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Google Analytics For Beginners

Introduction

Wondering what visitors are actually doing on your site? What pages are popular? Which are barely seen? What information helps answer registration-related questions? All of this information – and much more – can be found in Google Analytics – if you know where to look.

Google Analytics begins with a short piece of tracking code installed on your site. If your site is Demosphere-powered, the Demosphere Support Team installs the code for you or integrates your already-existing code – so you don’t need to worry about any setup.

Here are some ways to use data from Google Analytics to improve your website’s visitor experience:

google analytics

Getting Started

There are several key areas located on the left side of the Google Analytics page after you log in. We’ll focus on finding value for your website from subsections of the Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion reports. 

While viewing any Google Analytics Report, the option to change the date range is on the top right side. You can look at each month individually and there is the option to select custom time periods. Check the “compare to” box to compare the data with the previous period, year, or a custom date range. 

Audience 

Audience reports provide insights on the characteristics of website visitors. Most importantly, you can use it to create a filter, or “view” of website traffic by region or State. Setting up a filter will remove irrelevant information, such as spam views or visitors from distant states or countries.  

How to set up a Location Specific Segment:

  • Under Audience on the left-hand menu, click + Add Segment
  • The click the red + New Segment button
  • Under “Advanced”, click “Conditions”
  • Set Filter to “Users” and “Include”
  • Choose a desired filter from the drop down, such as Users > Region
  • Then enter the region(s) or State(s) on which you wish to filter
  • Add “or” for multiple regions/states

Google Analytics filter

With the desired location segment selected, click Audience > Users Flow from the left-hand menu for a visual representation of how people explore your website. “/” is the homepage. Hovering over a section (node) will show the page name and more details. The red line shows where users drop-off your site.

User Flow can help discover the preferences of your audience and can help find ways to improve the user experience. Use the report to see the entry point for visitors (it might not be just the homepage), the pages they visit next and the page where they leave the site. Looking at this data can help to identify potential problems. For example, there could be a page you really want visitors to see but user flow might show that people are not easily navigating to it. You can also see which pages visitors seem to favor and decide to change your site navigation so they are easily accessible. 

Acquisition

Google Analytics Acquisition offers more details on how visitors are arriving at your website. Select Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels from the left-hand menu to see the channels, or sources, of how people found your website.

Here are the channels to review and what they mean:

  • Organic Search – visitor came from an unpaid search result on a Search Engine such as Google or Bing
  • Referral Traffic – visitor came to your website from a link to your site accessed from a different website
  • Direct – visitor typed your website domain directly into the web browser 
  • Social – visitors came from your website linked on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc
  • Email – your website was linked in a tracked email – most likely an email newsletter.

Use this data to see if people are landing on your website after clicking on the links in newsletters or social media posts. This can be helpful in determining the type of content that is effective at getting people to visit your website. It can also be useful for monitoring changes in how users are finding your site each month. 

Behavior

Use behavior reports to see how users interact with your website. From the left-hand menu click Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. All Pages can show you which exact pages are most and least popular for visitors.

The following are the terms on this page to review and what they mean: 

  • Pageviews – the number of times the page has been viewed. See your most popular pages. Sort by ascending/descending page views to look at the ones that get the most/least views
  • Avg. time on page – average time users spend viewing a specific page. Use this to learn which pages visitors spend the most time reading and interacting with and find pages that people are not spending any time on. If there’s an important page you want people to view and spend more time on, find ways to optimize that page, such as adding pictures. 
  • Bounce Rate – visitor leaves after viewing; percentage of users that had no interaction with the page. A good bounce rate will vary from site to site. But a high bounce rate can potentially mean that the page quality is low. Adding more items for visitors to engage with can potentially improve the page.

Conversions (optional) 

Conversions reports show how many events occurred during the set time period, such as how many people viewed the registration page or signed up for an email newsletter. 

To access this, from the left-hand menu click Conversions > Goals > Overview. Next, you can set up a page tracking goal. To do this, click Admin > Goals > + New Goal.

An example goal would be to track how many times visitors navigate to the registration page of your website. To setup this goal, choose the “custom” new goal option, give the goal a name/description, and choose the “destination” goal type. Next, enter the URL of your registration page (e.g. “/registration”).

If you’re looking to setup your own conversions, check out this user-friendly, step by step post from Thrive Themes with more ideas for setting up conversion tracking in Google Analytics.

Conversion Goal

Then, use conversions reports to see the total goal completions along with the exact numbers for each individual goal you set up. You can change the date range to identify trends. Finally, “Goals Overview” gives you insight into how well the website is reaching your objectives. 

Conclusion

Reviewing the Google Analytics data on an ongoing basis will help inform decisions about how to optimize your website for both current and potential new members – leading to more registrations and more well-informed members.

Need help getting access to your site’s Analytics data? Contact Demosphere Support for assistance.

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