Google Analytics: How to Evaluate Behavior Reports

Google Analytics’ Behavior reports show which content resonates with your users by Page Path. Page Path typically is the destination path after your domain ie. “/” as homepage, “/contact-us,” “services.” Behavior reports identify pages with the most traffic (page views) and applies it to adjacent metrics.

These Behavior reports can guide you towards better content strategy while reviewing time spent, pages per session, and assisted conversions.

Questions Google Analytics’ Behavior reports can answer…

· What pages influence conversions? What pages influence exits?

· How long are users engaged with the content?

· If used as landing pages, are there high bounce rates?

· What is the distribution of traffic across the pages?

· What are the top 10 pages for new users before they convert?

Google Analytics’ Behavior reports are the only set of reports that switches the main metric from users/sessions to page views. Since Google Analytics breaks the content down to the page-level, it makes sense to use page views.

Sessions is essentially “Unique Page Views” where the page was seen at least once per session.


Behavior Flow

Behavior Flow visualizes the pathing from starting pages of interest. You can view how users typically navigate through the website, along with how many people are exiting the page.


Alternative: Create a custom goal funnel, defining each step of interest towards a conversion. You can easily see this laid out with the Funnel Visualization under Conversions – by setting up a goal beforehand.

The Behavior Flow reports can reveal pages that are not obvious in intended paths. However, the new insights can improve strategy for new website navigation.


Site Content

All Pages report normally breaks down the pages by the page path after the website domain. If it is a subdomain, it will list out the entire URL including the domain ie www.analytics.google.com.

See a few Page Path examples below:

URL: www.google.com/ as “/”

URL: www.analytics.google.com as “analytics.google.com

URL: www.google.com/support as “/support”

Otherwise, you can also choose to view by Page Title if you prefer.

Site Content reports order the pages by traffic volumes to show which content is the most popular. You can then re-sort the pages by the additional metrics shown.

What are the use cases for the additional metrics?

  • Bounce rates indicate if the page correlated with the user’s intent when clicking on the landing page from an external referring source. If a user doesn’t interact with the page, the visit will count as a bounce. Another possibility is that the page loads too slow, causing users to leave immediately. Also available in Site Speed reports. (High bounce rates >80% are not ideal)
  • Longer time spent shows that users stay engaged with the content. Consistent engagement, in turn, informs Google that it is a reliable source to rank higher in search results.

One metric that stands out here is Page Value.

How is Page Value calculated?

When an order is made in one session, Google Analytics assigns the proportion for all the revenue the page influenced. This is only calculated if you track revenue on your website.

Page Value Formula =

(Total Transaction Revenue + Goal Value)

(# of Unique Page Views)

Obviously, the conversion funnel pages have the highest Page Values, but it's interesting to see page values for non-funnel pages.

Exit Pages indicate which pages users left the site from. This provides insight to change content or strategy to retain the user on pages with the most exits.


Site Speed

As mentioned in the Site Content section, Site Speed can be the root cause of high bounce rates. However, they show insight to overall page performance in terms of functionality.

Site Speed shows individual pages (similar the All Pages syntax) by Average page Load Time (in seconds). Google Analytics also shows helpful hyperlinks under the PageSpeed Suggestions ​column for insight into possible causes for longer loading times.

A popup modal appears with both mobile and desktop views to give you a score with improvement tips. Google’s Page Speed analyzer may not give real-time results, but still useful in guiding the quality checks.


Site Search

With a heavy-content website, site search helps users navigate much more easily. For simpler sites, Site Search may indicate user difficulty in finding targeted information.

The Usage report breaks down sessions with and without site search usage. With a simple website in the screenshot below, the data shows that users can easily navigate to content without the site search. There is less dependence on a help tool, so a great sign for the test data below.

Search Terms and Search Pages track which keywords are used in your website’s search bar.


How do we evaluate if the search bar was helpful?

  • Are they leading to less Pages/Session than users without Site Search Usage?
  • If your site generates orders, are there conversions associated with the Visits with Site Search?

Again, recall how your experience should be based on search destinations from the keywords. That will indicate how many pages/sessions is ideal!


Events

Events are customized tracking with pre-defined dimensions where you can organize your data however you’d like in one section. You can create your own hierarchy using the 4 main dimensions: Event Category, Event Action, Event Label, and Event Value.

Google Analytics typically tracks the simple types of activity like pages and browser/device information, but events are far more specific scenarios.

The possibilities are endless!

​Events range from button clicks, form submissions, custom events and more. They measure any type of action across the site that are more complex than just a simple page.

Use Cases for Events:

  1. There are multiple touchpoints to enter the funnel ie. Sign Up button on the homepage vs Sign Up button on other pages
  2. Users have various options to choose from a dropdown menu, modal, and more
  3. Track all conversion funnel steps by actual action or information submitted, not page view
  • Add to Cart
  • Selected a Shipping Option
  • Removed an Item from Cart
  • Entered the product page through the nav menu button
  • Entered email in the form placed on top of the page
  • Product Click on Category Gridwall

Recommended event tracking setup: The best way to set up the hierarchy is to set the Category by button type or action type. Then, follow it with Action as “button click” or “action completed.” Lastly, the page the interaction was made on as the Label.

You can dynamically set these values depending on similar variables your target buttons have. This way, there’s no need for tags and triggers for every single element.

For example, if there's a form submission both on top and bottom of the page, label the event parameters as such.

1. Category: nav menu contact (have syntax that’s searchable in case you need to filter)

2. Action: button click

3. Label: {{Page Path}} (pulls in the variable dynamically)

The fourth parameter "Value" is optional to categorize. It’s unnecessary for the event example above.

Events Flow visualizes pathing of the interactions you've set, similar to the Behavior Flow. You'll see what type of interactions there were before a user entered the conversion funnel and after!

The drop-down menu allows you to show all the dimensions or just one at a time with the Events Flow visualizations. It's best to start off with Category, then drill down to more detail if needed when the data isn't showing much clarity.

​Alternative: Create segments identifying the events you’re interested in – in the order you expect users to do. Each incremental segment will include another subsequent step, so you can see the numbers all at once – your very own conversion funnel. This is manual, but can be very flexible in terms of capturing the actions that aren’t automatically tracked with conversion funnels and goal funnels in Google Analytics.

Summary

Behavior reports is the most granular you can drill down to with Google Analytics. The insights derived from Behavior reports guides content strategy and micro-level actions specific to pages. Events usually are at the page-level, so utilizing page reports are great for comparison to see where users complete actions of interest.