Google Analytics explained

How do people discover your website? How long do they stay? Does the user experience differ depending on what device your visitors are using?

Not sure? Don’t worry, you’re in the right place.

In order to optimise your online presence, you need to know your audience and what they’re looking for. Once you know, it will help you to address your visitor’s needs, shape your content and ensure that search engines give you the ranking you deserve.

While there are a number of tools available to analyse your web traffic, Google Analytics is one of the most popular, and arguably one of the most powerful applications available today.

So, let’s dive in…

Knowing who your visitors are and how they are consuming your content can be extremely useful when making business decisions, and the audience section of Google analytics offers plenty of useful insights.

Traffic: Back to basics

Sessions: How many visits do you get? This represents the overall traffic on your website. It counts every time someone browsed your site, so you may have several sessions from the same person.

Users: How many people visited at least once? The difference between Sessions and Users is the amount of returning visits. Users represent the number of people who visited your website at least once. The more returning visitors you have, the more engaged your audience are.

Audience: What are they doing?

Once you have a clear idea of how many people are visiting your website, you can begin to understand what they are actually doing whilst they are on your site. This is an area that Google pays close attention to, as audience behaviour helps to judge the quality of your websites content.

Let’s take a look at the following examples:

Page Views: Quite literally the number of times a page has been viewed. This is a basic headcount, so if a page is viewed 100 times, it could be from 100 users or just handful. However, it can be a great measure of popularity for different pages, allowing for comparisons.

Page Sessions: Sessions are a period of browsing activity, regardless of length. A session can contain multiple page views, events and transactions, it’s basically all the actions a user takes on your site. A user can have multiple sessions, which can occur on the same day or over several days or even months! This is the most person focussed metric you can see on Google Analytics and one that sales funnels often use.

Average Session Duration: How long are you keeping your visitors interested? If your visitors stay on your website for a while, it suggests that your content is relevant to them – another great indicator for Google.

Bounce Rate: The lower the better. Your bounce rate shows you what percentage of your visitors left your website without interacting with it – meaning they didn’t click anywhere. If someone finds you on Google then bounces upon arrival to your page then you’re probably not showing the right information or using the right keywords. The lower your bounce rates, the more likely it is that your content will be viewed as valuable by a search engine.

Audience: Who are they?

If you want to effectively communicate with your audience, you need to know who they are.

Your writing may adapt depending on who you are addressing and locating your audience will help you focus your marketing. \

There are two critical metrics which can help with this:

• Audience Demographic: This section will provide you with the ages of your visitors and their gender.

• Audience Geo: Not sure where your audience are from? The geo feature provides you with both the language and location of your visitors.

Audience: How did they find you?

Acquisition: Now that you know where your visitors are from it’s time to see how they found you. Maybe your witty social posts attracting them? Or perhaps your newsletter brings in the most traffic? The acquisition section of Google Analytics removes all the guesswork. 

Organic search: The Googlers. Organic search data represents the number of people who found you through search engines. If this number is high then you’re probably using the correct keywords! If not, it may be worth doing some keyword research. The feature also uncovers some of the keywords visitors have used to find your website, always an interesting insight!
Direct: Direct traffic can be made up of any number of traffic sources. Most commonly this is a user visiting your website directly or via a bookmark. However, it also includes traffic coming from word documents and instant messenger services where a referrer is not passed, hence Google Analytics is not able to determine the source of the traffic.

Referral: Referral traffic breaks down all the people who came from other websites that are linking to you.

Social: Your followers. How much of your traffic is coming through Facebook? Is Twitter more popular? Check your social traffic to find out.

Email: This insight shows you how many visitors are coming from your emails.

Campaign: Campaign is the name of your Google AdWords or custom campaign, the traffic linked to those campaigns will be listed here.  

Behaviour: What do they find interesting?

The behaviour category is at the core of Google Analytics reporting. The reports show what’s happening on each URL and how people flow through your website. Allowing you to see where people go, how much time they spend on pages, bounce rate, the percentage of people who leave after seeing just one page, the number of pages per visit, and so on. This can be extremely useful as it allows you to accurately learn what topics are the most popular and which sections of your website require a little extra effort in order to improve SEO.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Google Analytics’ offerings, we highly recommend that you explore the features, you may be surprised by what you discover. 

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