Want to know more about your customers? Google Analytics is a great place to start. While there’s a lot of data you can glean from this free tool, I say you start with the following points, because they provide some great insight into who’s visiting your site and how they found you.
1. Number of Visits
You need to know how many people are visiting your website, and you should compare this number over time. Ideally, it will go up if you’re doing a good job of marketing your website. Analytics, by default, gives you a snapshot of how many visitors your site has had in the last 30 days, but you can customize it to show different date ranges or compare date ranges.
How to find it: As soon as you log into Analytics, you’ll be shown a page with all your websites (if you have more than one). Next to a site, it shows “Sessions.” That’s the number of times your site was visited over 30 days.
Google Analytics can provide insight into who your visitors are. Knowing, for example, that 30% of your visitors are aged 25-34, and 55% are women, is information you can use to tweak your marketing to better target this group. You can also see “Interests,” which show other topics your visitors have searched for. Knowing their interests may also help you target your content better.
How to find it: On the lefthand sidebar, click “Audience.” You’ll be taken to an overview page that shows basic data on age groups, gender, and interests. You can click the subcategories for more detail.
3. Where Traffic is Coming From
It’s important for you to know what sites are referring the most traffic to your site. You can see both general categories of referrals (social media or organic search, for example) and specific sites where people click links to your site. Once you know which sites send you more traffic, you can put more efforts there.
For instance: as I’m researching data for this post, I’m looking at Analytics for one of my sites. I see that StumbleUpon is sending me a lot of traffic, so I’m going to put more marketing power there.
How to find it: On that left sidebar, click “Acquisition,” then “Overview.” Here you’ll see those general categories. If you want details, click “Source/Medium.”
4. Your Most Popular Pages
What do people do once they land on your site? Do they quickly leave if they don’t find what they’re looking for, or do they look around? What pages are people viewing the most? Looking at “Behavior,” you can answer all of these questions. On the Overview page of Behavior, you can see your Bounce Rate, which tells you what percent of people left after visiting your homepage. The lower this is, the more people are clicking around your site, and that’s good.
You can also see the average time people spend on your site. Here, the longer, the better. You can also see which specific pages more people are visiting. This is useful especially if you’re trying to determine which products are the most popular, or which blog post topics people care most about.
How to find it: On the left, click “Behavior,” then “Overview” for Bounce Rate and Time Spent. Click “Content Drilldown” for details on specific pages’ popularity.
All this data is really simple to review in Google Analytics, and will be invaluable in helping you better target your customers.