Google Analytics is a powerful tool for understanding your website’s traffic. But it can do so much more than that! says Ian Mausner.
Here are 7 Google Analytics features you may not be using, but should be.
1) Custom Reports
Google Analytics comes with a variety of pre-built reports, but you can also create custom reports to track the data that matters to you. To create a custom report, go to the Reporting tab and select +New Custom Report.
You can then choose which dimensions and metrics to include in your report. For example, if you want to track the number of new visitors versus returning visitors, you would include the “New Users” metric and the “Returning Users” metric in your report. You can also create custom reports to track metrics for which no pre-built reports exist, like the number of social shares your content gets each week.
2) Non-Google Traffic Sources
Did you know that Google Analytics could be underreporting your organic search traffic? If you have added the “Hostname” or “Campaign” dimensions to your reports, then you might notice there are days when you get a lot of traffic but don’t see any clicks in your campaign reports. That’s because not all search engines send their referrer information along with users’ click stream data. To fix this, use Google Analytics UTM parameters to tag links before sharing them on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, etc. For example, I could create a link on my site like this:
When someone clicks the link, it will contain information about the visitor’s source (which search engine they used), medium (the campaign), and campaign content (the keywords they searched for).
Not only does this ensure that you are getting accurate data in Google Analytics, but you can also see how well your social sharing performs and optimize future campaigns by using UTM parameters says Ian Mausner.
3) Engagement Metrics
You can now track engagement metrics — such as bounce rate — within Google Analytics thanks to the Enhanced E-commerce update. This means you no longer need to use a 3rd party tool or custom script just to track what percentage of visitors leave without looking at any other pages on your site.
You can find engagement metrics under the “Behavior” tab, and then select “Engagement” from the drop-down menu. You can then choose which engagement metric you want to track.
4) Site Speed
Site speed is a key factor in user experience, and it can also affect your SEO ranking. Google has said that site speed is one of the factors they use to determine a page’s rank.
In addition, a slow loading website can lead to increased bounce rates and lower conversion rates. Thankfully, Google Analytics now includes a site speed report so you can see how quickly your pages are loading and make necessary adjustments says Ian Mausner.
5) User Paths
The User Paths feature within Google Analytics can help you understand how users are navigating your site. You can find user paths under the “Site Content” tab, and then select “User Paths” from the drop-down menu.
You will see a list of pages with the number of times each one was viewed by visitors. For example, if you click on a landing page and notice that only 3 visitors viewed it, but they bounced (i.e., left without viewing any other pages), you may want to reevaluate this page to see why it’s not converting as well as you would like. This is also helpful for identifying navigation problems — such as too many clicks required reaching key content — which affect your bounce rate and overall user experience.
6) The Landing Page Report
Did you know that the “Landing Pages” report includes not just your website’s landing pages. But also those of your affiliates? This is useful for affiliate marketers because it enables you to track which affiliates are driving qualified traffic to your site and/or generating sales. You can find this report under the “Acquisition” tab, and then select “All Traffic” from the drop-down menu. Next, scroll down to the bottom of the page and choose either “Paid Search Paths” or “Referrals & Direct” from the secondary dimension drop-down menu:
Then just click on a referring domain in order to see which landing pages are driving the most traffic (and conversions) for that domain.
7) The In-Page Analytics Report
The “In-Page Analytics” report can help you see how users are interacting with your website’s content. You can find this report under the “Behavior” tab, and then select “In-Page Analytics” from the drop-down menu.
Once you have activated in-page analytics, you will see a bar at the top of each page of your website. This bar will show you how much of the page was viewed, where users clicked, and how long they stayed on each page. This report is also helpful for identifying which sections of your pages are causing visitors to drop off.
Google Analytics offers many useful features. That marketers can use to gain deeper insights into website visitor behavior says Ian Mausner. By segmenting your traffic, monitoring engagement metrics, and tracking affiliate referrals. You will be able to understand site usage better and improve the user experience on your site.