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Analytics – What is it and Why you NEED it! – Part Three - November 12, 2012

If you missed our previous post you can find it here:

Okay, so in our last post we covered the basics of what you see when you enter the Google Analytics page. I told you by default how the calendar went to the last 30 calendar days for numbers. You can click in the upper right hand corner to change the date range.

This allows you to see a larger segment of information. Once you have been using Analytics over a year you will be able to use the Compare to and see how your site is doing versus the same period a year ago and compare how your current numbers look against the historic numbers.

Since we have the screen shot up, and I must say I am using the newer layout version so this layout may change in the future as well but for right now this SHOULD be what you see. The menu to the left has the main areas and we will go over what these areas mean. Please keep in mind these numbers for the following segments are only for the Calendar Period you selected.

  • Audience:
    • Demographics:
      • Language is what the user has set to the language via the browser settings so you can see what languages your site is being viewed in. The more people that access your site the more your languages will increase. Keep in mind since this tracks everyone that looks at your site, this will include those that might go there looking to SPAM you so if you see some foreign languages that could be a spammer or a new client base.
      • Location is a map overview to show what countries are viewing your site. You will see color coded countries and by mousing over any of those countries you will see the numbers.
  • Behavior:
    • New vs. Returning is exactly what it says. It will show you the numbers color coded and in a few different ways.
    • Frequency & Recency breaks down each user by the number of visits and gives you information such as Visits, Pageviews and Percentage of total. This is useful to see where your typical users fall and will allow you to decide if you need to change the scope of your site to capitalize on how people are using your site.
    • Engagement is a breakdown on visit duration. This tells you how the Visits and Pageviews fall and what percentage of your users fall into that category. Depending on the type of site you have a visitor staying a minute might be fantastic for you but bad for another person.?? This is where you need to make sure your site design is translating to your ROI and what you determine as successful. Blogs and stores will have higher numbers while a static website might have lower numbers. That is due to changing content and the way the site is designed to be used.
  • Technology
    • Browser & OS shows exactly what Browser someone is using and what the operating system is. This can tell you who is using Windows & IE to use view your site. You can click on the link (Internet Explorer for instance) to get a breakdown of who is using IE 7, 8, 9, etc. to view your website. This is something you use to see how users are seeing your site and to make sure you can communicate this to your developer. If 30% of your users are using Chrome then you want to make sure your developer has tested your site (and you too) in Chrome to see how it renders. IMPORTANT – developer dislike IE6 due to it being buggy and severely limiting your clients experience. If you have a site with many IE 6 users you may want to put in a message suggesting they upgrade their browser to a better supported version. IE 6 was released in 2001 so it is over 10 years old. I would NEVER recommend developing a site that is limited by technology written 10 years ago so don’t feel you have to make your site IE 6 friendly. It would limit what you offer and also limit what your users experience. IE 7 was released in 2006 so you can support it if you like. I recommend you at least support IE 8 and IE 9 and build for the future with backwards compatibility where needed.
    • Network shows what ISP (Internet Service Provider) is being used to access your site. Not really helpful but you can see some Larger Companies that have their own network name for the Internet Service.
  • Mobile
    • Devices will tell you what mobile devices are being used to access your site. There will be many of them and depending on the need you may want to pay a developer to design a “mobile” website or at least ensure your site has a “responsive design”
    • Personally I recommend that you have a responsive website design. This offers the most flexibility and also will not have analytics keeping track of two sets of information for each page.
  • Custom
    • Once you are more familiar with Google Analytics you can define your own variables here you want to track.
  • Visitors Flow
    • Newer service where you can see where people enter your site and where they go from there. You can identify where the visit drops off, your popular pages, and how they are finding you. Essential to make sure you content flow is actually as you intended it. If it is off this is where you contact your developer and come up with a good “call to action” to use on your popular pages and how to improve the site to make sure the actual site flow works as you intended it.

This concludes the Audience section. Stay tuned there is more to come as we cover the Traffic Sources and Content Section sections.

You can read our Traffic Sources Section here!