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5 Analytics Reports Every Small Business Should Be Looking At

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Google Analytics is a powerful asset to any small business looking to improve their web presence. Analytics is a free service that can be added to any website, either by adding a specific tracking number to the code of your website or by utilising a website extension available for many of the major website builders such as Joomla and WordPress.

Analytics is a free service that can be added to any website.

To sign up for an account visit the Google Analytics website.

Once you have logged in and correctly set up your tracking code – you can check it is working by opening the Real Time > Overview report and browsing to your website. When the code is working correctly you will be able to see yourself as an active visitor on the site as shown below.

Google analytics allows you to segregate your visitors into various groups as shown below, for the purpose of this article we will look at “All Users”.

For new users of analytics the level of information can be overwhelming, here we will show you the 5 key reports that matter most.

#1 Audience – Overview Report

This report gives you a very broad idea of what is happening on your site for the date range selected in the top right corner of your page. The metrics available are:

Sessions: A session is defined by Google as “the period time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc.”. The session is initiated when a user arrives on your site and ends when they exit the site. It is important to note that a user can have multiple sessions, as a session expires after 30 minutes of inactivity, for example, if a user has opened your page in a separate tab and continues browsing the other tabs on his/her browser without navigating your site. Also users may navigate back to your site on different days within your selected date range, which will result in multiple sessions.

Users: Users are defined as visitors “who have had at least one session within the selected date range”. This includes both new and returning visitors.

Pageviews: This is the total amount of times a page has been viewed on your site. Every page view from all users and sessions is counted.

Pages / Sessions: This is the amount of pageviews divided by sessions. The measurement shows you how well audiences are interacting with your website. There are multiple ways to read this, for example if users are spending 2 minutes on your page and looking at an average of 2 pages per session, this would indicate users are finding some value on your content and taking time to read it. However if users are spending the 2 minutes on your site browsing through 10 pages, this would indicate they are not finding the content they require and you may need to re-organise or add to your content.

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…if users are spending the 2 minutes on your site browsing through 10 pages, this would indicate they are not finding the content they require and you may need to re-organise or add to your content.

Average Session Duration: Much like the pages/session measurement the average session duration must be read with your site content in mind. A site with lots of information (such as a blog page) should have a much higher average session duration than a site with only a list of services. It is important to note the way average session duration is calculated by google.

Google cannot count the time spent on the last page of a user’s visit. Using the above diagram as an example we can see this particular user arrived on the landing page at 10:00am, and spent 5 minutes on this page before navigating to page 2 and then spent another 5 minutes on this page before navigating to page 3 at 10:10 am, where the user ended the session. This will appear in your report as a 10 minute session, which is not necessarily true as we do not know how long the user spent on the final page of the site, it may have been 5 seconds or 15 minutes, but unfortunately Google Analytics cannot tell us.

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Google cannot count the time spent on the last page of a user’s visit.

Bounce Rate: The Bounce rate is the percentage of single page visits (when a user looks only at the landing page and does not navigate to any other page). It is one of the most commonly discussed measurements as a lot of marketers use this as the sole indication of a pages success but this can be misleading. There are many reasons a page with a high bounce rate, over 80% could be successful, for example it may be a landing page where the sole goal of the page is for users to download a document or view contact details. As discussed above these pages will return an average session duration of zero seconds, but they have successfully converted a user.

% New Sessions: This indicates the percentage of your visitors that are new to the site within the selected date range. Most websites will have a higher percentage of new visitors then returning visitors, although some sites, including membership sites, will find they have a higher number of returning visitors. A high number of new visitors is often a good thing for businesses as it presents new sales visitors. You can explore more on this topic by visiting Audience > Behaviour > New vs Returning

#2 Acquisition Overview

Knowing where your visitors are coming from will help guide your marketing decisions. As shown in the above screenshot, acquisition is divided into the following areas:

Organic Search: Organic traffic are users who have found the page by entering search terms into the various search engines such as Google and Bing.

Direct Search: Direct traffic is most commonly a result of users entering your url into a browser, although direct traffic can also be a result of users saving your site as a bookmark and using this to re-visit the page.

Social: Google Analytics can also track any traffic generated by the popular social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Knowing where your visitors are coming from will help guide your marketing decisions.

Referral: Referral traffic is a result of any traffic that has visited your page by clicking a link on an external website, for example a user may have found your Hotel website by clicking a link from your trip advisor profile.

Paid Traffic: Paid Traffic is not shown in this report as this business does not utilise and paid advertising but if they did any traffic generated from paid avenues such as Google AdWords would appear here.

By selecting any of the headings in the report you are able to see all the key measurements as discussed in point 1 for each acquisition avenue.

#3 Behaviour > Site Content > All pages

The all pages report shows you which web pages are the most popular.

Within this report you should pay particular attention to the exit rate and ask yourself, “is this a natural exit point for the website?” For example the page marked “/” is your homepage, if this has a high exit rate why would that be? Can you justify it by knowing your contact information is available on this page and that is all your customer needs? If not look at what you can do to change it, maybe your navigation is confusing, the page loads too slow or the page is just not as well designed and laid out as your competitors.

#4 Audience > Mobile > Overview

As we know users are viewing more content on mobile devices than ever before. This report will give you important data about how these users are responding to your website and compare these figures with desktop and tablet users.

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This report can be used to find any flaws in the design of your website, particularly in regard to user experience.

This report can be used to find any flaws in the design of your website, particularly in regard to user experience. As we can see in the data above this particular websites visitors are most commonly using mobile devices to enter the site but the pages per session, bounce rate and average session duration are all underperforming when compared to the campaign wide numbers. In this case we need to look into why this is, a common starting point would be navigation, as mobile device navigation can be a major factor in a sites ease of use, we may also look into the sites loading speed and compare this to to competitor’s site for areas of improvement.

#5 Conversions > Goals

What is the point of a website without a goal?

At the bottom of the reports sidebar menu you will find Conversions > Goals. Now to start with there will be nothing here as goals are not set up as yet but we highly recommend coming up with some goals for your website and tracking them here. Goals can be as simple of multiple page views for visitors or as complex as online purchases made by following a particular sales funnel from landing page through to checkout completion page.

Having goals set up allows you monitor your sites performance and can help determine the success of website design and content changes which will determine future web changes.

Get started with goals by clicking the “set up goals” button as shown above.

In Conclusion

Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful acquisition for any small business, by getting to know its features and capabilities you will be able to find new customers by providing the right content, increase conversions and plan future marketing efforts.

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