Simple Tips to Get More Out of Analytics

I’ve been doing some analytics consulting work for several local PBS Stations for the past few weeks.  All of these sites have implemented Google Analytics, but they all have a very basic implementation.  So, here are three simple tips to get a little more value out of Google Analytics.

1. Use Profiles to Divide Up and Analyze Your Site

Profiles take your Google Analytics data and apply a number of “filters” to the data to get just the parts you want.  They can be useful to help you understand sub-sets of your traffic. You can create profiles that contain traffic for parts of your site or that contain traffic from particular sources. For instance, if you are a joint licensee, you may want to understand how the behavior of your TV visitors compares to that of you radio visitors.  You can create one profile that contains just the traffic to your TV pages and one profile that contains just the traffic to your Radio pages. Now, how are those users different? How are they the same? 

Google allows you to create up to 50 profiles per account. Profiles only collect data from the day they are created, and you will need to be an admin to create them.  

2. Create and Use Advanced Segments

Advanced segments let you slice and dice your visitors.  You can create a segment of users on the fly and apply it to almost any report in Google Analytics. Google has created a set of predefined segments, and you can create any other segments that you like.  

Let’s say that you want to understand how Social Media Visitors are using your site. You can create your own Social Media Visitors Segment using Advanced Segments.  On the top of any Google Analytics report, click on Advanced Segments and then click on Create a New Advanced Segment.  Use the editor to drag the conditions you want to include in your segment.  In this case, let’s click on Traffic Sources and drag Source to the editor.  Then we will select containing and type facebook in the value box. To add Twitter, click on Add “Or” Statement, and repeat the same steps, typing twitter in the value box. Repeat this process for each site you want to include. Name your segment “Social Media Visitors” and click Save.  Your segment is now available in the Advanced Segments dropdown and can be applied to any report and to any data available in your account.

3. Create a Goal.

Google Analytics allows you to create up to 20 goals per profile.  A goal is typically completed when a user reaches a certain page. You can also create an engagement goal when a user exceeds a certain number of pages in a visit or a certain amount of time on site.  

Let’s say the average number of pages viewed per visit on our site is 3 and we want to see what percent of visits exceed that benchmark.  We can create an engagement goal to do that. In the Profile Settings, click edit and find the Goals section in the middle of the page. Click Add a Goal in one of the sets. Name your goal Page Depth Greater Than 3. Make sure the goal is on. Select the goal type “Pages/Visit”. Set the Goal Details to Pages Viewed Greater Than 3 and Save.

Now you can view all of your reports by the goal conversion.  You can see what percent of your traffic completes this goal. You can see which referring sites are better at sending you engaged traffic than others. You can even see which content your engaged visitors are using.

You need to be an admin to create a goal, but once it is set up, everyone can use the data.

Hopefully these tips will help you flex your Google Analytics muscle and gain more insight to your site’s visitors.