns for each classified audience. Your website’s Google Analytics profile contains nine sections under Audience-
● Overview – This section shows the top-level view of users and their sessions. Here, you can view information about the number of users who created sessions, pageviews, pages per session, and so on.
● Demographics – View your audience data classified by age and gender in this section. Create targeted ads for each classification to increase conversion.
● Interests – Learn what your visitors are interested in through this section. Three categories called Affinity category, in-market segment, and others help you learn about users and their position in the purchase funnel.
● Geo – This section helps you gain awareness about the language and location of your visitors. Target ads specific to geographies and cultures after learning where your majority of visitors come from.
● Behavior – Learn about audience behavior in terms of how often they come to your website, how frequently they repeat sessions, how long they stay, and so on.
● Technology – If you want to know more about the operating system, browser, and ISP your audiences use, this is the section you want to see. This information allows businesses to choose the right platform to roll out software solutions.
● Mobile – Decide whether or not you should optimize for mobile by looking at the number of visitors that come in through desktop, mobile, and tablet in this section.
● Custom – Define your own parameters, variables, and so on to create a custom report that further fine-tunes the information presented to you.
● Users flow – Learn about the path your visitors follow to your website based on their location, browser, language, mobile device, and so on with this section of the Audience report.
Each of these sections provides a table chart and a sessions graph showing the data for all users.
How we can use Audience Data to Improve Traffic
Add strength and relevance to your marketing strategy by learning about your audience. As marketers get more in tune with who their audience is, where they are located, what their interests are and so on, they are in a better position to target ads after segmenting their visitors in logical groups.
Through these advertisements run for a specific segment of visitors, marketers can achieve a certain level of personalization in their message. The relevance of ads will help businesses bring in new traffic.
Mobile and Desktop Conversion Rates
Mobile users outpace and outnumber desktop users today. As a consequence, businesses need to offer better if not equally good experiences on mobile phones and tablets than they do for desktops.
Already have a mobile-first website strategy? Then, you need to check if your strategy is working and delivering the results you need.
A simple report in the Audience section in Google Analytics helps you learn about mobile and tablet conversions in contrast with a desktop. This report can help you shape your website strategy for mobile.
Go to the last option ‘Mobile’ in the Audience section. In the Overview category, you see a wealth of information when goal tracking or e-commerce tracking are enabled.
Begin by selecting a conversion goal in the Conversions section. Low metrics of Pages/Session and Average Session Duration are signs of a poor mobile experience.
Another metric you might want to look at is the Conversion Rate Number for each device. A lower conversion rate for mobile and tablet compared with desktop would be your second warning sign to ramp up your marketing efforts for mobile.
Traffic Channels Report
It is worth knowing for marketers which marketing channels are directing traffic to their website. Are people clicking on your ads? Are they following your blog posts? Are they discovering you through social?
These are some places that act as channels to direct traffic to your website.
To learn about the most effective ones for your business, use the Traffic Acquisition Report (Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels). The report comes with eight default channels, all of which help you understand the path your prospects are following to reach you.
The eight default traffic channels in Google Analytics are- organic search, direct search, paid search, display advertising, referral, social, email, and others. This report helps marketers measure results of the various channels they employ to attract visitors to their website.
In case a few channels are not bringing the desired results and site traffic to you, you can always alter your strategy and course correct.
For instance, you have invested in a certain marketing campaign. It is now important for you that it brings an ROI in terms of traffic, engagement, and conversions. The easy way to measure the ROI of any marketing campaign is to check the related information in the Traffic Channel report.
If your paid search channel shows a high bounce rate, low average session duration, and low conversion rate, it indicates there are areas worth improving on your landing page.
This report helps you check the ROI on various other marketing campaigns so you can make tweaks and turns wherever necessary.
All Pages Report
The All Pages report (Behavior > Site Content > All Pages) helps you measure which content is working like a charm for your business.
Each week, you can see your top performing content along with the revenue each page generates. Through this report, you can gain an insightful understanding of the content on your website and take the chance to tweak any ineffective content.
Data is displayed for each page in terms of key metrics such as page views, unique page views (deduplication of pageviews), average time spent on each page, entrances (number of times a user entered through this page), bounce rate (percentage of entrances where the user did not interact with the website any further), exit percentage (pageviews that were the final ones in a session), and page value.
Pages with high bounce rates and exit rates can be clearly seen and further reviewed for improvements. This report allows you to see in clear light which pages are bringing in conversions and which are failing to do so.
While this amount of information from a single report might overwhelm you, like all reports, you can always view this data in an easy-to-consume pie or bar chart. The All Pages report can work as your guiding light for content strategy.
Every successful marketing campaign needs an AdWords ad. How these AdWords are performing is important to make the most out of advertisements. The AdWords report consolidates the post-click data where users have landed on your website after clicking on an AdWords ad.
This report is your window to learn about your users’ Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion cycle. This report will allow you to learn about the most successful AdWords campaigns and the effectiveness of each keyword you bid on.
The AdWords report will allow you to quickly act and improve the success rate of your AdWords ads to increase conversion and traffic through your website.
Google Analytics Reports are a marketer’s best pals. They come with a wealth of information marketing teams can utilize to improve the quality and conversion of their marketing efforts.
Bonus: Improving Content Marketing Using Audience & Behaviour Data
If you’re goal is to tailor your content marketing strategy to the visitors on your site, then it should be fairly obvious that Google Analytics’ audience feature is where you should go first.
It is, however, more difficult to know which data is most important, and how to react to what is in front of you.
Don’t neglect your Audience Overview
Your audience overview should always be your first port of call. I know so many marketers who, while technically competent, decide that they want ultra-specific data first, and therefore ignore the bigger picture of their site.
