Looking over and managing your business’ website traffic data is so important as a marketer. And that’s why it’s beneficial to really understand Google Analytics and all of the helpful metrics and insight it provides.
So, we’re going to run through 11 simple tips and tricks to help you and your team master Google Analytics and better understand what all of the statistics mean.
#1 Audience locations
Even if you’re a UK based business, you’d be surprised how many visitors you get from other corners of the world. It’s good to keep an eye on this.
You can see in the screenshot below that Ambleglow, a UK based business, gets a lot of traffic from other countries such as the US, South Africa and even as far as Australia.
You can also see behaviour stats for these locations such as bounce rate, pages/sessions and their average session duration. This is all very important data.
#2 User flow charts
In my opinion, this is a very underutilised tool provided by Google Analytics but I use it all the time. I find it so interesting to see what Ambleglow’s visitors do when they visit our website.
I’ve sorted mine by ‘medium’ so that I can see what the source of their visit to our website was whether that be email, social media or organically. In this user flow, we can see what page they started on and where they went after that. It also gives you some top line stats for each interaction. So we can see that 521 people ‘dropped off’ (exited the website) after visiting their 3rd page of our site.
By studying these ‘flows’, you can see what the typical flow of your visitors is as well as which pages are receiving the biggest drop-off. This will help you shape your call to actions on each page and edit pages that aren’t getting as much engagement as others.
#3 Short-term and long-term statistics
By default, Google Analytics displays results from the last 30 days. This is brilliant for studying your most recent pages and publications to see which topics have been thriving. Especially if you’ve released a blog or new page that you’re keen to keep an eye on.
However, it’s also really important to keep an eye on your long-term stats and trends. By extending the graph to span out 3-6 months, or even longer, you can pick up on these trends and you’ll be able to determine pages that are collecting the most and least traffic.
#4 Examine visitor activity
Knowing how many page views each page is receiving is helpful but there are other metrics that Google Analytics reports on that offer so much more insight.
Such as time on site, entrances, bounce rate and % exit. So, what do each of these metrics mean?
Entrances list the total number of visitors who entered your site through a certain page. Bounce rate and exit rate are very similar metrics. Although bounce rate measures the number of visitors who landed on a certain page and then left without visiting any other pages. Whilst % exit counts the number of people who left your website after visiting this same page, but they could have been exploring other pages previously.
Many people that visit your site, have a goal in mind, they’re looking for something in particular. But if you’re offering engaging content then you might just entice them to stay a little longer.
#5 Look at engaged traffic
Knowing how long your visitors are sticking around for is key information that you need to know. Engaged visitors are most likely to stay for more than 1 minute and will usually visit more than one page.
The table below shows you unique visitors and the total number of page views based on the amount of time spent on your site.
Keep an eye on the number of page views compared to the total page views. More often than not, you won’t find as many people on your site for longer periods of time but the people who do stick around visit a lot of pages.
#6 Real-time analytics
This is definitely my favourite feature on offer from Google Analytics. If ever I have a spare 5 minutes, you’ll often find me taking a peek at who’s on our website in real-time and what pages they’re visiting as well as where in the world they are.
#7 Driving traffic from social media
Traffic from social media is usually quite a big one if your business uses social media on a daily basis. Especially if you have a blog, as these are often shared on social media quite largely.
By looking at the most popular landing page, as we have below, visited via social media, you can determine which content is working on these platforms. This will then help you shape future content. Make sure you’re looking at long-term trends as well as the short-term ones.
#8 Goal conversions
Most businesses have a contact form on their website or downloadable resources, and it’s good to monitor the success of these actions. That’s where Goals comes in, learn how to set them up here.
By studying the conversion rates on the goals you set, you can make changes and trial different call to actions, resulting in improved conversions. The best way to do this is by A/B split testing.
#9 Keep an eye on referrals
Referral traffic is such an important metric when looking with your SEO goggles on. Referral traffic is traffic that comes from other sites that are directly linking to your site.
Your referral stats will help you figure out which websites are sending you the most users. You’ll want to look at the engagement of this traffic to see how long the visitors from these sites are sticking around as well as how many other pages they visit.
There are situations where you are building traffic from a website that you did not publish to. Sometimes other blogs may include links to your blog to reference something or they may have linked to a resource on your site that they think would be helpful for their audience. These types of links are great, and it’s a good idea to reach out to that site and say thanks for their backlink support.
#10 Which pages are causing the highest bounce rate?
Lots of people focus on the pages that are achieving the highest number of visitors and by doing this they’re ignoring some important data – bounce rates!
When you come across a page with a high exit percentage you know there’s bound to be a reason why people are not interested in this page and therefore exiting the site.
By knowing which pages are causing the highest exit percentage, you can look at these pages with a critical eye. Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Is the content interesting and up to date?
- Is the page design aesthetically pleasing?
- Does the page include links to other relevant content on our site?
- Is there a call to action?
- If there is, is the call to action clear and is it engaging?
#11 Visitor frequency
It’s good for you to know about your loyal website visitors, those visitors that come back for your content time and time again. And that’s where this feature comes in.
As you can see by Ambleglow’s stats below, most of our sessions come from the single visits, but then as you get to the higher counts of sessions the number goes up again. So I can see that we need to work on retaining more visitors after their initial visit to our site but I can also see that we have lots of loyal visitors too.
Google Analytics offers so much more than just basic page views stats. It’s well worth you spending some time getting used to all of the different stats you can report on, study and then, undoubtedly, improve your website as a result.