Google Analytics: default reports and their purposes

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If you’re here, I am assuming that you have Google Analytics setup.

If not, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started.

With Google Analytics, you immediately gain access to a list of out-of-the-box reports once you’re done setting it up.

These reports can provide a great deal of insights for newcomers, helping them to better understand their websites.

These reports belong to 3 main categories:

  • Audience
  • Acquisition
  • Behavior

1. Audience

The Audience reports provide us with more information about our audience.

It is very important that we know who are we attracting to our website. We want to make sure that our contents cater to the right audience!

This is also a good opportunity to confirm or challenge our assumptions on who are our target audiences.

Example: retirement-related products

In the past, we would conveniently assume that only older people would be interested in retirement. Is that still the case?

With education being abundant now, it is not uncommon to find young people already planning for their own retirement.

With proper Audience insights, we no longer have to guess who should we be catering to, allowing us to build effective marketing strategies.

What business questions can this answer?

  • How many users do we have?
  • Where are the users coming from?
  • Which group of users represent the majority?
  • Are we catering to a young audience or an older one?
  • How often are the users coming back to our website?
  • How are users accessing our website? Through their desktop or mobile?

2. Acquisition

Acquisition reports provide us with more information about the traffics that are coming to our websites, such as the volume and quality.

Here, you can find out which of your campaigns are performing well and hopefully replicate the same success in future marketing efforts.

By identifying the channels that are driving traffics to your website, you might discover unexpected sources, leading to potential partnership with fellow bloggers.

What business questions can this answer?

  • What is the breakdown of our traffics?
  • Are the traffics mainly from organic searches or paid media?
  • Where are the traffics coming from? Is there any other blog or forum helping to drive traffics to our site?
  • How are our campaigns performing?

3. Behavior

Behavior reports provide us with information on what the users are doing on our website.

Besides knowing how many users do we have, we also want to know what kind of contents do they like, and how are they interacting with our site.

A basic GA setup will give us a great overview on the users’ browsing behavior.

If you want more, an advanced setup can go further to tell us how often a video has been played or how often a button has been clicked.

Example: travel insurance

We have a form where users can fill up to purchase a travel insurance. We realized that the online sales figure is not up to our expectation.

In the past, the typical solution will be to perform a page overhaul. But, do we actually need that?

Diving into the data

Thanks to the Behavior insights we have, we were able to find out how many times has the form been accessed, and also the number of users moving on to the next step till completion.

With these numbers on hand, we came up with the observations below:

  • We have a lot of users accessing the form, but few went on to complete a purchase.
  • From step 2 to step 3, majority of the users dropped out (89%).
  • From step 4 to completion, user dropoff rate is very low (13%).

From the data, we quickly identified the problem area: step 2 to step 3.

With that, we carried out further investigation and realized that the main reason for the high dropoff was actually a form field glitch. It was stopping users from completing the form!

We quickly fixed the validation logic behind the affected form field and continued monitoring. Subsequent results showed significant reduction in the dropoff rate.

We managed to save time and money by avoiding a costly overhaul that would not have solved our backend issues.

What business questions can this answer?

  • Which are the most visited pages?
  • Which contents are the most popular among our users?
  • What are the most common pages that users are landing on?
  • Which pages do users usually exit from our website?
  • What is the % of users who are actively engaged?

4. Conclusion

The out-of-the-box reports will answer most of the simple business questions you have in mind.

But if you are looking for deeper insights, you will most likely require customized reports and Google Analytics is not the best tool for that purpose.

For advanced analytics need, we recommend you take a look at Adobe Analytics.

About Zenny Tan Zhong Ming 32 Articles
Let's connect on LinkedIn ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/zenny-tan-zhong-ming ).

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