Understanding Google Analytics: Users Flow, Geo/Behavioral Data, and Custom Goal Data
The article “Your Small Business Website Needs Google Analytics, and Here’s How to Get Started” reviewed the basics of setting up and understanding Google Analytics, including what it is and how to use certain data like bounce rate, pages per visit, and traffic sources.
While this information may be enough for many website owners, others may want more in-depth data on visitors and how these visitors are using the site.
The Users Flow report is located under the Audience section of Google Analytics — you should see it on the left hand side of your screen, near the top of the navigation menu.
The Users Flow report shows you how visitors came to your website and how they move through the site’s pages and content. For example, you might see that people tend to find your website via an online search. From there, you can see which pages they visit first, second, and so on.
This report can also show you what pages people visit before exiting the website. This is great information to have if you want to improve your bounce rate.
The Users Flow information is broken up into nodes and connections. The “node” represents a value of some sort, whether it’s a page, traffic source, campaign, or browser. The “connection” is the path that the visitor took through the site.
Why do business owners need to understand user flow?
The Users Flow report allows website owners to:
- Determine where most traffic goes after visitors come to the site.
- Figure out where most visitors leave the site. If most people are leaving the site at a particular page or set of pages, these pages could be manipulated or tested to determine if changing copy, call-to-actions, or images modifies behavior.
- Determine which channels and campaigns are most effective at driving people to complete an action, like filling out a form or clicking a link.
- Determine which pages drive the most conversions.
With this knowledge, you and your team can make data-driven decisions about what works and what doesn’t. The best part? You no longer have to make assumptions and wild guesses about the type of website content that will resonate with your ideal audience.
Let’s dig into the Audience report some more. It contains tons of in-depth information about your website’s visitors, including:
- Where they are located
- Whether they’ve been to your website before
- Who they are, including age and gender
- Information about their interests
All of this information, and a whole lot more, can be found under the various tabs in the Audience section.
The Geo section will show you where visitors are located, including their country and city. The Interest section breaks down different Affinity Categories, like Beauty & Wellness (aka people who frequently visit salons), Lifestyles & Hobbies/Business Professionals, Technology/Technophiles, and a whole lot more.
You can also see what type of browser visitors are using, what types of mobile devices visitors use to browse, and more. Google Analytics even allows you to track Custom Variables, which are speciality tags that can be added to the analytics tracking code.
Why do business owners need Google Analytics Audience reporting?
The overall importance of this data is that it allows website owners to determine if they are reaching their target audience.
For example, if a page on your website was created to target 50-year old women in Kansas who speak English, but most of the traffic is coming from 20-something Spanish-speaking women in Texas, then the site may have to be tweaked to better reach the intended audience.
Tracking custom goals in Google Analytics
Next, we’re going to take a look at the Conversions section of Google Analytics. You can find this section near the bottom of your navigation menu. From there, expand the menu and then click on the ‘Overview’ link under ‘Goals’.
Goals allow website owners to determine how well their site is driving people towards an action, whether that action is buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, or something else entirely. Custom goals can even be added to a transaction page like the Thank You or Order Confirmation page.
Why your Goal needs a goal
When you set up a custom Goal, you’ll have plenty of data to analyze, including the conversion path, traffic sources, and demographic information. It will also show how many website visitors have converted.
Setting up random Goals isn’t the name of the game here, though. Website owners should have a goal in mind that they want to reach, like a certain number of conversions per month.
The data in the Conversions tab can help determine if those goals are being met… or not.
If your conversations for a Goal are down, the data in this section (and others) can help you find the root cause. Don’t forget about the importance of testing, either. If conversions are low, website owners can perform A/B testing to determine if low conversions are the result of on-site copy, messaging, forms, or another issue.
Will you use Google Analytics to improve your website’s performance?
Google Analytics provides a ton of information to business owners who rely on their websites to attract and convert new customers.
Understanding this data can help increase conversions and overall traffic to the site, which is great news for your company’s bottom line.