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Google Analytics is one of the most important tools of online marketing there is today. It goes without saying that this groundbreaking tool has helped defined our understanding of consumer behaviour. For the uninitiated though, Google Analytics vast amount of data can be overwhelming. It can be hard to initially define which numbers are more important than others.

My experience in dealing with Google Analytics comes with several years of communicating with our clients about the info available and what exactly do they want to know. To be specific though, our clients would not ask about specific data on Google Analytics (the charts and numbers are just too much for them to be able to decipher). Instead, they would ask general questions:

  • “What happens when people land on this page?”
  • “Is the new layout design for this particular landing page working?”
  • “We are not getting enough enquiries for this product. Are people actually interested in what we have to offer?”

It is from there that I was able to filter down the five common and most important data, and how you can use it to help you determine the magic question: ‘What does my buyer want?”

Do note that I am listing out categories of data, with each having its own set of sub-data gives even more details.

1. User

Description: Shows how many users are visiting per day, week or month and how many of them actually return back to the site.

The sub data available:

  • Users: Overall number of visitors.
  • New Users: Number of people likely to visit your site the first time.
  • Sessions: Number of visits by visitors overall.
  • Returning Visitors: The rate or percentage of visitors returning to the website.

Find this data under Audience > Overview.

2. Search Results

Description: Shows how your site is performing on Google Search. However, you need to set up your Google Search Console account for this to work.

The sub data available:

  • Impression Shares: How many times your site turns up on Google Search results.
  • Average Ranking: How it ranks on average.
  • Clicks: Number of times users click on your search results.
  • Click Through Rate: Rate of clicks from search appearances.

Find this data under Acquisition > Search Console > Landing Page. This will also allow you to see the top 10 most frequently shown page of Google.

In addition, you can even find out the most common keywords used to by users that leads your website to be listed! This will appear under Acquisition > Search Console > Queries. In fact, this could have been a category on its own. But I decided to put here because it’s still related to search results.

3. Session Retention

Description: Session Retention is not names as such on Google Analytics. It’s just a label I came up with to categorise this set of data; it gives us a clue as to whether or not the visitor shows interest in our website, and at which point do they lose interest and decides to leave.

The sub data available:

  • Bounce Rate: How often do visitors leave your website within seconds after visiting ie they don’t have a good first impression and decided to leave.
  • Duration: How long people spend time on your website ie how long they are browsing through.
  • Exit Rate: Similar to Bounce Rate. However, Exit Rate shows the probability of a visitor leaving a particular page after landing or visiting it whether or not they have shown interest in the content or not.

Find this info under Behaviour > Overview, but for more precise data for each page, go to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages.

4. Acquisition

Description: Acquisition tells us where the visitors are coming from.

The sub data available:

  • Direct: People typing your web address directly into their browser. This could sometimes mean that they have visited the website before and the browser has saved in their browsing history. When they try to search, the search field suggested the website before they even finished.
  • Organic: People searching for keywords relating to your business and visiting your site after it appears on the search results.
  • Social: Acquisition from various social medium. You can also know which social media is actually sending you the most traffic.
  • Referral: Acquisition as a result from another website linking to The Cat People.

Find this info under Acquisition > Overview.

5. Conversion

Description: Conversion tells us how many visitors actually took action that we want them to take. However, you will need to tell Google Analytics what that action is by setting up your Goals.

The sub data available:

  • Goal Completion: Number of visitors meeting your Goals.
  • Goal Conversion Rate: Rate or percentage of visitor meeting your Goals.

Find this info under Conversion > Goals > Overview.

CONCLUSION

The list above is definitely not a hard and fast one. Ultimately it really depends on the business your are doing and what exactly are you monitoring (e-commerce sites for example would have additional data that they need to monitor). However, the data covered above is substantial enough to cover quite a fair bit of info that can help you tweak your site’s potential. Personally for me, the data above has yet to fail on me.

If you are looking to understand more about the data from your website, but you are not sure how to install Google Analytics and how to read it, feel free to drop us a message!

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Armen Rizal Rahman

Founder/Creative Director

Armen has over a decade worth of experience in the creative industry. He is a xennial who prefers PCs over Macs and is both tech savvy and tech phobic. He hates being called the "IT Guy".