3 key Google Analytics reports you can set up today to sell more — Google Analytics review
Google Analytics (GA) is the tool that many web analysts normally use to collect, store, and get reports of data about how users interact with their website. This product is part of the Google Marketing Platform, which also includes Google Tag Manager (specialized tool for collecting data) and Google Data studio (specialized tool for reporting). GA works very well when integrated with these 2 other products, as it was created mainly for storing data. However, it can be used on its own and still perform the 3 actions: collect, store and report web usage data. In fact, if your website has low traffic volume or low complexity, you might want to start collecting data only with GA and implement other products as you scale up.
GA has 5 sections where all the reports are located. These are:
- Real-time reports: What is happening on the website right now. Really good for testing new implementations.
- Audience reports: Who are my users?: Demographic information, interests, geographic location, device type, etc.
- Acquisition Reports: Where are my users coming from? Which are my traffic sources? (Search engines, referred from other websites, referred from social media, etc.)
- Behavior reports: What actions are my users taking? Which pages are they seeing first (landing pages) and last (exit pages) How many pages are they seeing per session? How long are they staying on each of them?
- Conversion reports: What are the results of my users’ actions? Have I completed a certain goal I set? How are users advancing down my sales funnel?
The overview tab of each of these 5 sections offers a nice dashboard, where you can find much of the information you need for managing your website on a day-to-day basis. There are, however, 3 specific and simple reports that you can start using today to better understand your site and sell more:
1. Source/Medium report: This is probably one of the reports that I most use on GA, since it shows all traffic Sources (Think the specific site where your traffic is coming from. For example Google, Facebook, etc.) and Mediums (Type of traffic that you are receiving). There are many different mediums, such as Organic search (traffic coming from search engines), Direct (Untagged traffic), Referral (coming from other websites), Paid search (coming from advertisement), Social media, and Affiliates.
The Source/Medium report above belongs to Google’s Merchandise store. Almost 60% of their traffic is (direct)/(none), meaning that users directly typed the URL to get there, or that the referral source could not be identified (here’s an article explaining this in detail, in case you want to drill down further). 20% of their traffic is (Google)/(Organic), or users who came in from Google’s search results. There’s also around 5% of people coming from (Google)/cpc (Calls per click), or paid advertising on Google.
Be aware that this report not only helps you to see sources of your traffic but also lets you see how people coming from those sources engaged with your site (Behavior metrics) and converted (Conversion metrics). As an example, we can see that Google/Organic represents almost 20% of the traffic to the site, but only 8% of the conversions can be directly attributed to it.
2. Interest reports: I really like interest reports in the Audience section since they let you understand your customers better. I’ve found many times that targeting by interests can be more powerful than doing so by demographic information or geographical location. In these reports, you’ll find Affinity Categories (people who like and engage with your products also like and engage with other products online) and In-market segments (what are my customers also buying online?).
On the image above from Google’s Merchandise store, we can see that Movie Lovers and Technophiles are categories that the people who engage with Google’s products normally like. Why not adjusting and optimizing their messaging for such users? You’ll also see that their customers tend to be in the Advertising & Marketing Services and Women’s apparel segments; which other products can they specifically create and target to these segments?
3. All pages report: This report is one of the main sources for understanding user behavior. On it, you’ll find all the engagement metrics about your pages: Pageviews (how many times was that page viewed?), Average time on page (A rough estimation of how long users stayed on that page), Bounce rate (what is the proportion of people that came to that specific page first, did not interact further and just left?), and Exit rate (Proportion of people for which that page was the last one they visited on the site).
It’s important to notice that many of these metrics are estimations, and should not, therefore, be considered 100% adjusted to reality (the best example is the Avg time on page metric, whose method of calculation you can see in detail here). The power of GA does not rely on knowing the exact number of people who visited a page, but rather on seeing patterns and proportions among the different metrics. For example, we can see that Google’s merchandise store has a Bounce Rate of 40%; is that a proportion we are ok with? Could we optimize further by using a different messaging or content? How about 23% of people leaving from the Basket page. Is there some action we can implement to reduce this number and help customers finish their purchases?
As you can see, there are many reports offered by GA that will help us make better decisions about our website. The most important thing to remember is to always use a QIA (Question, Information, Action) approach in the following way:
- Question: Always come to GA with a problem, a question you need to ask. For example, your team suggests that creating a mobile-friendly version of the site might be a good investment.
- Information: Identify the data you’ll need to gather to answer your question. In our example, we’d like to get the proportion of users who come to our site using a mobile device. We can even start thinking about where we could get this information from. In this case, it would be on the Audience reports, Mobile.
- Action: Try to define a threshold and a specific action. For example, if 30% of our traffic is coming from mobile users, we’ll commit to creating a mobile-friendly version.
Now that you have defined your QIA, you can easily find the data you need and answer your question. Without this approach, you’ll be wandering on GA, just noticing some possible optimization opportunities, but not engaging with any of them.
If you are interested in learning more about using GA to power your website, make sure to visit CXL’s Growth Marketing program. I’ve found that it has the perfect mix of technical and strategical knowledge you need to build awesome products. You can also listen to our podcast El Antipodcast: El cliente NO tiene la razon on all streaming platforms; we normally explain Growth Marketing strategies and talk with referents in the industry.