Top Tips for Google Analytics Beginners

Google Analytics is a great tool – it’s free, it’s trusted, it’s powerful and it’s incredibly in depth. In fact, you could hire an analyst just to be on top of your Analytics data, and they would have no issue spending hours per day digging through countless tables and cracking down on how people interact with your site. But, for most of us, a rudimentary knowledge is enough, and to be able to arm ourselves with the basic principles is just what we need. So, I want to show you just that.

Following is how you can use Google Analytics to answer some of the biggest questions that come to mind when thinking about measuring online traffic. Let’s list some of the most popular questions:

  • Where is my traffic coming from?
  • What do they do when they get there?
  • What is making them leave?

#1 – Where is my traffic coming from?

Let’s explore this. First up, congrats on gathering the traffic! That’s the goal in the online space – quality is certainly important, but runs on the board are where you need to start. So, you’ve got people on your site, but how did they find you? Do you want to know whether or not your AdWords is generating the bulk of your traffic, or if your Facebook campaign is working, or perhaps if those leaflets you did last week gained any new followers? You want to make your way to Acquisition > Overview.

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Once there, you’ll be presented with an array of information

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You can see the volume of each source, as well as their individual stats such as Bounce Rate and Pages Per Session. This leads me to…

#2 – What do they do when they get there?

Like I said earlier – congrats on getting traffic to your site! But a real business owner would want to know a bit more than that. How do they behave on site? Well, this table can also begin to show you that as well. Click on to the numbers in the Average Session Duration, and then the Pages Per Session column, and explore the figures:

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These numbers will tell you a little bit more about how the traffic behaves.

Have you got a low Average Session Duration, but a high number of Pages/Session? This means people are having a hard time finding what it is they want. Your home page might look good enough to keep them on your site, but they click around at a frantic pace looking for something, only to not find it and leave.

Do you have a particularly high Bounce Rate, but with a high Average Session Duration? This sounds like a one page landing page, or perhaps a website that has people coming to a page rich with content, such that they stay on this page for quite some time, and find what they need and leave. Bounce Rate is high, as they haven’t travelled to elsewhere on your site, but you’ll see that when you scratch beyond the surface, you can understand that it’s not all bad.

For another look at…

#3 – What is making them leave?

So, we’ve got quality traffic through, they’re hanging around, but like everything in love and life – it must all come to an end. And that’s cool, we can’t expect to lock our customers onto our site forever! But if we’re able to see where people are leaving from, we might gain an insight into why, and what their intentions are from there.

Within your Analytics account, you want to navigate to Behaviour > Site Content > Exit Pages.

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This table will tell you from what page people leave your site.

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This info might not seem like a valuable insight straight off the bat, but let’s do my favourite thing – search a little deeper…

Can you see from your site content that time spent on the Exit Page is minimal? Something is wrong with that page – it might load too slow causing people to become impatient and close your site. You might have an automatically playing video causing people to not only follow the same procedure, but to curse your name and never return. You might have a bug on the page which causes the browser to crash. Could be anything, but if you have a high Exit Rate and low time spent on page, I’d be worried.

Do you have links to external sites, such as another blog or to PayPal? In this case, a high Exit Rate might be good, as people are following your desired Conversion Path. You’d have to check to see if indeed people are clicking these links, but in this scenario you can see where a high Exit Rate is desirable.

It all comes down to the little things in Google Analytics, and nothing is as it seems. The numbers are endless, and no one statistic can be evaluated on its own; you need to dig deeper. If you need any help, give us a buzz here at SponsoredLinX, we’d love to chat.