Quality Control with Google Analytics Reports

Article #6 in the Series

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Google Analytics Reports

This is the 6th, and the last article in this series. We have taken you through some of the basic set up practices of getting Google Analytics onto your website to linking in external sources of data (Google Search Console and Google Ads) so that you have a central location to view your website performance data. In our third, fourth and fifth articles in the series we also told you about the most important report in Google Analytics. We will tell you again about that below.

Here is one thing to remember about Google Analytics, if it is happening on your website, Google Analytics probably has a way to track it. Sometimes that requires the addition of enhanced tracking methods such as using Google Tag Manager and recording events.

Our Favorite Google Analytics Report

Click Acquisition - All Traffic - Source / Medium.  This report shows you the Source / Medium of your various traffic sources, such as "google / organic", "google / ppc", "facebook.com / referral", and more. 

Columns in Acquisition and Behavior will provide very valuable information.  The data such as bounce rate, pages per session, and time per session will help you understand how engaged you site visitors are, or another way of stating this, is how well are you providing meaningful content to your visitors.

We are very partial to the Goals columns as it answers the important question of what marketing activities (the Source / Medium) are driving the results (Conversion) that bring value to your business.  Based on this data, you can make informed decisions about where to invest your future marketing budget dollars and also you can make some predictable estimates about what results you can expect if you make these investments.

Geo Location Report

Select Audience - Geo - Location. How local is your brand? How global is your brand? If you consider yourself a local business operating in a small geographic area, but you find 50% or more of your traffic comes from outside your service area, then your content is not well targeted. If you are intending to be a global brand, or a North America-wide brand, but all your traffic is local, then you will not get the market response you want. This report includes the behavioral measures of Bounce Rate, Pages per Session and Avg Session Duration. These are excellent measures of how much visitors, from different geographies, value your content.

Need more granular detail than at the first glance country level reporting? You can click a country in the map or in the results list and see data from a state or provincial level. Another click and it will break down by nearest city.

By Device

Click Audience - Mobile - Overview. This report is falling down our list in importance. There was a time when most websites were experiencing about 30% of their traffic coming from a mobile device and that was a rapidly climbing proportion of the traffic. Now, because of factors well beyond individual markets, it's nearly impossible to find a website with less than 60% of it's visitors on a mobile device.

Web designers are almost exclusively designing sites to be mobile friendly, most often with a responsive website design that adapts the display to the device. (If not, find another developer.) But the important data in this report tell us how users on different devices interact with your website. If you find the Bounce Rate, Pages per Session and Avg Session Duration is drastically different, and declining with screen size, then you have a mobile user experience problem. Given the trends mentioned above, if you have a problem, it's only going to get worse.

Landing Pages Report

Click Behavior - Site Content - Landing Pages. What we love about this report is that it gives you a hit list of pages that are ripe for content improvements. Assuming you want to appeal to your site visitors. You have put money and effort into getting visitors to your site. Now work on engaging them. Higher engagement makes a visitor more likely to interact with your site, more likely to contact you in regard to what products or services you offer.

The Landing pages report shows which pages on your site visitors most often see first. Then those wonderful measures of Bounce Rate, Pages per Session and Avg Session Duration make it obvious if they like what they see, or if they are bouncing back to the search engine results to find a competitors page.