Understanding your audience is pivotal for any business. No matter what industry you’re in.
Google Analytics is one of the best tools you can use for this purpose. With Analytics, you can uncover valuable data about your audience and make alterations to your product to attract more people.
Here is what you need to know to decipher Google Analytics:
The Behaviour tab is all about how your users behave once they actually get to your site. Here, you’ll be able to find information such as the most popular pages of your website, each page’s bounce rate, and how long your users tend to stay on your site before leaving.
With this information, you should be able to determine which pages of your site are the most valuable or popular to your visitors and apply their common characteristics to your other pages.
For example, if your most popular, least-bounced page is an article about Gaelic football, consider other articles that supplement that topic, or even adding media such as images or video to the page to make it even more valuable.
The engagement section helps you understand the length of time users spend on your site pages. Typically, the longer a user spends on your site, the more he is engaged by your media or content.
The main graph is named Sessions. A session is the main foundation for each calculation and visitor. A session is how Analytics identifies engagement on your site. It's the length of time from when a user opens the site and ends when the session expires or the user leaves.
A session starts when a viewer opens your website. A session's length of time is set in the Google Analytics Admin section.
Users is a bit more self-explanatory. A user is counted each time they access your site. If a user opens your site on August 1 and September 1, only one user is counted in this section, because it's only one user not two. Therefore, sessions and users won't normally add up.
One user can have several sessions, but those several sessions only count as one user.
Photo by Edho Pratama on Unsplash
The "Pageviews" count is the aggregate number of times a page is viewed. All pageviews are counted regardless of the number of sessions or if the user is unique.
For instance, if a user opens your site and navigates to a new page, two pageviews are counted. If the user returns to the first page visited, another pageview is counted regardless of the fact that the user is using the same session and viewing the same page twice.
Pages/Session considers the number of sessions and the pages viewed by a user. Pages per session tell you how many pages a user visits. You use this percentage to identify user engagement on your pages. For instance, if you only average one or two pages for each session, you aren't grabbing your users' attention.
Pages/Session also counts repeated pages, so if you have users who return to the same page frequently, the second view of the same page is counted as an additional pageview for the session.
Average Session Duration
This number tells you how long users typically spend on your site. It ties in with your pages/session and bounce rate. If your bounce rate is high, then you probably have a low session duration.
The number on your main Google Analytics is an average, so the total session durations are added up and divided by the total number of sessions. This gives you the average time on your site for each user session.
Bounce rate determines user engagement because it sees if visitors stay on your site or immediately leave.
A bounce happens when a user opens your page and leaves without any engagement. There can be multiple reasons for a user to bounce from a page. If your pages have poor usability or bad site design, users are more likely to bounce from your site. However, some sites have inherently high bounce rates. For instance, if you run a dictionary website, users will open a page, find an answer to their question and bounce. This does not mean your site is not good. One-page websites also have a high bounce rate.
The Audience section provides a lot of information about the people who visit your website, such as their age, gender, location, interests, browsers, and mobile devices. It also gives you data on how people were driven to your website.
This is where you can see your social media referral traffic (that is, which social media platforms drive the most traffic to your website).
The main areas to focus on in the Audience section are Demographics and Geo.
To uncover insights about your online audience, look at both Age and Gender under Demographics, and Location under Geo. These insights can help you create content for the platforms where your audience spends the most time.