How to Navigate Google Analytics Like A Pro

Few things are harder to follow than a presentation with too many numbers on slide after slide…after slide. My Data Analytics Professor, Brian Berger stressed, “you have to be able to tell a story.” The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.  Being able to influence and “sell” decisions created from the data is everything.

From asking someone out on a date to applying for a job, or making a pitch to a potential client, each situation requires you to influence others to make a particular decision.

At Yalo, we are constantly tracking, tweaking and sharing data. Finding ways to fine tune our own marketing strategies enables us to sharpen the toolbox for our clients. We develop content, test campaigns, and create data reports to monitor engagement. What we share with our team must be easy to collect and decipher.

Using Google Analytics and Google’s Data Studio, we leverage the platform to include reports and analysis for:

  • Realtime Data
  • Audience Data
  • Acquisition Data
  • Behavior Data 
  • Conversions Data

With these tools you are able to segment data and analyze each point on its own. Here are Yalo’s seven key takeaways and tips to help you navigate Google Analytics like a pro.

Realtime Data from Google Analytics involves the location of your traffic, the source, the content being viewed, event action, and conversions. For example, one-day promotions for e-commerce sites can be followed to track real-time reports. This helps you understand how people are finding those promotions, where they are coming from, what items interest consumers, and where they get lost in the funnel.

Audience Overview allows you to analyze age and gender, the technology being used, and their behavior and engagement on a website. Utilizing this tool is crucial in understanding reactions from consumers to your marketing strategies. The web traffic showcases engagement from various locations throughout the country that can assist larger retailers in analyzing reasons for expansion.

Acquisition Overview breaks down how your traffic is reaching a website. There are six channels that enable consumers to find a site:

  • Direct traffic. When someone types in your site address or if they’ve bookmarked your site/clicked on a link from an email.
  • Organic Search. Refers to visits stemming from search results.
  • Social. Links shared on social channels that direct visitors to your site.
  • Retargeting. Cookie-based technology that retargets your ads on other sites your visitors view.
  • Referral. When another site has a link that sends people to your site when they click on it.
  • Paid Search. When someone gets to your site by clicking on a paid search result.
What is driving visitors to your website? Are they viewing your website on their laptop or while on the go on their phone?

Multi-Channel Marketing focuses on utilizing the channels to extend your reach cost effectively and efficiently. For a company such as Birdogs that has a younger demographic, focusing efforts toward their social channels is important. Their desire is to continue to gain popularity throughout high school and college campuses as well as 20-somethings throughout the country. Multi-Channel Funnels show how marketing channels work together to spread awareness of a brand with the hope of increasing sales and conversions. 

Behavior Overview showcases how consumers view a website, including how they shift throughout the website or drop off entirely. These factors play a huge role in our work for Hissho Sushi. The behavior overview focuses on page views, unique page views, average time on a page, bounce rate, and exit rate. Pinpointing what page drives engagement versus those that hold little interest, and what users search for on the site ranging from information to products offered. From this you are able to enhance a visitor’s experience by streamlining information, showcasing your company, and integrating platforms such as google maps to assist your customers in finding where to shop for your products.

A close up of a map

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Conversions Data focuses more on a company’s e-commerce and multi-channel funnel goals. Are site objectives being met? What is the relationship between marketing campaigns, user engagement, and transactions? Have expectations been met? This data is vital in testing and measuring how close you are to your target objectives.

These are just the first steps in improving websites built by Yalo for clients from Back To Nature to Primrose Schools and M&T Bank. Analyzing these points of data help us deliver the best user experience for their prospects and existing customers.

Google Data Studio

This enables you to share reports from any date range with your colleagues and clients in real-time, despite your industry, including:

  • Behavior
  • Audience 
  • Acquisition

Overviews should be analyzed to determine what aspects of strategies are successful and where those strategies fall short. Google Data Studio includes a wide range of charts such as:

  • Regular & Pivot Tables
  • Scorecards
  • Time Series
  • Bar Graphs
  • Pie Charts
  • Geo & Google Maps
  • Line Graphs
  • Area & Scatter Graphs
  • Tree-maps

These charts can be utilized to show a month-long view of page views or a break down of traffic by its Source/Medium over the course of a few weeks. Scorecards can quickly highlight metrics such as average session duration, bounce rate, and unique page views so that everyone can understand and recognize performance metrics. 

Google Analytics also offers a feature to help filter data segments in several ways. Want to only see how a website performs in a certain region? Create a segment where data comes from a specific segment by excluding all other traffic in that view. Need to understand where people are dropping off from Memorial Day sale promotions? Create a segment only showing traffic from a multi-channel marketing strategy that drove consumers to your site. 

Segmenting data into digestible information is exactly what Google Data Studio offers. From capturing real-time data, to comparing current results to the previous year, or reviewing improvements made over several months. Are the majority of consumers viewing a website on their laptop or mobile device, are they Edge or Chrome users, is the money you’re using for paid search increasing leads or going down the drain? It even determines if outlier traffic is a success or a bot traffic invasion. 

Data tells a story. Numbers on their own can be overwhelming to any audience. But you can use the right tools to build and shape your story. Let us help you create a dialogue that keeps your visitors turning the pages.