Friday, April 04, 2008

Understanding Google Analytics

Google Analytics I'd say is the best tool there is to track data on your website or blog. A few months ago I wrote a short overview about it, but I've gotten quite a number of requests on how to understand the data provided by Google Analytics.

Looking at stats in Google Analytics is pretty much a walk in a park, however it may seem like a daunting task when you have to submit a report. Aside from piling up information, of course you have to make sure that the stakeholder reading your report should understand it. I had problems in my past job making my report understandable to non-techies. I just got blank face when I mentioned the terms page views, referral sites, user sessions etc. It's also best to have a report that's both qualitative and quantitative. Remember top executives and managers have short attention span and they normally don't go beyond the first page of any report.

When you open Google Analytics you'll get to see a myriad of information. Quite easy to understand, here's an outline you can use when you need to come up with an offline report.

*Always define the period of your report.

Site Usage: Site usage provides an overview to the overall traffic of your website. Key among the stats provided in this section are the Page Views and the visitor's Average Time on Site (also known as user session) because this indicates whether the site visitor is looking through your content aside from your home page. The longer your visitors stay in your site, the better.

Page Views
Pages per Visit
Bounce Rate
Ave. Time on Site
% of New Visits
*it would also be great if you could include graph of your traffic

Visitors Overview: It is also important to know how many visitors your site is getting. Always remind your stakeholder that the reach of one's website is incomparable to traditional media. Bear in mind that those visiting your site are people who need your product/info (your target market). Any marketer would tell you that it's more expensive to acquire new users versus maintaining loyal customers. Content is key to keep your users coming back (it's called site stickiness). The map overlay basically shows you where your visitors are coming from.

Absolute Unique Visitors
New vs. Returning
Map Overlay (countries/territories)

Traffic Sources: This indicates how your visitors found your website. If you have an offline advertising campaign, getting direct traffic may indicate that your visitors may have seen or heard about your website through this campaign. Getting traffic from search engines is important since it indicates that your site is relevant and people are looking for you! Use the Google Website Optimizer to help you make your website more search engine friendly.

Source (search engines, referral sites or direct)

Top Content: This indicates which of your pages are being read by your site's visitors. You can perhaps list the top 10 to 20 pages being visited. This helps marketers find out which of their products/services are important to them. This will also help marketers determine which products need more push/promos.

Tech Stats: Google Analytics also provides a lot of statistics that would be helpful to your website manager. It's useful as well for doing usability studies. Some key points include: browser profile, connection speed, navigation analysis and click patterns.

View this for a sample format.

1 comment:

  1. Hi miss aileen! chris watchon here, I would like to humbly request to post the Philippine Elearning Society Summer Kapihan on April 19, 2008...details are found in this link:

    thanks for your help!

    chris watchon