Articles, Blog

Beginning Analytics: Interpreting and Acting on Your Data

This video is a step-by-step
introduction to understanding, interpreting, and taking
action on your Google Analytics data. Let’s get started. When you click into your
reports, you’ll see your overall site usage numbers. Here’s what they mean. Visits is the number
of times someone interacted with your website. Bounce rate is the percentage
of those visits in which the person instantly
left your site. Page views is how many
pages were viewed during those visits. And here is the average
number of pages viewed during each visit. Average time on site tells
you how long people stayed on your site. Percent new visits shows how
many visits were from people who visited your site
for the first time. This data is from a blog. On blogs, people usually just
read the latest post and then leave, so for blogs, bounce rate
and time on site aren’t good measures of quality. Let’s look at these same metrics
for another site. 345,000 visits is a lot of
visits to have in a month. To get some context, it would
probably be best to trim that data over time and see if
it’s going up or down. We’ll do that in a minute. Next, the combination of almost
12 pages per visit and over six minutes average time
on site is impressive. Many websites get only three
to five pages per visit. These visitors are really
exploring the site. The bounce rate, at 35%, is very
good in context of the number of visits
and page views. This website is getting a lot
of qualified visitors. Now let’s use the over time
graph to look at the trends. Here’s how you can quickly
compare this month with last month. Now that we set a comparison
date range, we can get some context for our traffic
numbers. Going back to our blog metrics,
we can see visits and page views are up 36%. That’s quite an increase. Pages viewed per visit and
bounce rate have also improved, but only slightly. And we have a slightly higher
percentage of new visitors. The only metric that’s gone down
is average time on site, but it’s only decreased
five seconds. So with just these basic metrics
we have an idea of what’s happening on the site. Take a look at the traffic
sources overview to see how people arrived at your site. Direct traffic includes the
people who typed in your website URL or who clicked
on a bookmark. Some people call this default
traffic, or ambient traffic. Referring sites are
other websites sending traffic to you. These could be banner
ads on other sites, or any kind of link. These could be blogs, or
affiliates who linked to you. Search engines. That’s Google, Yahoo, MSN,
Ask, and others. This bucket will include both
your organic search traffic– that’s from search results
you didn’t pay for– as well as pay-per-click or
cost-per-click traffic that you did pay for. Other can be from emails and
special links that you’ve set up and tagged with campaign
variables. If you want to track newsletters
and specific banner ads, you might take a
look at the Google Analytics Help Center and learn how to tag
these links, so that you can get detailed information
about the traffic they send you. Let’s look at each
kind of traffic. I can get to the reports by
using the left navigation, or by clicking the link here, in
the Traffic Sources Overview. Here’s the report for
your direct traffic. You’ll notice that the same
familiar metrics we’ve been talking about appear in
each of these reports. Now let’s look at
referring sites. This report is great for
identifying sources you don’t know about, but who are
sending you traffic. You might visit the referring
pages and see why. You might want to establish a
marketing relationship with the best referring sites. Now let’s look at
search engines. It’s really important to look
at the search traffic and keywords and understand which
search engine is working for you and why. Use the tables to get more
detail on your traffic from specific search engines
and keywords. Again, throughout these reports,
you’ll see the same familiar metrics. Let’s go to the Keywords Report
in the traffic sources section and see which keywords
send qualified, low bounce-rate traffic. Scroll down and look at the
keywords in the table. Each keyword tells you what
the visitor expects to find on your site. Keywords with high bounce rates
show where you fail to meet that expectation. It’s a good idea to separate
your paid and organic traffic, so that you can identify
paid keywords with high bounce rates. Now let’s look at what pages
these visitors land on. The top landing pages report
shows you how many people are entering on each page
of your website. The bounce rate column gives
you an indicator of how engaging each of
these pages is. Since this is a blog, these
bounce rates are very high. Yours are hopefully
much lower. Any of the top 10 landing pages
that has a high bounce rate needs to be fixed. By fixing these pages, you
increase the likelihood that people will go deeper into your
site and buy something, or convert to one
of your goals. So now might be a good time to
make a note of your problem paid keywords so you can
temporarily stop spending money on them until you figure
out whether you’re buying the wrong keywords, or whether
you’re just driving this traffic to the wrong
landing pages. Also, make a note of your
problem unpaid keywords, so that you can evaluate whether
you need to optimize your site for different keywords. And finally, identify landing
pages that need to be made more relevant, or that need
stronger calls to action. If you have an e-commerce
site, use the e-commerce reporting section and the
e-commerce tab that appears on many of the reports to track the
success of your site and marketing initiatives. The e-commerce overview gives
you a quick snapshot of your e-commerce website, from
conversion rate to the average order value to the number
of products you’ve sold. And you can segment this data
to identify the best campaigns, keywords, and
geographic locations. The Average Order Value report
can help you understand a key performance trend. The transaction detail report
gives you a summary of your e-commerce performance, and
also shows the individual transactions on your website. Visits to Purchase shows how
long it takes for people to purchase on your website. You’ll need to add some
e-commerce tracking code to your site, and you can learn how
to do this in the Google Analytics Help Center. Just search for e-commerce and
click on the How do I track e-commerce transactions
article. For non e-commerce sites, the
best way to stay focused on outcomes is to define
conversion goals. A goal is a website page which
a visitor reaches once they have made a purchase,
or completed another desired action. You can even specify values
for goals and have those values used to calculate per
visit goal value in ROI. So for example, if you know
that one out of every 100 views of a product page results
in a $500 sale, you can set a value of $5.00 for
your product page goal. To define your goals, just go to
the analytic settings page. If you don’t see this Edit link
next to the profile for which you want to configure
goals, it means that you don’t have administrator privileges,
and you’ll need to work with an administrator in order
to configure goals. Assuming you are an
administrator, you can click Edit next to the profile for
which you’re going to establish goals. Then click Edit next to
one of the four goals. Fill in the URL of
the goal page. And then you can provide a name
for the goal, which will appear in your reports. And then, optionally,
provide a value. So here will put in $5.00. Then click Save Changes,
and that’s it. So congratulations. You’ve just learned the basics
of putting your analytics data to work, and you’re ready to
improve your own site. Thanks for watching.


  1. The Heartbreak Time Machine Author

    Google *desperately* needs someone to produce these a bit more professionally. I never thought I'd spam somebody's comments with a link to my own videos, but in this case, it's completely warranted.

    Dear Google: I can help you produce much better presentations. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Les Corrigan Author

    This is an excellent presentation and is a great too for my new clients to understand the reports we're now sending. Thank You!

  3. Promod Sharma Author

    This video is very helpful. I've used Google Analytics for a while but did not have a good understanding of basics. For example, a high Bounce Rate is normal for a blog. Thanks for the education and insights.

  4. singltrkr Author

    Great video. Does anyone know how I can do some crash courses and learn all of this techie stuff immediately? OR better yet, who can I contact who knows this stuff like the back of their hand and could help me with my site. Please advise.

  5. Jason Valasek Author

    Hello, I would be interested to have you look at what we are doing to see if you have any words of wisdom for success. Will pay for wisdom. Thanks. Jason

  6. Philip Latour Author

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  7. Flight Media Author

    I could never be more satisfied with Google Analytics. It is easy to use, reliable, and just amazing with ALL of the capabilities it offers! 🙂


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