Understanding Website Traffic Through Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free to use tool that allows website owners to track all of the useful metrics of their website. This means that you can gain insight into demographics, content performance, and much, much more. While it all might seem a bit overwhelming at first, the data itself is actually pretty simple to grasp once you get the hang of it.

Let’s take a moment to break down some of the most important sections of your Google Analytic page, and what they mean for your digital marketing and online performance.

Understanding Your Audience

Perhaps the most important metric on Google Analytics is going to be your audience. Here you can view who exactly is engaging with your content. This will allow you to see a few different things regarding your audience.

  • Users
  • New Users
  • Sessions
  • Number of Sessions per User
  • Page Views
  • Page Views per Session
  • Average Duration of Session
  • Bounce Rate

Your audience section gives you deep insight into how your audience is engaging with your new content, and how many return/new users you have. This is pretty straightforward, and a great area to keep an eye on daily.

Understanding Your Demographics

This here is another straightforward tab. This is the breakdown of the age and gender of your web page visitors. This information is taken from the Google accounts of those visiting your page through their browser.

This information might not be crucial for all website owners, but it can be for many. Understanding the specific age and gender demographics that are engaging with your content can help you to target future content towards the demographics which are most strongly represented. This helps with future digital marketing strategies for certain.

Understanding User Interests

This is perhaps one of the most useful sections aside from actual audience metrics. This section showcases user interests based on cookie tracking data that Google collects. Here you will see the interests of your users broken down into three different categories:

  • Affinity Categories: are determined by the most frequently searched items by a user. If a user regularly searches for discount shopping codes, they might be placed in the ‘value shopper’ category. This is broken down very simply, and helps you evaluate the affinities of your users in generalized data.
  • In-Market Segments: The In-market segments sections show you certain services or products that your users are searching for. This is a more specific metric and allows you to view what certain products or services your users are interested in, and which might pertain to your own website’s offerings.
  • Key Life Events: This data is hyper-specific and showcases certain information about your users that could be categorized as ‘key life events’. Such as: ‘If the user recently started university’ or ‘If the user recently bought a house’. This information helps you to determine which of your products or services might help you better target users specifically for their current life situations.

Understanding Devices

The devices section allows you to view how your users are accessing your website via which devices. This section is broken down into two categories:

  • Technology
  • Mobile

The technology tab allows you to view certain information about the devices being used themselves. Such as operating system, screen resolution, and what browser they are using. The mobile section allows you to see how many of your users are viewing your website via mobile device.

This information is important to know because it helps you to better optimize your website for different types of users based on their accessing technology.

Understanding User Geography

This section is pretty self explanatory. This tab allows you to view the geographic locations of your users, and what density of them there are in any given area. In addition, it allows you to view the primary language of your users based on their locations. This helps you to better target your marketing strategies towards areas where you are performing well.

Understanding Acquisition

The acquisition section of your Google Analytics page is the section where you will really begin to understand how you are acquiring new users, and how to keep doing it. This will give you a complete overview of the channels and sources that your new users are coming from. For example:

  • Organic Searches
  • Social
  • Referrals
  • Direct
  • Paid search
  • Email

This will give you an indication towards which of your marketing strategies are most successful. Understanding how people are finding you helps you to double down on those efforts, and perhaps even improve in other areas.

Understanding Real-Time Reports

Real-time reports is another great section to monitor semi-regularly. It will give you a quick look at what is happening on your website at that exact moment. It will show you how many active users are currently on your website, where they are located geographically, how they found your website, and so much more.

This is not a section that you need to monitor constantly, but can still be useful to check in on as it gives you a more personalized look at who your users are at any given moment.

Understanding Events and Conversions

Here you can track another metric in semi-real-time. This section allows you to monitor your current events–such as live ads or campaigns–and see how they are performing every 30 minutes. This allows you to see how many conversions your event lead to, and how those conversions are doing after the fact.

This section helps you get a deep insight into how your marketing campaigns are performing. With this information, you can better develop and target future marketing events and strategies for improved results. This is a super cool section that everyone should be looking at regularly while they have an event or campaign currently live.

Final Thoughts

It would take a far longer article than this to really discuss the deep intricacies of Google Analytics. However, you should by now have at least a decent understanding of what each tab can do for you as a website owner. With the right mindset, and a bit of practice, you can become a wiz at navigating Google Analytics yourself. You will be surprised by the growth you can see when you understand your own analytics!

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