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Four easy ways to generate insights from Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most popular and effective tools for analytics. It offers a wide range of insights, including traffic sources, countries, campaigns, etc. However, it does not allow you to perform advanced analysis on these data. This article explains how to generate valuable insights from Google Analytics.

Use the Google Analytics compare date range feature

A good starting point for getting insights into your digital marketing efforts is to compare two date ranges. Google Analytics has a compare date range feature that allows you to compare data between two different date ranges.

To use the Google Analytics compare date range feature, go to your Google Analytics account and select the report you want to review (e.g. acquisition). You’ll see the date range in the top right-hand corner. Select this box and then tick the “compare to” box. You can then compare your selected period to the previous period (e.g. the last seven days vs the seven days before that), to the same period the year prior, or a custom date range.

If your business is very seasonal, I recommend keeping an eye on the year-on-year trends. That way, you can see how your efforts are helping you to grow your business year on year.

Use annotations in Google Analytics

Annotations are a way to add extra information about your data in Google Analytics. This additional information can help you understand your data better and make better decisions about using it.

If you are reviewing data yearly, it can be challenging to remember what actions you have made throughout the year and when you have made them. If your Analytics report shows a spike in traffic at a specific time, but you’ve not made annotations, you be left scratching your head trying to identify the cause of the traffic. Furthermore, annotations are a great way of adding this extra information in the reports you produce and even better, they allow you to make decisions quickly based, particularly if you are regularly testing new designs with your website.

Create goals in Google Analytics

The Google Analytics website provides many features that can help you understand your visitors. However, if you are an expert in Google Analytics, you may use advanced features like Goals.

While setting up goals can get quite technical, it doesn’t have to be. Start by creating a goal based on visitors reaching a specific page, such as a Thank You page for anyone who signs up for your newsletter.

Setting up goals is relatively straightforward and will add considerable value to the insights you can generate from Google Analytics. To create your first goal, go to settings, scroll to the right-hand column and find the goals option. You’ll see an empty table and above that a red button saying New Goal. Select that.

Follow the steps, making sure to select the most appropriate category for your goal (e.g. choose acquisition for a new subscriber sign up). Then add the criteria for when the goal is met. I like to set simple goals based on users reaching a particular URL. By selecting the URL as a goal, I can add all thank you pages to my Google Analytics goals.

Once your goals are set up, your Analytics will provide a new level of insights that you were previously missing. You’ll be able to identify which channels drive the most goal completions (conversions, sales, media views, etc.). You’ll be able to see the demographics of users who complete your goals. This new data is unlocked and ready for you to use to optimize your website for even more goal completions in the future.

Use DataMyth to generate insights automatically

What could be easier than having an automated analysis of your analytics created for you?

After many hours staring at Google Analytics reports, DataMyth is a godsend. It takes a lot of the work out of monitoring the performance of your digital marketing campaigns. It helps you see how each campaign is performing to improve it. The performance reports are easy to read as the insights are written in plain English.

If you deliver digital marketing projects for your clients, DataMyth will save hours every month by providing practical insights into your client’s website performance. You can easily see which channels perform best because the report will literally tell you in full, written sentences.

Rather than spending hours each month checking several different reports in Google Analytics, run DataMyth and read the report on a short PDF. In a matter of minutes, you’ll have a complete picture of how your website is performing – from top converting landing pages to the devices that bring in the most users. It’s a done for you solution to generating actionable insights in Google Analytics.


A Guide to Google Analytics Reports

On an average, a digital marketer spends 7.5 hours in a week (based on a survey conducted by DataMyth) creating and analyzing reports across channels for clients/stakeholders. These reports generally are a combination of customized reports based on the client’s requirements or report templates which cover all the necessary information about your website performance in terms of traffic, goals, user behaviour, etc. Google Analytics provides a lot of data but not all of it gets in the weekly or monthly reports. In this blog we will cover the sections which we think are critical and mandatory for a client/stakeholder to understand the website performance.

