Where To Start with Google Analytics

understanding google analytics traffic stats acquisition

Oh Google Analytics, you’re such a confusing looking place. I used to click on it, glance over it and click off again as I didn’t have a clue what I was looking at. But, since I started my marketing job and therefore have to do around nine reports a month, Google and I have become reluctant friends. So, I thought I’d write a little breakdown of the most used phrases and best places to look to make sense of all the figures!

Before I begin with the terms, here’s a few pointers:
One | As a blogger, if your bounce rate is any less than 50%, you’ve probably installed analytics incorrectly or more than once. Don’t be lyin’ to yourself.
Two | Blogger stats will always be higher than analytics, sorry, but your analytics one is correct and blogger is massively inflated.
Three | Stats are just that. They’re just a number. They’re not the end of the world and they’re not something to obsess over. Look at them, understand them, but don’t let them negatively affect you.

Audience -> Overview (your traffic basic stats)
This is the first page that analytics typically loads, you know, the one with the graph and the little boxes. Here’s what’s included on there:
Sessions | Visits – so let’s say someone clicked on your blog and viewed 10 pages, that would be 1 session/visit as only 1 person has been on your website in that time. If they clicked off and clicked back on and viewed 10 more, you would have had 2 sessions/visits.
Users | Basically unique views – the number of individual people (by their IP) who have clicked onto your blog, no matter how many times they visit – within a certain period – it’s all counted as one thing.
Pageviews | The total number of pages visited on your website (ranging from landing on your homepage to clicking through 6 blog posts – repeated pages included)
Pages / Session | What it says on the tin, the average amount of pages someone views per visit.
Av. Session Duration | How long someone spends, on average, per visit.
Bounce Rate | The rate at which someone clicks on your blog and bounces back to the previous page, for example
% New Session | The % of new visits on your blawg compared to returning visits.

Audience -> Geo is good to look at to see where in the world people are viewing your blog from. Technology and Mobile are good sections to look at to see what browser people are viewing on and how many are using a desktop vs mobile or tablet. Behaviour is also good to look at, as it shows the level of interaction on your blog.

Acquisition (where you get your traffic from)
All Traffic -> Source / Medium | This gives you a rundown of the websites that have directed traffic to your site. Typically Google organic (from Google searches, always desirable) and Direct traffic will be at the top somewhere. It’s good to see where your traffic comes from, as it might help you focus on areas what work or need more promotion, such as social media etc.
Search Engine Optimisation | You have to link this to webmaster tools (which is now called Google Search Console), but it shows you what people have searched for to find your blog. Good ol’ keywords. It’s helpful to know!

Behaviour (what people are doing on your blog)
Site Content -> All Pages | Your most viewed pages on your blog. Typically the homepage will be first (which will be seen at a ‘/’), but you should be able to see the pages people read the most on here.

Behaviour -> Site Speed is a good one to keep an eye on, as ideally you want your site to load in under six seconds. If it’s slower than this, work on your image sizes and remove any unnecessary widgets to begin with.

So, there you have it, a little basic breakdown of the sections you should look at on Google Analytics. You can do interesting (to me) things like compare previous months to your current one to see how you’re improving (click on the date at the top right and select ‘compare to’). It’s a tool you just need to mess around with to understand, but it’s not hard to get to grips once you start!

Have you entered my new giveaway to win a 6 month Glossybox subscription?

Helen x
ps. Check out this lovely blog: Living for the Now!

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