Google Analytics Basics

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1 Google Analytics Basics

2 Contents Google Analytics: An Introduction...3 Google Analytics Features... 3 Google Analytics Interface... Changing the Date Range... 8 Graphs... 9 Put Stats into Context Analysing Trends...11 Understanding Metrics Visits, Visitors and Page Views New Vs Returning Visits, Unique Visitors & Unique Page Views Traffic Sources Keywords Report Content Reports Google Analytics Goals Goal Funnels Overview Google Analytics: An Introduction Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimising web usage. (Definition: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/web_analytics) Google Analytics is an analytics tool, hosted by Google, which provides you with insight into your website activity, providing you with information to allow you to make informed decisions on your website performance, design and conversion. Websites and web activity can be accurately measured to provide much greater insight about your site. It allows you to answer questions such as: Is my site content working/ Interesting? Are customers dropping out from my checkout? If so where are they going? Is my online marketing working? Do PPC (Pay per Click) visits convert more than visits? Google Analytics Features Some of the basic features included in Google Analytics include: Map Overlay - helps you understand how to best target campaigns by geographic region. AdWords Integration - which makes it easy to track Pay per click AdWords campaigns and allows you to use Google Analytics from your AdWords interface. Internal Site Search - allows you to track how people use the search box on your site. This information can be used to set search synonyms on the site, or to feed back product requests to the Buying Team. Funnel Visualisation - so that you can optimise your checkout and conversion click-paths (ie make your checkout easier to use to stop you losing sales). There are many more features included, which we will cover as we work through this training. 3

3 Google Analytics Interface The following section reviews the Google Analytics interface to provide a clearer overview and a better understanding of how to find and analyse the reports effectively. The Google Analytics screen is set out as follows: On logging into Google Analytics, you will see the following screen: Click on View Report to access your analytics reports. This will take you to your Dashboard which provides you with a high level overview of the last months stats: It is a good idea to use the Dashboard to give you a quick overview of the important stats or website KPIs that you need to know/ keep up to date with on a regular basis This link takes you to the Analytics Settings page, for an overview of all your Analytics accounts and profiles. From there, you can navigate to the Profile Settings page, where you can view your tracking code, and create goals and funnels. 2. You can also navigate to any account using this pull-down menu. 3. The Settings page is different from the Analytics Settings page. Here, you can set the address associated to your account, your account language, and your notifications settings. 4. The My Account link takes you to a page listing all your Google Accounts if there is more than one. 5

4 5. Google Analytics Help Center. 6. Click to log out 6 Google Analytics has over 80 reports to help you gauge your site s performance -- whether by usage metrics, return visit numbers, or time on page. Below is a list of reports that are available - although as Analytics is continually releasing new features and reports, this list changes and grows and these reports may now be available via a slightly different looking navigation menu. 7. Visitors This section provides information on visitor interaction with your site, the type of visitors, and information about how they are viewing your site. 8. Traffic Sources Find out how different offline or online sources sent traffic to your site. View which sources are driving the most traffic to your site and spot trends from the provided graphs and charts. You can now also view limited Webmaster tools data about search queries searched for in Google which result in your site being returned amongst the search results but which may not result in someone clicking through to your site. 9. Content These reports are all about the pages in your site and how visitors interacted with each one. Use the data here to find time on page, landing and exit page information, and a navigation summary for pages. Another free Google product, Website Optimizer, has been useful for advertisers looking to increase conversions by testing different versions of their content. You can learn more about it here. 10. Goals If you ve set goals for your Analytics account, then you should see data in these reports. 11. Ecommerce 12. Custom reports. 13. Settings - Advanced Segments and Click on any of these help resources to get information on the specific report you re viewing, tips on how to interpret and use the information for your campaign, or learn what other people s common questions are. 15. Select from this pull-down menu to jump to another Analytics account. 16. Apply the advanced segment you created to a report and compare it side-byside to other graphs. 17. Select a date range. 18. Graph your report by day, week, month, or hour (where available). 19. The selected date range, graph by view, advanced segment or metric is viewed as a graph here. 20. Get at-a-glance views of your account s key metrics here. 21. Add or delete report snapshot modules to your dashboard. To add a module, go to your desired report and click Add to dashboard at the top of your report. To delete one, click the X on the upper right-hand corner of every module in your Dashboard report. 7

5 Changing the Date Range By default, the past month s stats can be seen. However should you wish to look at a different time range: Click on the calendar tab and click on the start and end date, or you can type in the date range into the Date Range Box. Alternatively by clicking on the Timeline tab, you can access a re-sizable date slider to cover any range of dates, allowing you to see traffic trends quickly and easily. You can also compare date ranges to allow you to ascertain if there have been any significant differences in traffic levels across comparable dates. When using the Graphs Most reports also allow you to Graph By set time periods. You will see the Graph By Tabs on the top right of most of the graphs: Additionally on some reports, this will be expanded to allow you to see hourly reporting, for example on the Bounce Rate report: Rolling over graphs will provide you with additional pop-up statistics about the graph you are currently viewing: Timeline to set comparison dates, check the Compare to Past box and you will see two sliders instead of one. Set the dates you wish to compare using the sliders. By default graphs will show only one graph line. However if you wish to compare more than one metric on the one graph, clicking on the Visits Tab (circled above) will provide additional metric options, allowing you to create multi-line graphs. If you set comparison dates, this will be applied to every report you view thereafter until you un-check the Compare to Past box. 8 9

