Google Analytics is a powerful free tool that lets you analyze website user behavior every move with one simple interface. It also provides powerful data about users such as the device they are using, how they found your site, and even where they are located geographically. If users are signed in to Google or some other social media platforms, Analytics can even tell you certain things about the the individual such as age and gender, as well as their interests.
The Dashboard gives you an overall snapshot of your site’s performance. From here you can see general statistics of your site visits, page views, number of users, average time spent on the site, and the bounce rate. You can also view these stats by certain specific time frames. For example, if you wanted to know how your site performed last holiday season you can simply set the date parameters and compare specific chunks of time. You also have a series of shortcut links to different sections where you can drill down further for certain behaviors such as number of hits from certain devices, or the bounce rate from certain geographical regions.
From your Audience tab you can drill down into specific breakdowns of your average user. In the image above you can see that in the example site the average user is male, aged 25-34 and the top categories they are interested in are Sports/ Individual Sports/ Running & Walking and Computers & Electronics/ Consumer Electronics/ Electronic Accessories. This is a great cross reference tool to see if your current marketing strategy is hitting your target demographic. Note that Analytics isn’t 100% accurate all of the time because some users either browse anonymously or have installed certain extensions in their browsers that let them opt out of submitting data to Google.
Another exciting feature of the audience tab is the Geolocation breakdown function. Within this tab you can explore your users geographic location from country all the way down to metro area.
From within the Technology tab you can learn everything you need to know about your viewers devices they are using to visit your site such as type of device, operating system, screen resolution, and browser. This can very useful in your design or redesign because it can give you insight on whether to set a focus on a certain screen size or device. For example if most of your visitors come to the site using a mobile device then you know that you need to spend the extra time and resources making sure that your site is 100% perfect on smaller screens.
Acquisition Overview Dashboard
Your Acquisition tab will tell you everything you need to know about how visitors came to your site. From the overview dashboard you can get a brief snapshot of your acquisition sources (organic search, paid search results, referral link, social media, etc). This can be very useful if you are tracking your SEO or PPC campaigns.
All Traffic Breakdown
From your ‘All Traffic’ tab within acquisition you can easily see where your traffic is coming from. ‘Google/ organic’, means that your traffic came through Google naturally through searching keywords or phrases such as, “Business Services, San Francisco”. ‘Direct’, means that someone visited your site by directly typing in the URL. All other sources are listed by the site the traffic came from, for example “Pinterest.com”. You can also see the number of pages visited, time spent on the site, bounce rate, and more broken down and sortable by the traffic source.
Another great feature of the audience tab is that you can directly monitor the effectiveness of your SEO or Adwords campaign by setting goals for certain keywords or number of visitors each month. You can also compare months or different times of year to track your site’s progression.
Tracking your viewers behavior on the site is another critical function of analyzing the effectiveness of your site. The Behavior tab not only lets you know the pages that are most popular on the site, but also how the visitor got to that page, how much time they spent, and what they did from there.
Staying in tune to your users behavior is critical to understanding your sites value and performance. At Zen Den we have yet to see a more powerful tool. Learn more about installing Google Analytics to your site at http://www.google.com/analytics/