Google Analytics is one of the most important tools in your Internet marketing toolbox. It is easy to register for and install on virtually any website (https://analytics.google.com). Out of the hundreds of data points in Google Analytics, here are 8 that you really want to look at regularly.
POWER TIP: At the top right of any report page in Google Analytics, you can click the SHARE icon to have a report sent to you, or anyone you choose, via email in a format and at intervals that you specify. See graphic below.
1. Audience Overview
I like to start here, at the Audience Overview page, for a quick, easy-to-read summary of my overall traffic. This is THE report I have Google automatically send to me weekly. If anything looks strange, I then login to Google Analytics for a closer look.
| Audience | Overview |
2. Users (Formerly “Visitors”)
Users refers to the total number of unique users that visited your website in a given date range.
Sessions refer to visits to your website and interactions with your website by a single user.
4. Understanding Users vs. Sessions
One person may go to Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee multiple times a day. Each time they visit, they are considered one “user” but have created multiple “sessions.” In the world of weddings, a bride may have first visited your website on Monday morning after she clicked a link at your Facebook business page. Later in the day on her train ride home to work, she visits again. She is one user but has created two sessions at your website.
5. Bounce Rate
Bounce Rate is the percentage of users who left your website after viewing a single page and taking no additional action. In other words, they visited one page and left. In most cases, a high bounce rate is a sign that something isn’t quite right at your website. People are not staying there like you want them to.
6. New vs. Returning Users
This is always a good thing to know. How many of your website users are new visitors compared to how many returned after an initial visit?
7. Referring Traffic
Where is your traffic coming from? In Google Analytics these sources are known as Referrals. You will find this under the Acquisition tab.
| Acquisition | All Traffic | Referrals |
8. Most Visited Pages
Knowing what people are doing at your website is extremely valuable, especially if they are not doing what you want them to do. You can find out which pages are being visited most frequently under the Behavior tab. While here, review Exit Pages to see what people are viewing at your website right before they leave.
| Behavior | Site Content | All Pages |
| Behavior | Site Content | Exit Pages |
If you don’t already use Google Analytics, register and install it on your website. You will need a Google Account (firstname.lastname@example.org) to set this up. For help and step-by-step instructions, visit THIS PAGE.
Log in to Google Analytics and visit the Audience Overview page. In the left column, select the Audience tab and then the Overview tab. At the top right, look for and click the Share option. Walk through the set-up to send the Audience Overview report to your email address once a week. I personally prefer to receive it Sundays as a PDF file which is easy to read on my smartphone.
Watch for trends and abruptly changing data. This usually indicates something isn’t right at your website. For example, if your inquiries suddenly drop off, take a quick look at your User and Bounce Rate data.
If you would like to dive deeper into Google Analytics, check out their GOOGLE ANALYTICS ACADEMY.
[GRAPHIC] Configure the Audience Overview report to be sent to you via email automatically each week. This option is available at the top of any report page.