Every online business wants to drive more traffic to its website, but boosting traffic rates alone isn’t enough to increase conversions and close more sales. To fine-tune your marketing efforts and make your website work harder for your business, you need to know not only how many people are visiting but also where they come from and what they do once they land on your site. Google Analytics is there to help, with a complete set of tools for analyzing visitor behavior and using that data to drive higher qualified visitors to your website.
What Is Google Analytics?
Offered (of course) by Google, Google Analytics is the internet’s most widely used web analytics tool. With both free and premium options, Google Analytics allows users to track visitor behavior in detail.
Your Google Analytics dashboard includes an extensive collection of tools for collecting specific information on your site’s traffic, and most of these are contained within the Acquisition Report.
Inside the Acquisition Report
Accessed through the menu on the left sidebar of your Google Analytics dashboard, the Acquisition Overview report features 10 separate reporting sections. Each section details a different aspect of your website’s traffic, with statistics on each traffic source, the number of visits to each page, bounce rates and conversions. Taken together, the data collected in the Acquisition report allows you to identify poorly performing areas of your website as well as the marketing efforts that are likely to attract better qualified visitors.
Channels: Your Traffic Sources
A key part of the Acquisition Overview report is the Channels feature, which identifies the separate sources for all the traffic that ends up on your site. Possible channels include:
- Organic search - refers to visitors who arrive at your site via a keyword search through a search engine, such as Google or Bing.
- Paid search - tracks visitors who arrive at your site through paid advertising on Google or Bing search engines.
- Direct - which includes those who come directly to your website, either by typing in its address or through a browser bookmark.
- Referral - includes all visitors who arrive at your site by clicking a link on another website.
- Social - counts all visitors who come to the site from a social network.
- Other - gathers visitor data from other sources that you can specify, such as custom campaigns, one-time events or unique promotions.
To find out more about traffic from a particular channel, click on one of the channels mentioned above. The channel specific report includes both graphs and numbers and shows the top landing pages driving traffic that channel.
Along with the sources and amount of traffic your site receives, Google Analytics also dives deep into other key metrics.
How Are Users Navigating Your Site?
The Acquisition report offers a detailed picture of what visitors do once they reach your site. Here is a list of the stats found in this report that can help you better understand how users are navigating and engaging with your website.
- Sessions - How a user is actively engaged with your website over a period of time. This metric gives you insight into how many new and repeat users are actively navigating your site.
- % New Sessions - An estimate of the percentage of first time visits. New sessions gives you an understanding of how useful your site’s content is to visitors. The higher the number, the more people are returning to your site to learn more or engage with more of your content.
- Bounce Rate - The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page. You want this to be low.
- Pages / Session - Pages/Session (Average Page Depth) is the average number of pages viewed during a session. A higher number here is good. That means more people are finding your content useful and wanting to learn more.
- Average Session Duration - The average amount of time a person spends on your site. The higher the better, but the exact number will vary by industry. When you have a higher session duration, your visitors are reading and truly engaging with your content.
- Conversions Data - Conversion rate of the defined goals (or Ecommerce conversion rate). This data will only show up if you have Goals configured or Ecommerce properly integrated with Google Analytics. High numbers is your goal here, which means users are taking the actions you desire on your website.
Two metrics that really give you insight on user engagement are Bounce Rate and Pages-per-session. Typically, the goal is to keep that bounce rate low while aiming for a high page-per-session rate. This means users are engaging with your content and wanting to dive deeper into your website’s content.
Tracking Conversions on Your Site
One of the most important metrics in web analytics is the conversion rate. A conversion can mean a lot of different things based on your website goals. It could be the percentage of users who make a purchase, visit a specific page or share on social media.
To make the most of the Conversions report, Google Analytics allows you to track the conversion goals that are meaningful for your site by setting specific goals — and that should be your first priority when setting up Google Analytics for your website.
To set goals for your analytics, click the Admin button on your Analytics dashboard. Then click Goals to open the Goal sets. Click +Goal to add a new goal specific to your particular needs. Analytics then tracks user activity that responds to each goal.
Driving Higher Qualified Visitors With Analytics
The data collected in your Acquisitions Overview report contains important clues for making the most of your marketing efforts. The bounce rate, pages per session and conversion rate reports for each channel you’re using can reveal which channels are bringing the highest conversion rate and lowest bounce rate.
Those numbers reveal which channels are worth focusing the most marketing resources on — and which channels need to be retooled or dropped entirely due to poor performance. Knowing how many visitors your website attracts is important — but it’s only the first step. Google Analytics provides essential tools in both its free and premium accounts to fine-tune your marketing efforts toward the higher qualified visitors that equal conversions.
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