There’s so much on offer in Google Analytics that it can feel quite daunting when you first encounter it. Worry not, because here’s our comprehensive guide to getting around Analytics and getting the best from it.
Analytics Home dashboard: An overview
When you log into your Analytics account, you should see your account Home page; switch to the Home tab if not. By default, this screen shows you a list of all of your Properties, with a handy overview of their performance – click “Show Sessions” if session information is not shown.
If you’ve set up a lot of Properties, you can filter the view by only selecting those you wish to view: click the star to the left of a site to select it before clicking the star button next to “Show” at the top of the list hide all unselected items from view. Remove items from view by clicking their star button again, or click “All” next to Show to view all Properties again.
Clicking the name of a Property allows you to navigate to its own screen, but before you do that, let’s take a closer look at what this overview page can tell you.
By default, the overview page displays information for the last 30 days. Click the date range to select a custom period or to compare the currently displayed period with a previous one. The percentage change in each metric will be shown for easy comparison.
A session is a fundamental concept of Analytics, and is used as the basis for various metrics and reports. It’s like a single visit, which might contain lots of interactions – clicks, page views and events – or just a single page view. By default, a session times out after 30 minutes of inactivity – you can set a custom time if you prefer – or at the end of the day, as defined by your site’s time zone setting.
Average session duration
This is a simple measure of how long users are spending on the site. Remember, though, that it won’t tell you how active or engaged they are while they’re using the site.
This metric measures the percentage of sessions that begin and end on the same page without the user interacting with the page. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – you have a single-page site, for example, of it might indicate that your visitors can quickly find the information they’re looking for and don’t need to search elsewhere on your site. However, for most business sites it’s not desirable because it demonstrates that users aren’t selecting products and taking them to the next stage of the purchase process. Note that if it’s a single-page site, it won’t bounce rate won’t indicate if users are viewing video content or otherwise interacting with the page: to find out, you need to implement other kinds of tracking, such as Events. If you are experiencing a high bounce rate, it maybe worth considering how to reduce this with an online Google Analytics training from Imparture.
Goal Conversion rate
You can set different types of Goals for a site, and these can relate to any of four things:
- Duration: a session lasts a specified time or longer.
- Pages/Screens per session: a user views a specified number of pages or screens.
- Destination: a user arrives at a specified location in the site.
- Event: a specific action occurs, such as a button click or the play of a video.
The first two types are straightforward to define, while Destination and Event Goals require some more details to set up. Once you’ve set up any type of Goal, however, the overview screen will display what percentage of sessions included the successful completion of a Goal (a “conversion”).
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