Aug 3, 2020 - Rob Browning

Website Reporting with Google Analytics & Google Data Studio

Helpful Hints for Discovery Insights & Interpreting Website Data

Generating insights from Google Analytics is an entirely different task than setting it up. Google Analytics provides valuable data, but determining the meaning of each metric can be challenging. However,  it can produce an overwhelming amount of data, making it difficult to know where to lookor how to understand trends. Focus on these metrics when you evaluate website performance.

Users and Sessions

Users refer to the actual people visiting your website, and sessions are counted when a user enters the site. Users can have multiple sessions. The percentage of new courses is an estimate of the percentage of total sessions that were made by users who have never been to the website before. All three of these metrics are essential when you evaluate traffic coming to the site. 

Audience & Engagement in Google Analytics

A bounce rate is the percentage of sessions where  a user accessed one page of your website but did not interact with it. A high bounce rate may occur because the user is finding what they need quickly and leaving. If your end goal is to have people explore your website and engage with the content, you want your bounce rate to be low. 

On the other hand, pages/session refers to the average number of pages users are viewing per session. This number should be high if multiple pieces of content are being explored in a website session.

Other important metrics about the audience include:

  • Interests
  • Geolocation
  • Events 
  • Technology and Mobile 

Acquisition & Attribution in Analytics

Channels are the routes users take to visit your website. They are the source/medium grouped similarly. Here are a few examples: 

  • Organic: Traffic from organic search results from search engines
  • Direct: Traffic from places that Google cannot determine
  • Social: Traffic from social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Email: Traffic from email
  • Referral: Traffic from links clicked on other websites

The source refers to where the user was when he or she saw your content—a Google search result, on Facebook, and so on. The medium refers to how the user got to your website, organically or in an email, for example. 

Behavior Metrics

Aside from where your visitors are coming from and where they go, it's essential to know what actions they perform on the website. The behavior report will show the top pages they visit, and give an idea of what content is performing well and which pages are underperforming. This report includes page load speed, exit rate, entrance rate, and average time on page. 

Google Analytics is a useful tool for understanding website activity. By becoming familiar with the Google Analytics interface, it is easy to understand the story the data is telling. The information, insights, and knowledge will help generate data-driven decisions about the website, which are incredibly valuable. 

Troubleshooting Google Analytics

If metrics seem off, or specific parameters are not calculating at all, there may be an issue with how Google Analytics is set up. Troubleshoot Google Analytics using Chrome's inspector tool or Google Tag Manager Tag Assistant to determine if there are on-site issues with the tracking code.  Additionally, examine the settings and configuration of Google Analytics to determine if there is an issue impacting data collection. For example, a filter may be erroneously excluding all traffic from the view. Insights can provide valuable information about website activity, but can also provide insight into data collection and issues with Google Analytics.  

Advanced Reporting with Google Analytics & Google Data Studio

Google Analytics generates pre-configured reports to work with out-of-the-box, but the platform also can customize and build reports. Google Analytics experts have taken the time to create templates for the custom reports, and they’re  a great way to get ideas for reports. Users have created custom reports on mobile performance, customer behavior, and visitor acquisition efficiency.  Feel free to explore these options to discover new ways to explore website data.

You can also create custom dashboards in Google Analytics, which  allows for a specific view with several different modules displayed. These can be custom-designed and scheduled for email or download. However, if dashboarding is a primary goal, leveraging Google Data Studio provides a much more dynamic dashboard and works with several key data sources.

Google Data Studio allows you to create branded reports with data visualizations to share with others. The dashboards are easy to read, easy-to-share, and customizable; there are options for presenting the data — bar graphs, charts, line graphs, and many more.

The reports are dynamic, so data is refreshed automatically, and multiple data sources can be pulled into a single report. For example, you can import a Google Sheet into Google Data Studio, and it can show up in your report. Google Ads, Google Search Console, and YouTube Analytics all connect to Google Data Studio out-of-the-box as well. Additionally, several connectors exist for Social Media Platforms, CRM Databases, and other services. 

Data Studio gives you the ability to pull your multiple data sources into one customizable dashboard and lay them out in a visually appealing way. Options include:

  • The ability to pull in various data sources and reports on the metrics
  • Customizable layout, with colors, fonts, and visuals 
  • An easy-to-interact with and customizable dashboard
  • Ability to add and edit text
  • Custom data display like bar graphs, pie charts, and many other standard visualizations
  • Ability to easily save, email, or print PDFs

Google Data Studio can elevate reporting and dashboarding to a new level. Additionally, these reports can lead to valuable discoveries and data-driven insights. If you need help setting up a Google Data Studio report, please reach out to the team at Third and Grove for a free consultation. Just contact us here today.

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