6 Put Stats into Context When analysing your traffic, avoid focusing on just a single metric as it often placed into greater context before sense can be made of it. For example the page views result by itself isn t useful because you don t know what the number really means. In addition one visitor can view multiple pages and therefore perform multiple page views. However when you consider page views alongside other metrics, then it starts to become more useful. Analysing Trends Identifying trends can be a useful method in further contextualising your website stats. It is important though to bear in mind that some trends may be weekly or seasonal, so ensure that you familiarise yourself with typical website stats and weekly, monthly and seasonal trends to ensure that any difference in trends you are looking at are not just typical seasonal variations. The following chart clearly shows typical weekly visitor trends, and also seasonal trends. Now compare the visitor trends with the page view trends for the same time period, (by clicking on the visitors tab (circled) and choosing to compare the two metrics. BOUNCE RATE: The percentage of people who enter a page and then immediately exits/ click the back button without looking any further. This trend now shows that there was a disproportionate increase in page views on a few occasions and would therefore give reason for further investigation

7 Understanding Metrics Visits, Visitors and Page Views Page views are recorded every time a web page loads up correctly (remember the earlier section- if the page fails to load correctly and Google Analytics Javascript doesn t load, then no page view can be recorded). In addition if a user refreshes or re-loads as a page, this will be counted as an additional page view. Page views are a very different metrics to a visit, since one visit can result in multiple page views. To help make this better understood, if someone comes to your site and views the home page, then the Web Only Offers page, then the home page again, and then leaves your site - the total page views for the visit is 3. Whilst this all occurred during just one visit. A visitor is a uniquely identified user of your website. As discussed, when a visitor comes to your site their browser is issued with a cookie. The visitor cookie records a random, unique visitor ID and also records a time stamp of the users first visit. The random visitor ID and the time stamp are combined to create a unique ID for that visitor. So to recap, a visitor can visit a site multiple times, and during each visit can conduct multiple page views. The visitor metric therefore tends to be smaller than the visits metric, and the visits metrics tends to be smaller than the page views metric. The following diagram helps break this down: The Pageviews metric can be found in the Visitors Overview and in the Content section reports. Most of the other reports show Pages Viewed per Visit instead of Pageviews. It is important to note that most other reports in GA show Pages Viewed per Visit instead of Page views. A visit (also known as a session), is the period of interaction between your website and the users browser. In the case of Google Analytics, if a user closes their browser or window, or doesn t actively use their browser for a period of 30 minutes or more (let s say they go on lunch without closing their Internet Explorer), then this will end the visit or session. What is important to note however, is that if that person returns from lunch after the 30 minutes, and continues on where they left off- i.e. clicking about on your website in the browser window they have open, then this will start a new session or visit- and the person will have this registered as their second visit

8 New Vs Returning Visits, Unique Visitors & Unique Page Views As well as having visits, visitors and page views, GA also records unique visits, unique visitors and unique page views. A unique page view represents the number of visits during which that page was viewed -whether one or more times. In other words, if a visitor views page A three times during one visit, Google Analytics will count this as three page views and one unique page view. Unique Pageviews is only found in the Content section. A unique visitor is a visitor who has visited your website only once during the defined time period you are looking at (as identified by the visitor cookie). If you want to identify the number of unique visitors or users of your website over a period, the Absolute Unique Visitors report counts each visitor during your selected date range only once, thereby allowing you to ascertain the number of absolute unique users of your website. The New vs. Returning report classifies each visit as coming from either a new visitor or a returning visitor. So when someone visits your site for the first time, the visit is categorised as Visit from a new visitor. If the person has browsed your website before, the visit is categorised as Visit from a returning visitor. If your website has more new visitors then your website is successful at driving traffic. However if you have a higher level of returning visitors, then your site is engaging enough to ensure that visitors return to the site on a regular basis. Traffic Sources Traffics sources show you where on the internet your website traffic comes from. This also makes it possible to separate and compare these traffic sources or channels against one another and against other metrics (such as sales), to show which source sends the best quality traffic. Direct traffic occurs when a user accesses your site by typing the URL or web address directly into their browser. This also includes those people who have Bookmarked your web address. Search Engine traffic indicates any visitors who have clicked on search results on any search engine results page (Google/ Bing/ Yahoo). Search Engine traffic includes both paid and organic search. Referring Sites are any sites that send traffic to your site. These could be banner ads or links featured on blogs, affiliates, or any site that links to your site. Note: You can sometime see referrals from Google. This is usually referrals from Google groups posts/google Images/static pages on other Google sites. The All Traffic Sources report is particularly helpful because you can identify your top performing sources, regardless of whether they are search engines or sites. However as already shown in an earlier section, just looking at traffic levels alone will not provide you with a great deal of information, as a source which drives a large amount of traffic may indeed result in poor conversion. Some indicators of poor quality traffic include: high bounce rate, low sales conversion, low total conversion rate of all goals, high exit rates, unrelated/ non-sensical keywords