This report structure will help answer the following:

  1. The number of users received for the selected date range
  2. The source of users by channel
  3. Top channels by user
  4. Campaigns/pages that drove the most sessions
  5. Top landing pages in terms of sessions
  6. Pages that people spend the most time on
  7. Time spent by users on the site
  8. Devices used by users to view the site
  9. Countries users visit from

1. An Overview Section:

The report should always start with an overview of the performance of your website for the selected date range. This section will give the reader information about the overall performance in the first few minutes. The synopsis should cover the ABC of Google Analytics reporting – Acquisition, Behaviour & Conversion. 

  1. Acquisition helps you understand the number of users and where the traffic is coming from. For example: Users, Sessions, Source, etc.
  2. Behaviour contains data which helps you understand  what users do on your  website such as Pages/Session, Avg. Time Spent & Bounce Rate
  3. Conversion data maps your Goals, Goal Rate & Goal Value

Along with the data table, adding graphs makes it more visually appealing and increases the ease of understanding. You can either show the trend for the selected period or for the last 6 months. 

Always ensure to add insights that not only identifies the increase or decrease, but also defines the reason for the change in performance

2. Source of Users by Channel :

While the overview section provides a summary of the performance, the Channel performance section maps your traffic by different sources such as Email, Organic, Paid, Social, etc. An easy representation of performance by channel helps understand which channel is doing better compared to the others.

Now that the data is displayed, one of the important elements to include is the analysis of how the performance was impacted by each channel for the selected period (single date range or comparison date range). Showing a percentage increase and decrease is not a clear indicator of your website’s performance since a change in a channel goal from 1 to 2 is a 100% increase. So ensure that your data is calculated taking the impact of each parameter into consideration, and not the percentage difference. Once the channel is identified, next, find the pages/campaigns that triggered the impact for the respective channel.

3. Goal Completion

Based on the goals set for each channel which is inline with your objective, Google analytics provides data for each of the goal types across channels. While this is very helpful you will not receive a consolidated view of all the goals created. So showcasing goals by type & channel gives a clear picture of your goal performance.

Considering the goals set, identify what’s working and what’s not by channel source. Just like we discussed in the channel performance section, calculate the impact here as well instead of the absolute difference. If you are an eCommerce brand, you will have a clear understanding of your ROI by channel. You can optimize your marketing efforts building on this information.

4. New vs Returning Users Performance

It is very important to understand your website user type (new or returning). If you are an eCommerce, media or entertainment client, you should have a good balance between new and returning users. If your brand is focused on B2B, it is better to have more new users than returning users. Providing a breakup of channel & device for traffic & goal will give additional information about your marketing efforts and their results.

For example, the image in this section shows that even though Email drives the highest number of sessions, it does not result in goal conversions for new users, whereas Organic Search goal conversions are higher than Email campaigns. Based on your industry & data, you can make changes to your marketing efforts accordingly. 

5. Identifying the Top Landing Pages

Google Analytics provides landing page reports with traffic, behaviour and conversion details but what matters most is to answer a few questions like:

a) why did the traffic increase/decrease?

b) why is the bounce rate for the page high?

c) which pages do users spend most time on?

To get answers to these questions, we should drill down further into the data. Check the source, device & user type for the page which generated the highest sessions, or low bounce rates , whichever your key metric is. Based on the data available, optimize the page to improve the performance.

6. Device Performance

Understanding the device your audience uses helps you optimize your campaign targets, website speed and responsiveness. Along with the overall device data, knowing the channel source for each device can help define the marketing efforts for the respective channel.

7. Location Performance

Location is a very simple yet important element for your analysis. It shows where you are getting your majority of traffic or goal conversions. Based on this data you can target locations for campaigns or allocate more budget.

Apart from these there are other reports like

  1. Hourly report to understand at what time of the day you are driving sessions or goal conversions 
  2. Page Navigation Report to understand how the user navigates through your website. Are they getting all the information needed or they abandon the page due to lack of information, bad user experience, it is not optimized for a device & etc. 

All the sections covered are present in the Google Analytics console, and each section is a different report that needs to be combined. DataMyth is a solution that can build the report within seconds with data, graphs and analysis – All you need to do is use the time saved to define your strategy. Visit the Google Analytics Report page for more details.