There are a myriad of verify useful reports contained in Google Analytics. On the 29th of May Arrows Up’s Managing Director Helen Pollitt ran through a few of her key reports as part of our Tea Time SEO series. If you missed her talk you can rewatch it at any time on our YouTube channel or have a look at the slideshow.
1. Realtime Reports
The brilliance of the Realtime reports lies in how quickly they display data in Google Analytics. With the standard, free version of Google Analytics you might not see the other reports populated with data for 24 hours after a hit is made. The Real Time reports record hits within seconds.
The slight caveat to this is that mobile hits are batched to conserve battery power, therefore you might not see those hits tracking quite in real time. Also, due to the way Google Analytics tracks hits through the Realtime reports some traffic only reports as coming from the “direct” channel. However, when the data populates into the other reports in Google Analytics it will be corrected.
What to use Realtime reports for
Due to the almost instantaneous way that Google Analytics reports on hits in the Realtime reports it makes it a great way to check and debug your analytics set-up. This can be particularly helpful if you are migrating a website. No-one wants to wait 24 hours to see if their tracking is correct when launching a site.
It is also a quick way to check if your filters are working. Trying to exclude your own IP address from registering hits? Implement the filter on your “testing” view and go to your website. The Realtime report will register the hits from your visit if the IP filter isn’t working.
In the same way you can easily check event tracking and goal configuration. The speed at which events will fire and pull through to the “Events” report in the Realtime section means you can see within seconds of triggering an event if Google Analytics is reporting it correctly.
Realtime reports aren’t just useful for seeing if Google Analytics is reporting well. It can also be an effective way of keeping tabs on your recently launched campaigns. If you have conducted outreach and want to see if the links are being picked up and visited then you can see within seconds what referral source is driving traffic to your site.
In the same way, the “Location” report within the Realtime section can help you to determine if your social media, email or other campaigns are being viewed in the countries you are targeting. This allows for course correction if you are seeing them driving traffic from countries that aren’t your primary focus.
2. Site Search
The Site Search report gives you information on what keywords your website visitors are using on your site.
No one enjoys using the search functionality on websites. We’ve been so spoiled by the experience of searching on the likes of Google that other website’s search often seem clunky and unhelpful. This means if visitors to your site are having to use the search functionality to find content on your site, you either don’t have that content or it can’t easily be found.
What to use Site Search reports for
These GA reports under the Site Search category in “Behaviour” fall into three types:
- Search Terms
- Search Pages
- The Usage report tells you what percentage of visits to your site included a site search and what percentage did not. In essence, it gives you an understanding of how bad your navigation is. A large percentage of users needing to use site search shows there’s a problem with your content or how it can be reached. Use this and the following two reports to identify how you can improve the user journey on your site.
- The Search Terms report tells you which keywords are being used in the searches. If you see a common thread of a particular product or service you offer being frequently searched for then you know that visitors can’t easily find it on the site. You may also see keywords being used for products you don’t currently sell or that you don’t have content for. This can give you an idea of the appetite for introducing new product/service ranges, or at the very least, creating the content that your visitors are after.
- The Search Pages report tells you which pages visitors were on when they started using the site search functionality. This can help you to streamline user journeys through the site. If you can see that Product A is often searched for from the Home page then consider adding a more prominent link to Product A from the Home page.
3. Multi-Channel Funnels
The final reports sit under Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels.
First up is the “Assisted Conversions” report. This shows you how different marketing channels contributed to conversions on your site. In the other reports that detail goal completions in Google Analytics the data populates based on the “Last non-direct click” model. This is where goals are only registered for a particular channel, e.g. organic, when the converting user arrived on the site for the final time before converting via that channel. For instance, if a user found out about a website via an organic search, visited the site and left again to return a couple of days later via a PPC advert and then bought something, the PPC advert would be credited with the sale.
The “Assisted Conversions” report allows you to see how channels contribute to sales even if they are not the last channel used before a conversion.
4. Top Conversion Paths report
This details the common combination of channels used to lead to a conversion. For instance, it might be that visitors routinely arrive on the site through an organic search, return due to retargeting and then complete a goal. This GA report allows you to identify what combination of marketing endeavours work well together to lead to a goal completion.
Reasons to use Assisted Conversions and Top Conversion Paths reports
- In combination these two GA reports are a great way of identifying how effective a marketing channel is. For example, it might be that your hard work with SEO has only led to an increase in 50 goal completions in a month year on year.
- Using the Multi-Channel Funnel reports you can identify how organic traffic has assisted in conversions.
- This data can be used to help justify budget increases, carrying out more aggressive SEO campaigns as well as simply exemplifying how great you are at your job!
We hope you enjoyed this summary and thanks Helen for your time. We have more great tips from our experts on our blog. Have a look at Dylan Adamek’s view on What is a Bad Link? Assessing Your Links in 2020 or How much content do you need to rank? – by Martyna Walas.
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