Google Analytics for Beginners

Closeup of two laptops showing Google Analytics

By this point, everyone’s vaguely heard of Google Analytics, but not many people take advantage of this amazing and free tool.

In a nutshell, Google Analytics is a great website analytics tool that helps you track and analyse your website traffic. This helps you understand how many people are coming to your website, where they’re coming from, and how you can optimise your web traffic strategy. 

In this post, we won’t bother telling you the many reasons you should be using Google Analytics (and trust us, there’s plenty!). We’re going to walk you through the platform so you can see how it will best work for you and your business goals. So let’s get started on our beginners guide to Google Analytics! 

Home

Once you’ve installed Google Analytics onto your website, you’ll be taken to your central dashboard, which will give you an overview of your website performance. Here, you’ll see the number of overall and active users and other broad website analytics. If you scroll down, you’ll see the traffic is broken down into other segments as well.

Google Analytics home dashboard overview

Audience

Overview

On the left side of your dashboard, you’ll see an option for Reports. Click on Audience, then Overview. Alternatively, you can also select the Audience Overview option that’s on the Home page. Here, you get more in-depth information on the metrics you saw on your homepage. You can segment the data based on multiple criteria, depending on what kind of information you need.

Google Analytics Audience Overview

This page will give you a basic breakdown of four key metrics:

  • Users, which means the number of people who visited your site 
  • Sessions, or the interactions the user has with your pages  
  • Bounce rate, which measures the percentage of people landing on your page and navigating away without a single interaction. 
  • Session duration, which broadly measures the amount of time a user is spending on your website. Pro tip: You want this number to be high!

The more you scroll down, you’ll get a breakdown of where your users are coming from, where they’re from, what devices they’re using to access your website, and the most visited pages on your website. But we’ll get more into that as we go along.

Time Selection

In the top right corner, you’ll see a date range. You can pick the time period for which you want to see the data. You can customize that range by clicking on the downward arrow, and even compare it with another set of dates, which will give you a better point of reference. 

Geography Overview

Go back to the Audience option and underneath that, select Geo, then Location. This gives you a breakup of your site visitor demographics by country, city, and language. This will give you an insight into what kind of people are visiting you and how you can make their user experience better. Even as simple as knowing the cities they’re from helps you know your audience more. 

Screenshot of Geo overview in Google Analytics
Technology Overview

This helps you see what browsers, operating systems, and even the screen resolution they’re using to view your website. Remember, it’s very easy to scroll away from a website and lose a potential conversion. With these insights, you’ll have a better idea of who your customer is and how your website looks to them, which means you can make the necessary adjustments so their experience is better. 

Screenshot of technology breakup of audience in Google Analytics

These are some of the higher-level metrics. You can play around in this category to get in-depth insights into your visitors so you can best optimize their experience. We recommend that beginners to Google Analytics take time to understand what these metrics mean so you can apply them to your marketing strategy. 

Acquisition

Here’s the fun part! Now that you have a better idea of how many users you’re getting, you get to see where they’re coming from. And no, that doesn’t mean the country! This option tells you what sources the traffic is coming from, which helps you understand how people are finding your website. 

Similar to the last section, simply go to Reports and select Acquisition, then go to Overview. 

Overview

Here, the data is divided into different traffic sources.

Screenshot of traffic sources in Google Analytics

For Google Analytics beginners, here’s a simple guide:

Direct

These are visitors who have either typed your website URL in and arrived directly. This is a great indicator of your brand’s strength. People aren’t searching for similar companies, they’re looking for you. It also gives you a better idea of what pages people are landing on first 

Search

This refers to people who have conducted a search on a search engine, like Google, and have clicked on the links that have shown up. This is divided into organic and paid, where organic traffic is simply any search engine traffic that has no paid efforts, unlike paid traffic, which has advertising money involved.

Social

As the name suggests, this tracks traffic from social sources, like Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Quora, etc. Again, always good to know which platforms are helping you get the most website traffic and where you need to adapt your social media strategy.

Referral

This is traffic coming from links from different websites. It’s good to keep an eye on this as well. It helps you see what other sites are linking to your website, which, in turn, allows you to understand where your audience is finding you. 

Other

This is all other sources of traffic that don’t fall into any of the categories mentioned above. This can also include traffic from emailers. It’s a good idea to go into this further to see what are possible additions to your marketing efforts. 

We’ll stop here for now. Hopefully these were enough reasons to convince you to make Google Analytics your new best friend. Now, you’re no longer Google Analytics beginners, you’re on your way to becoming pros!

Whenever you’re ready to get started on your digital strategy, drop us a line at hello@estoot.com!


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