Google Analytics: Top 4 Google Analytics Reports You Need to Know
Google Analytics is the most accessible web analytics tool out there. It's extremely robust for being free.
There’s a mixture of small businesses all the way to corporations that have adopted Google Analytics. It’s easy to implement and presents a holistic view of website performance. GA provides enough information to apply for every day marketing strategies.
I’ll lead you through the top Google Analytics reports where you’ll get the most value out-of-the-box.
1. Acquisition Channels (Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels)
Acquisition reports categorizes your website visitors into marketing channels that drove them to your page. Know where your users come from, so you can get optimize all your marketing efforts.
Google Analytics gives the channel credit based on the Last Touch Channel methodology. The last channel that directed the user to your site gets a point.
For instance... if the visitor saw one of your Google search ads and reaches your page, the Last Touch Channel model will give a point to Google for that user. However, if the user comes back for a conversion after clicking through a Facebook post, the Last Touch Channel model gives a point to Social for the conversion. Google now becomes the First Touch Channel in the path.
If you want to know other channels that influenced a visitor, a conversion, or any other behavior, use the Attribution Model Comparison Tool under Conversions. You can play around with different models to understand other influential marketing channels.
Acquisition Channels report pinpoints marketing channels that can be further optimized, so you can have a balanced distribution of traffic across digital. Usually, Direct is #1 in proportion to the rest, but it depends on your website's purpose.
It's a great sign if Direct is averaging around 50% with the other 50% evenly distributed across other channels. Though, it can range from 30-70%. With 30% in the Direct Channel, you may look to enhance the site experience more to get repeat visitors. As for 70%, there are opportunities to increase new visitors through other marketing channels ie Social, Paid Advertising, and more.
Neither is bad, but it just leads to different marketing tactics.
Continue to compare all the other channels and relate the insights to your business goals to distinguish opportunities.
Want more information about Acquisition reports? See the in-depth guide here.
2. Behavior Pages (Behavior > Site Content > All Pages)
Behavior reports dive into the page-level activity for all users, which allows you to investigate what type of content and interactions perform well. The reports does base metrics off of page views, instead of the typical users/sessions. Views are the number of times a page loads onto the screen, so can be seen multiple times by one visitor.
Pages outlines the distribution of traffic and lets you know at a high-level where your users are navigating. The homepage usually gets the most views, but aside from that, you can figure out what other pages are compelling. This gives you a general idea of your user group’s intentions – whether they use the site primarily for research or directly buy products and services.
From there, you can dive in deeper into a customer flow, but that’s included in the entire Behavior reports guidebook here.
3. Real-Time (Real-Time > Overview)
Real-time reports are obviously helpful for immediate decision-making. Content teams benefit nicely to understand the “right-now” traffic to react with additional posts and maintain momentum.
However, it’s the most useful for ensuring analytics tracking is right. We can watch the code fire in the back-end, but real-time validates that the data is accurate immediately. It’ll show the current traffic and the high-level reports as to where it’s being attributed to.
This can quickly shine light on some tagging issues before the data gets too contaminated. Its value is usually undermined, so now you know what it’s for!
I know, briefly went through Real-Time reports, but here's the complete guide here.
4. Goals (Conversions > Goals > Overview)
Set these up as soon as possible.
They’re extremely useful in understanding steps in your user journey. Doesn’t matter what your site is, you can at least see how many people are successfully using your site to its intended purpose.
Ecommerce is pretty obvious with the cart, checkout, to confirmation. For content, maybe set up goals according to certain pages and entering in an email for ongoing subscription. It’s versatile, but clearly showcases the success value of your site.
Check out the complete guide to Conversion reports here.
Want to learn more about Google Analytics? Here are a couple of our online courses by our CEO that you can check out!
Ultimate Guide to Start Up Your Web Analytics (Google Analytics)
How to be a Data-Driven Digital Marketer (with Google Analytics)
Contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for more personalized training and consulting! We can help kickstart AND optimize your Google Analytics 1-on-1.