Reading Your Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a very powerful tool, but it is vast. This was the hardest video to create because my tendency is to go into too much detail. This video shows an introduction to Google Analytics to explain how it works, how you can see where your traffic is coming from, and what pages are most popular.

Key Terms, dimensions and metrics:

  • Sessions: the amount of times a user had consecutive activity on your website.
  • Page Views: The amount of pages viewed in total.
  • Users: This would be more simply explained as “unique visitors” because while your users may be 1000, your sessions might be 1200, meaning there are some users who visited the site twice or even three times counting more “sessions”, even though they were the same person.
  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of visits to a single page without a consecutive page visit. This number might be high for something like a resource download page, but you would want it to be lower for a conversion page, and entrance paths, like the homepage.
  • Avg. Session Duration: The amount of time your visitors spent on your site per session.
  • Pages / Session: the average number of pages viewed during a session. Repeated views of a single page are counted. If people are browsing your website, you want this number to be high.
  • Segmenting: showing two layers of data in the same report. For example, if you wanted to see the difference in behavior of New vs Returning visitors, you would click “Add Segment” and only check those two, then see the color coded report for your dimensions and metrics.
  • Channels: Using the channels, you can segment your data by what type of visitor came to your website. By default there is:
    • Organic (searched for something)
    • Direct (typed in the URL, OR there is no other data to explain the visit)
    • Referrer (Sessions that came from another site)
    • Social (Social network sources)
  • Behavior: How users are interacting with your site content. The drill-down for content can be most easily viewed by these dimensions:
    • Behavior Flow: A visual guide to where people go once they visit the site and where they drop off.
    • All Pages: Pages sorted by how many times they’re viewed.
    • Landing Pages: Where visitors are entering your website.
    • Exit Pages: Where people are exiting your site. Consider trying to decrease the exit rate of the highest ranking page to keep visitors from abandoning your website.

This is by no means a comprehensive guide, it is, in fact, just scratching the surface, but I hope it helps you to get started with Google Analytics. The most important thing is to be collecting data so that you can make observations based on visitor behavior. Make sure you’ve setup your google analytics account and it’s collecting data.

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