Navigating Google Analytics
If you have multiple accounts, properties, or views set up, you can easily switch between them by clicking on the pulldown menu with the title of your View in the upper-left corner.
Clicking the bell icon in the upper-right corner shows you a list of all of your alerts. This may include data that is not collecting properly or a setting that needs optimizing. To close the Alerts menu, click anywhere on the screen outside of the alerts.
Dashboards & Shortcuts
Dashboards and shortcuts allow you to skip right to the information that is most useful and relevant for you. You can aggregate different reports/overviews as widgets in a single dashboard view.
To create a custom dashboard, click “Customization” and select Dashboard. Then click “Create” and select the template of your dashboard.
You can click “Add Widget” to add different data views to your dashboard. You can also click “customize dashboard” and drag around the widgets to create the desired layout.
The Google Analytics Solutions Gallery is a place where people can share useful customizations and dashboards. You can import templates you find into your own GA account.
Real-Time reports let you look at live user behavior on your website including information like where your users are coming from and if they’re converting.
Audience reports show you characteristics about your users like age and gender, where they’re from, their interests, how engaged they were, whether they’re new or returning users, and what technology they’re using.
Acquisition reports show you which channels (such as advertising or marketing campaigns) brought users to your site. This could include different marketing channels such as:
- “Organic” (or unpaid search)
- “CPC” (“cost per click” or paid search, now PPC or pay per click)
- “Referral” (traffic that comes from another website)
- “Social” (from a social network)
- or “Other,” (a group of low volume traffic sources)
Behavior reports show how people engaged on your site including which pages they viewed, and their landing and exit pages. With additional implementation, you can even track what your users searched for on your site and whether they interacted with specific elements.
Conversion reports allow you to track website goals based on your site objectives.
The Admin section contains all of your Google Analytics settings such as user permissions, tracking code, view settings, and filters.
Understanding Overview Reports
Date range selector
This opens up a calendar on the left where you can select your date ranges. When you change the date range, it affects all of the reports in your view. So you can switch between different reports without having to adjust the date range each time.
You can choose between date ranges like last week, last calendar month, or last 30 days. But you can also set specific dates by clicking the start- and end-date fields and selecting calendar dates. If you’d like to select an entire month, simply click on the name of the month in the calendar to the left.
Date Range Comparison
You can also compare data from two different date ranges by clicking “Compare to” and adding in the date ranges you wish to compare. This lets you see how your business changed over time.
At the top of the report, notice the segment picker. Segments are ways to look at a specific data set and compare metrics. The default segment includes all of the Users that visited your site in the given date range.
Below the segment picker are the different metrics of the Audience Overview report shown in different formats. The most prominent is a line graph that by default shows a data point for the number of users on each day over your selected date range.
If you wish to view this data more specifically, you can change the data points to show hourly, weekly, or monthly, as well. This can be especially helpful when looking at large date sets. If you are looking at data over a single day, the view will default to hourly.
You can change the metric shown from users to a different metric by selecting the drop-down menu under the Overview tab. Analytics lets you compare this to a second metric over the same time period by clicking “Select a metric”.
Notice the small arrow at the bottom center of the line graph. Clicking on the arrow lets you annotate the graph with helpful notes to add business context to your data. Once you add an annotation, a small indicator will appear on the graph that can be viewed by other users with access to the view. Clicking any of the metrics below will show the data points for those metrics in the line graph above.
There are a number of helpful metrics beneath the line graph:
- “Users” are the total number of users that visited for the given date range.
- “New Users” are the number of first-time users during the selected date range.
- “Sessions” are the total number of sessions for the given date range. A session is the period time a user is actively engaged with your website.
- “Pageviews” are the total number of times pages that included your Analytics tracking code were displayed to users. This includes repeated viewings of a single page by the same user.
- “Pages per session” is the average number of pages viewed during each session. This also includes repeated viewings of a single page.
- “Average session duration” is the average length of a session based on users that visited your site in the selected date range.
- “Bounce rate” is the percentage of users who left after viewing a single page on your site and taking no additional action.
New vs. Returning Users
To the right of the metrics is a pie chart illustrating the percentage of new vs. returning users.
Dimensions and Metrics
Clicking into the dimensions on the bottom left of the report, will allow you to see the top 10 dimensions and metrics in each category.
The default dimension selected in the Audience Overview report is “Language.” When Language is selected, note that the table to the right includes the top 10 languages and their sessions. You can also view top-10 metrics for Country and City.
To view metrics about what technology people are using to view your site, click Browser, Operating System, and Service Provider.