Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to learn the analytics behind every interaction someone has with your website, and one of the best tools to do just that is Google Analytics. However, it can be difficult to navigate the sea of information that Google makes available to its users, which leads to less than optimal usage. At the 2019 Digital Summit in Seattle, CDK Global’s lead analyst of Google Analytics Colleen Harris focused on five of the reports Google creates that will best help marketers excel and how to use them.
The Location Report
The first report anyone using Google Analytics should familiarize themselves with is the location report. This does exactly what the name implies: It tells you where your viewers come from. Even organizations and businesses that exist solely online still need to know where their audience comes from so that they can target advertising towards the right area. The data includes everything you need to know about your audience going all the way down to their city.
There are also useful secondary dimensions, extra organizers within your main data set, to choose with this kind of report that includes service provider and source/medium. When service provider is set as a secondary dimension, Google will ping the mobile towers your traffic comes from and provides information on any internet outages that occur. Source/medium is a useful secondary dimension for every type of report because it tells you where your traffic comes from. Do people visit your website via search engine or social media? Are they organic visitors or did you attract them using cost-per-click paid search? All these questions and more are answered through this secondary dimension.
The Technology Report
If you want to learn more about the technological side of the user experience, look no further than the technology report. Harris had two subsets of this report that anyone using Google analytics should use: the browser report and the device report.
In 2019, internet speed is everything, and the browser report will help you ensure your website runs smoothly by indicating the browsers where you should test it. Analytics show that most users bounce, leaving the website after viewing one page, 90 percent more frequently if a website’s loading time is more than five seconds. Even though it doesn’t seem that common anymore, you’d be surprised to see how many people still use Internet Explorer because it’s the only thing that works on their computer. Harris recommends using webpagetest.org to see how fast it loads on different browsers and devices.
This report helps you think more comprehensively about responsive design by providing information about the different devices visitors use to access your website. That way, you can make sure that your website works well on less common devices people may be using like Windows phones, which often suffer from poor user experience.
Device reports are also helpful in determining suspicious visitors to your website that can come from bots or outside marketers. If the device reports start showing devices not sold in your country, like Chinese-only cell phones, it quickly becomes clear that something is up. When you combine this report with the source/medium secondary dimension, you can pretty easily figure out where the abnormality is coming from and take steps to deal with it.
The All Channel Report
For more information on where your website’s visitors are coming from and how they are using the website, the all channel report is the one for you. Here, you can find the all-important bounce rate that executives curious about analytics are always asking about. According to Harris, a 35 to 40 percent bounce rate is the ideal spot. If you see one closer 90 percent, there is a good chance that your site is receiving a lot of bot traffic, and a rate under 10 percent indicates you have an event firing on your website that makes it look like no one is ever leaving.
The all channel report combined with the source/medium secondary dimension to let you know how well your URL tags are preforming. Harris recommends making sure not to use capitalization in any tags and to use underscores instead of spaces or else the numbers may show as performing worse than expected.
The Behavior Flow Report
It has never been easier to analyze viewers’ activity and where you most frequently lose them on the website, and the behavior flow report is where you’d go for just that. Harris said that looking at this is a good way to remind yourself that no matter how much thought developers put into their website, people will still do whatever they want. If there is a large concentration of people dropping off on a specific page, it is worth taking a look at that page to see if you need to spruce it up. The segments in this report let you learn all kinds of interesting data about unbranded traffic, returning users and user funnels.
Finally, Harris comes to the multichannel report, one of the newer reports that Google has started investing in over the past year and a half. This report contains information on how traffic arrives at your website and the touchpoints they go through to get there. When there are more touchpoints, it becomes more difficult to turn searches into conversions, so by using the multichannel report, you can find places where the pathway can be simplified. You can customize this report to explore touchpoints over any timeframe.
Using these five reports, you can improve your organization’s usage of Google Analytics and with it, your website.