5 things you didn’t know you could learn from Google Analytics
Google Analytics houses a lot of information, and it can be difficult – and often intimidating! – to try to sort through all that data and find what’s useful for you. We understand the difficulty of navigating Analytics, but we also strongly endorse the use of it to understand your audience, analyze your content, and optimize your website for better results. Here are our top five things you may not know you could learn from Google Analytics:
1) Page load time
What is it? Page load time is the time it takes for a given web page to load. You can find data on page load times under Behavior > Site Speed > Page Timings.
Why does it matter? Page load time affects user experience more than you might think — the longer it takes for your pages to load, the more potential visitors will leave your site. It’s frustrating and boring for users to wait for pages to load, and it takes them out of their browsing mindset, which can interrupt their interest in your content. This can also be an underlying factor if you have a high bounce rate — people may leave your site before even seeing it. In short, page load time is a big factor for getting viewers to your site (and stay there).
For example, we found that our bounce rate on our own website was much higher on mobile than desktop, and discovered that our mobile site took significantly longer to load than our normal desktop site. We took some steps to fix the page loading time, and our bounce rate improved!
2) Technology & Device
What is it? Speaking of our mobile bounce rate, Analytics measures data on the browsers and devices your site visitors use. To find Technology & Device stats, go to Audience > Technology, and Audience > Mobile > Device.
Why does it matter? When you’re building or editing a website, knowing how your audience accesses your site can help you to optimize for your specific visitors. For example, if 90% of your visitors use Chrome, it makes sense to focus on optimizing your site for Chrome.
You can also find out how long your site takes to load on different browsers under “Overview”. This information, combined with data on your viewers’ browsers & devices (Audience > User Explorer > Technology) can help you optimize your site for your specific audience.
3) Paths to Conversions
What is it?
A path to conversion is the route a website visitor takes through your site before converting. Google Analytics documents these paths and shows the most popular ones. You can find them under Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Top Conversion Paths.
Why does it matter? Once you understand users’ likely paths to conversion, you can make those routes easier and more seamless, and you’ll better understand what content you should create and promote. For example, if there’s one entrance point that leads to the most conversions, you’ll want to promote that content on Facebook for better results.
4) Time on page
What is it? This one’s pretty self-explanatory — it’s the average time users spend on a given page on your site. You can find time on page (and a lot of other useful information about visitor habits) under Behavior > Pages > All Pages & Content Drilldown.
Why does it matter? Time on page tells you what content on your site is compelling and interesting to your site visitors, and what’s not. This can help you to promote the content that works well, and know what content needs work.
5) Exit Pages
What is it? “Exit page” is Google’s term for the point of your website where a visitor leaves. You can find your site’s most common exit pages at Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages.
Why does it matter? Your most common exit pages – unless they’re a “thank-you” page after a conversion – are usually the pages that are least engaging and compelling to visitors. Understanding which pages users spend the most time on, and which ones they most often leave from, helps you not only know what content needs work, but also helps you to better understand your audience.
BONUS: If you use Tracking URLs, here’s even more information you can find on Google Analytics:
Navigate to Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns to find all of your data from tracking URLs. This will tell you all the information about each page linked and the source, all in one simple page.
- Source – how many visitors used each source to your page (which tells you platforms work best for the same content)
- Quick & Easy breakdown of time on page, pageviews, etc. for each page visited using tracking URLs
Want to learn more about Google Analytics? Check out our handy beginners’ guide here!
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As CMG’s Crafter of Strategic Communication, Amy Libka combines strategy and creativity to help clients communicate as effectively as possible. She is passionate about clear, effective communication, and enjoys crafting messages that help individuals and groups achieve their goals. She specializes in creating content and managing digital advertising campaigns for a diverse group of clients.