Knowing how many page views, pages per session, and session duration per visitor at a glance is going to improve the specificity of your marketing strategy.
If, for example, you see that your session duration is, on average, quite low, you can alter your blog content accordingly, in order to entice people to stay longer. Some easy ways of doing this are to begin publishing long-form blog content on your site, that has practical, industry specific advice.
While this may not result in direct sales, it will boost the amount of time visitors stay on your page, and will give your brand a boost in terms of credibility in your niche.
You can also employ “open loops” in your content. Here, you might say something like “Later in this guide, we’ll be showing you exactly how to increase your site’s traffic”.
What you’ve done here is introduce an idea that will excite your reader, and created anticipation for content revealed later in your article.
Such techniques are great ways to immediately improve the overall quality of your site, which will indirectly influence the kind of visitors and traffic you get.
Using Demographics to shape your site’s voice
On Google Analytics, demographics are broadly divided between age and gender. You’d be shocked as to how knowing these two simple factors can shape how you approach building your site.
Let’s use OriGym’s site as an example:
For an education provider of personal trainer courses, our demographics quite accurately reflect our student base. Our most popular age range is 25+, and we do tend to qualify more women than we do men.
Now, you may be thinking, great! Your website visitors match up with your target market. And yes: to a certain extent, this is good news.
However, we also can use this data to target new markets. We know, for example, that while women aged 25+ tend to study fitness courses more than any other demographic, that the age range for women interested in getting a personal trainer is actually 35+.
In our experience, people who have personal trainers (or have had them in the past) are more interested in becoming personal trainers themselves. Therefore, we might be interested in targeting the women over the age of 35 demographic through Facebook targeted ads, and through developing content around the theme of “re-careering”.
Having done this, Google Analytics can then show you how many new users you are getting within a certain demographic (women over the age of 35) over a specified time0period. We can therefore directly track how successful our efforts have been.
Knowing your shoulder markets – what do your visitors like?
The “interests” subcategory is a really handy and quick way to plan out content ideas for future marketing purposes.
In short, it allows you to see what your visitors are interested in outside of your specific niche, and how they behave once you’re on your site.
If, therefore, you run an e-commerce site that sells mountain climbing gear, and you identify that your visitors are also interested in travel websites, you can strategically produce blog content and special offers targeted around the theme of travel.
This may look something like, “The top 20 travel destinations for mountain climbers”. Here, you’ve combined your niche, with the interests of your regular visitors, and will therefore drive more traffic to your website and sales pages.,
New and Returning Visitors: How you should treat them differently
Under the “Behaviour” subcategory in audience, you can select “New vs. Returning”. This will give you data regarding the total number of new and returning visitors to your site, as well as how those users react with your site and average session duration between new users and returning users.
So, for example, if you see that returning visitors are staying on your site much longer than new visitors, you should develop some content that immediately entices visitors once they land on your page.
Here, you must address the wide constellation of Google Analytics data: you can do this by looking at what pages new visitors are landing on (landing pages), and how you can improve the content of those pages to get them to stay on your site.
Knowing the data regarding new and returning visitors will also help you plan “free giveaway offers” and email signups. New visitors should be targeted with such offers, as research has found when people are asked to make a small commitment at first, they are more likely to commit to a larger request later.
So, asking new users for their email, and offering them something free or a discount in return, will prime your new visitors for later purchases, and commitments to your brand. It will also convert new users into return visitors, thus bumping up your monthly average traffic.
As well as having an in-depth knowledge of who is visiting your site, it also benefits your marketing strategy to know how visitors interact with your content online.
By combining these two data streams, you can adapt your approach to publishing online content in order to direct users to your value pages.
Authority Sculpting using Content Drilldown and Landing Pages Data
Content Drilldown shows you your most popular pages, while landing pages tells you which pages visitors tend to enter your sites through. These two pieces of data are invaluable in terms of capitalising on using your blog and website content to drive more viewers to your pages of value.
For example, if you have a blog post that outperforms all of the sales pages and information pages regarding your services, you should be using the authority of this blog post to drive traffic to sections of your website that make a difference to your business.
This works two ways. First, internal links to your site are a great way to get people to stay on your site for longer. Second, if you have a high authority page with a tonne of backlinks, linking to a sales page will improve the rankings of the latter.
Now, when people search for your services in google, you can rise above your competitors in the page rankings, without using paid ads. This process is what SEO experts refer to as Authority Sculpting.
Remember, organic traffic is the golden ticket to website success and better Google rankings, so you want to capitalise when you have a page with some hard-earned links. Google Analytics will help you identify these pages.
You can use the site search feature in a similar way to how you would use the “interests” subcategory to discover future content. Site Search Overview basically does what it says on the tin, in that it tells you exactly what visitors are searching for on your site (providing you have a custom search bar) and the trending searches, if there are any correlations to be had.
In marketing terms, this is a direct insight into the kind of content your visitors want to see. If, for example, a page you produced quickly, a few years ago, is among the highest ranked searches, you should be refurbishing this content and re-promoting it. This is because your actual content is substandard, but the topic of the content is highly valuable.
Or, let’s say there is a highly-ranked search term for which you have not written any content. If this is the case, Google Analytics has just provided you with a post-idea that should have a degree of guaranteed success.
More than anything else, the key mistake new marketers and start-ups make is to install Google Analytics to their site, and then not to react to the data shown.
It’s all fine and well knowing what people are doing on your site, but in order to expand your business and focus your marketing strategy, you should be responding to the data presented to you.
The reports mentioned in this article are a good starting point for anyone who wants to use Google Analytics to gain better insights into their marketing results and improve thereupon. Up your ante with website marketing by using actionable insights from Google Analytics Reports.