Google Analytics is one of the best FREE tools for your website. It tracks a huge amount of gold dust data that is invaluable for your site and marketing strategy. Here at Ricemedia, it’s one of our favourite tools, and a tool that you should be using whether your site is e-commerce, knowledge-based or service driven as there are plenty of Google Analytics Features that you can use from the get-go. You can create a free account with Google and get yourself up and running within minutes. So if you don’t already use Google Analytics, then I strongly suggest that you get started.
Google Analytics is transitioning from Universal Analytics to GA4 from 2023. If you don’t know about the latest Google Analytics Features in GA4, our guide covers everything you need to know so you make a smooth transition from UA to GA4.
1. Traffic Reporting
Google Analytics is essentially a traffic reporter. The basic level reporting informs you of how many people visit your website every day and where from. The data also allows you to track particular trends to see which pages get more traffic at certain times than others. This can can influence your marketing decisions going forward and also dictate which content you look to add or alter in future.
Understanding Each Channel or Source of Traffic
Traffic comes from various sources and we have helpfully broken each of them down for you.
Direct: Accounts for users who access your website directly from typing your website URL into the address bar.
Display:This accounts for traffic that has accessed the site via a display advertising campaign which links back to your website.
Email: Traffic that has access the site via a link within an email campaign.
Organic: This accounts for all the users who access your website from searching in a search engine like Google.
Referral: Traffic which has accessed your website via a link on a different website. One website ‘referring’ traffic to another.
Social: Accounts for traffic which accessed your site from a link on a social profile or a social post.
Paid: Traffic which has accessed your site via clicking on a paid advertising like an advert appearing on a Google Search Results Page.
Other: This is traffic which does not meet any of the above criteria.
2. E-Commerce Tracking
E-commerce tracking is essential for e-commerce brands to have enabled within Google Analytics. It allows you to not only track all of your transactions and revenue but also allows you to track what traffic source the transactions came from. For example, you can track how many transactions Organic Traffic produced within a certain time frame.
This allows you to understand which source of traffic performs the best and can help you focus on which channels need improving too.
It also allows you to track and cross reference your revenue with how much money you are spending on each traffic source. For example, you would need to know how much revenue Paid Traffic is bringing in, so that you can ensure you are creating a high enough return on investment.
3. Landing Pages
If you’re using Google Analytics, you are able to see a landing page report showing specific statistics for the different pages each individual visitor has landed on. These metrics are a great way to measure these statistics, as it allows you to see if the user has landed on a specific page found the page relevant to what they were searching for. This then allows you to make changes to your pages – you can make them more relevant for the users who land on them from the Search Results.
There are a range of metrics that you can compare such as:
Bounce rate: The percentage of people who enter the website on the landing page and then leave without visiting another web page – This roughly highlights the number of people who didn’t find what they were looking for who may have pressed the back button on their browsers or exited the site.
Pages Per Session: The number of pages each visitor visits on average after landing on the web page – compare this metric with other landing pages to see if they are performing better or worse than average.
Avg. Session Duration: The average time a visitor spends on the website after landing on a certain web page – again this metric should be compared to the other landing pages to determine how it’s performing.
Goal / E-commerce Conversion Rate: If goal tracking or e-commerce tracking is setup correctly then you can see the most valuable metric of all based off each landing page – again this should be compared the average shown at the top to see if it’s better or worse than usual.
4. Audience Reports For Knowing and Understanding Your Users
Understanding your audience composition in terms of gender, age, and interests enables you to understand the kinds of creative content you need to develop, the kinds of media buys you should make and the kinds of audiences you need to develop for marketing and re-marketing campaigns.
This section allows you to learn who is accessing and viewing your website. Again, this feature allows you to define your audience and define your marketing strategy too. All of these metrics can play a big part on how you would market your website and what tactics to use, whether it be social media or paid adverts.
Age – This section will split your traffic into age groups of 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64 and 65+. It then tells you how many users in each age group there was, how many were new users, bounce rate, transactions and revenue occurred.
If you are an e-commerce brand this can be essential as it will show you (if you have eCommerce tracking set up) what age range converts the best and buys from your website.
Gender – This splits your traffic into Male & Female and again shows you the same metrics that the age section shows. Again this can help you define your audience even more.
Affinity Categories – a specific user who may not have searched for your product or service but they may have a natural liking or attraction to a category as exhibited by their online patterns. This can help when using re-marketing, to target users who may not have searched directly for your product or service but could be interested if you show them an ad.
In Market Segments – This is composed of users who are actively searching and comparing your product or service. Users in this audience have indicated that they are actively ‘in- market’ for a specific category like ‘Autos & Vehicles’. There is a long list of segments available within Google.
Language – The language section in Audience allows you to identify what languages people are viewing your website in. Again this can help identify a more defined audience for your products or services.
Location – This one again is pretty straight forward. This tracks the location of every user on the site. It allows you to view by country, city, continent and subcontinent. Again like the majority of the audience section, this allows you to define your audience. You can see exactly where your users are coming from in the world, allowing you target specific locations in your marketing strategies.
New vs. Returning – This tracks all the sessions on the site and splits them into whether they are a new user who hasn’t visited the site previously or a returning visitor who has visited the site previously. In this section you can also view how much revenue and how many transactions each user type has had.
Frequency & Recency – This section tracks frequent a user views the site. So essentially how many times a user has visited the site.
Engagement – The engagement section looks at the length of time the user was engaged on the website for and clusters the session duration into sections like 0 – 10 Seconds, 11 – 30 seconds and so on.
Browser & OS – This section looks at what browser the users on your site are using so whether they are using Chrome, Safari and Firefox just to name a few. This is great for looking at the technical side of your website as from this report you can track whether a certain web browser is out performing another. This can indicate issues and errors with certain browsers too, some browser will be low purely because they are less popular but it’s always great to check that your site loads properly and quickly on all popular browsers
Network – This identifies which service provider the users on your site are on.
Devices – This section is brilliant to use when looking into usability of your site for mobile users as this identifies which device the users were on when on your website. It splits the report down into each device for example Apple iPhone or Apple iPhone 7. This allows you to identify which devices are performing well and which aren’t, so allows yourself to identify if there could be some issues for certain devices showing your website.
5. Flow Visualisation
Flow visualisation gives you a complete view on every step your visitors have taken when exploring your website. This report is essentially an overview of the user journey from entry to exit and also includes backtracks. With this you can understand how users are engaging with content on your site and identify places where you’re losing users. With this information, you can improve pages on your site.
There are actually several reports that visualise user flows in Google Analytics. This displays exactly how visitors went from one event or page to the next one. The report puts an emphasis on the channel versus the content. For example, you could segment the traffic that just arrives from Facebook and evaluate the patterns of traffic. You can also isolate keywords to understand their patterns.
In conclusion to my points above there is no reason what to so ever that you should not be using Google Analytics, after all – it’s free! I think that sells itself, doesn’t it?
Our entire team is are experts with Google Analytics and can use it boost traffic to your site through SEO and PPC. This can save your business time learning it yourself or training a staff member in-house which is why you should hire a digital marketing agency. If you want to get your marketing strategy in order and drive some invaluable traffic to your site then please get in touch.