9 The Content by Title report lists the web pages that received traffic in order of the highest number of page views- however in this report the page TITLES are visibleso that you know the actual page name that was viewed rather than just the URL, therefore it can be a little easier to interpret. The Content Drilldown report groups pages according to directory. You can click on a directory to see the pages in the directory. NB - Directories are top level navigation / categories under which other sub categories lie. Keywords Report The keywords that people are using to find your site can offer a wealth of information on the effectiveness of your campaigns. Keywords which result in high bounce rates can be seen as ineffective and an indicator that the keyword used is not reflective of your product/ the landing page is not relevant enough in meeting user expectations. Content Reports There are three main content reports, each of which organises the data slightly differently. However all of the content reports are useful at helping us understand how the majority of users browse your site, what paths they take, what they look at etc. The Top Content report lists the web pages that received traffic in order of the highest amount of page views, and is useful in helping us to identify the most popular pages on the site- or the pages which most people visiting the site look at during their visit. The pages are indicated by their actual URLs in this report, with the / meaning your Home Page. 16 The Top Landing Pages report lists all of the pages through which people entered your site. You can use this report to monitor the number of bounces and the bounce rate for each landing page, a good indicator of page relevance and effectiveness. The more relevant the page, the less likely a visitor will be to bounce. Google Analytics Goals A goal is just that- a goal, an activity or an interaction that you want a user to achieve on your website. Typically this can be that you want the user to contact you, to make a purchase, to register/ sign up or to book an appointment. How these goals are initially set up can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of your Google Analytics reporting and decision making- for example if the defined goals are not actually aligned with what your head office goals/ business objectives for the website are. There are three ways in which you can define a goal in GA: A URL Destination goal is a page that visitors see once they have completed an activity. For an account sign-up, this might be the Thank You for signing up page. For a purchase, this might be the receipt page. A URL Destination goal triggers a conversion when a visitor views the page you ve specified. A Time on Site goal is a time threshold that you define. When a visitor spends more or less time on your site than the threshold you specify, a conversion is triggered. 17

10 A Pages per Visit goal allows you to define a pages viewed threshold. When a visitor views more pages --or fewer pages --than the threshold you ve set, a conversion is triggered. You can see total conversions and conversion rates for each of your goals in your reports. Typically because each of your goals are so different, the Total Goal Conversions and Total Goal Conversion Rate figures can be very misleading. For example, you may have a sale set up as a conversion on an ecommerce site, and also an form submission on a contact us page set up as a goal. Both of these goals you will want to monitor, however in regards to the business objectives, it is the sale goal that is the most important. It is more likely that users of your site (unless they are having site issues) will be completing more sale goals than contact us goals- therefore the sale conversion rate should be much higher. BUT if you look at the total Goal Conversion rate, the Contact us goal will substantially lower this figure, as it is not a main goal/ aim of your website- therefore making it look less successful than it actually is. It is therefore recommended that you look at goal conversions for each of your defined goals separately. You can get information on setting up goals from Google Analytics help section but if you are not sure, ask your web developer for assistance. Goal Funnels For each URL Destination goal that you define, you can also define a funnel. A funnel is the set of steps, or pages that you expect visitors to visit on their way to completing the conversion. A checkout process is a good example of a funnel. And the page where the visitor enters credit card information is an example of one of the funnel steps. The goal page or sales confirmation/ thank you page signals the end of the activity and completion of the goal. The funnel steps are the pages that visitors encounter on their way to the goal. 18 Why Define Funnels? Defining a funnel is valuable because it allows you to see where visitors enter and drop out the conversion process. For example, if you notice that many visitors never go further than the Enter address details page, you should investigate a page re-design- or perhaps the inclusion of additional information to try to encourage the sale. In addition knowing which pages in the process cause drop-outs can allow you to eliminate these issues and any bottlenecks to increase the efficiency of the conversion path and increase conversion rates. If you define a funnel for a goal, Google Analytics populates the Funnel Visualization report, which allows you to see where people enter the funnels and where they leave, or abandon. This report also graphically details how many people continue on at each of the individually defined steps of the funnel. The Funnel Visualisation report is in the Goals section and you can choose which goal funnel to view from the drop down menu. Overview Understanding what users are doing and not doing on your site can allow you to make decisions about how you might want to change your website. At the very least it also helps you understand whether or not those new potential customers are finding your site if they search for accommodation providers in your area (keywords reports show what they have searched for to find you). Your website is a huge opportunity for you to get in front of a new audience- and the more insight that you can get about these individuals, the more you will be able to ensure that your website meets their needs and their expectations. 19

11 Developed for NITB by Ambition Digital

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