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Google Analytics – 5 reports for beginners

Google Analytics is a fantastic bit of software which can provide very detailed stats & information to help you manage your website. It’s completely free to use, but it can at first seem quite difficult to use. However, with a little bit of help you can quickly begin to understanding how it all works – and how you can effectively can use it.

If you don’t already have Google Analytics installed on your website, then visit Google’s Support page to find out how to set up the web tracking code – it’s very easy.

This is a guest post by Brian Tait – a Google Analytics expert and founder of Aillum.com, from where he helps businesses get the most from their online efforts.

Over to you Brian…..

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If you have a website, then you are also hopefully aware of Google Analytics. A bigger hope is that you are using it to good effect to improve the performance of your website, though in reality, you quite probably fall into the more common group of people who have installed the relevant tracking code, but don’t actually use the software on a regular basis.

Google Analytics is a fantastic tool to gain insights into how site users behave on your website. Where they come from, what pages they look at, when they look at those pages, which marketing channels work best, which pages cause people to fill out forms, and so on.

Despite the quality of data it can deliver, at no charge for use, many site owners still don’t take advantage of it. In our experience, there are 2 main reasons for this:

  1. Site owners (or their developers) simply haven’t put the correct (or any!) Analytics tracking code on the website.
  2. Site owners have not known which reports to start with and, as a result, quickly lose motivation to continue using it.

 

Reason two is the most common, which is understandable given the volume of data and options available within the software. It can be very overwhelming to those new to it.

With that in mind, we thought we’d share 5 useful reports to help you get started, to hopefully encourage you to use Google Analytics more.

Mobile Reports
Where: Audience > Mobile > Overview

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The mobile report provides information on whether visitors are viewing your website on a mobile device, tablet device or desktop. As well as details on individual device types (iPhones, Samsung, Nokia etc) these reports also provide information conversion rates per device, bounce rate per device and volume of traffic per device. Ever wondered if you should develop more for mobile or Tablet? Well, now you can find out!

 

Age / Gender of Visitors
Where: Audience > Demographics

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As companies more and more try to refine the audience they are targeting, Google Analytics has recently launched new reports to give more specific information. Using data collected from its own advertising networks, it’s now able to give you sample size data on the age and genders of people looking at your site, as well as common stats (per age and gender) such as bounce rate and conversion rate.

 

Social Media Reports
Where: Acquisition > Social

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Let’s face it. It seems like the whole world is now on Social Media, which puts pressure on companies to make sure they are also there. But how does it actually perform for you? Does it push people to the site? Does it encourage newsletter signups? Which channels perform best (Twitter? Facebook?). The Social Reports will give you a good overview of your social activity is contributing to your website performance, perhaps allowing you to re-prioritise the time allocated to managing it.

 

Landing Page Reports
Where: Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages

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Put simply, there is no point pushing lots of visitors to a web page, if the web page is poor. The landing page report will let you see how each page on your site performs when it is the first page a visitors has looked at. Do they leave straight away? Do they stay on site? Do they go on to contact you? Could you be doing more to improve the experience of that page? The landing page report is one of the single most important reports in Analytics.

 

Goals Reporting
Where: Conversions > Goals

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Goals should be seen as the non-payment version of a transaction. A form submit, a newsletter signup or even a PDF download should all still be classed as a conversion, despite no money changing hands. Google Analytics measures such conversions as “Goals”. Setting up your various site conversion points as Goals will then let you see conversion data in multiple reports across Google Analytics, letting you see which marketing channels convert best, which devices convert best, which regions convert best, and so on.

 

 

There are significantly more reports than this in Google Analytics, but hopefully these 5 give you a bit of motivation to start regularly investigating the others.

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Brian Tait
www.Aillum.com

Aillum provides expert advice on ways to grow traffic and brand awareness from the web, using focused tracking tools (Web Analytics, Heat Mapping etc), and the detailed reports available within various tools such as Google Analytics.

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