Your Ultimate Guide to the Basics of Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an incredibly valuable free tool that is provided by Google themselves. Utilizing it gives you the opportunity to dive deeper into who your customer is and how they behave on the site. It’s important to understand this data because you can have all the information in the world, but if you don’t know what it is and how to use it, it’s worthless. By becoming familiar with GA you will have a leg up on the competition and help provide a better user experience for visitors. I want to go over some of my top used reports from each section in Google Analytics to help with analysis and decision making.

The Basics

• The search bar > top left: This is a great tool if you want to find something specific but don’t remember where it lives in the vast left navigation. Simply type in what you’re looking for and it will provide you with multiple options.


• Demographics > Overview: This section allows you to find more generalities about your customer base. You can see averages on visitors’ ages and genders to help you carve your marketing strategies to better align with who’s shopping on your site. How you market to women ages 25-34 and to women 65+ will be very different, so it’s important to have a better idea of who they are.

• Behavior > New vs Returning: The name says it all: in this report you can see who is a new customer and who is a returning customer. This helps show how many people are coming back to your site and who is brand new. This gives more details into your different marketing strategies and if they are working.

• Mobile > Overview: This section can be very helpful because you can see if your visitors are using desktop, mobile and tablet devices, and to what percentage. This can help troubleshoot conversion issues by pinpointing a popular device and its conversion rate. Then you can isolate testing to find any issues on only that device. That way troubleshooting is specific and efficient.


• Overview: This is a great dashboard of all your channels of marketing and how they are performing down the conversion funnel. You can see how the site acquired them, how they behaved while on the site and those who converted.

• All Traffic > Channels: This is a bit more expanded out version of the overview section I mentioned above. However, above the graph on the left there is a link that says “Ecommerce.” If you click into that, you can see a nice breakdown of each channel of marketing and how they performed with ecommerce metrics.

• AdWords: If you are running a paid search campaign you can link your AdWords account to your Google Analytics. That way you can stay in one location to get a good amount of data from those efforts too. Of course, the most data will be right in AdWords and you won’t be able to make any campaign adjustments from this view. It’s just a helpful way to pull information without toggling between two tabs.

• Social > Network Referrals: This section allows you to see which social network drove traffic to your site, how many pages they viewed and how long they browsed for. This is great data because Social Media campaigns are so important for SEO purposes and to build an online community of loyal customers. By understanding which ones are engaging, you can shift your efforts to that network and be a part of the conversation!


• Site content > Landing Pages: This report shows you what pages on your site visitors are landing on. This traffic and be from multiple options like direct links, bookmarked pages and of course organic or paid results in the search engines. Be sure to note that /default.asp is your homepage too, so that’s typically a top contender. Use this data to find very popular pages that are deeper within your site.

• Site Search > Overview: In order to use this graph you have to enable site search. Once it’s enabled you can see what search queries visitors are looking for within your site’s search tool. This report can help you see popular products on your site, but it can also show you if the site isn’t intuitive and visitors are having to default to the search bar because they can’t find what they’re looking for.


• Ecommerce > Overview: A great overview of how the site performed in sales. You can see the rate at which they converted, number of transactions, total revenue and average purchase price for each order, and so on. This is a great dashboard of your site’s performance!

• Ecommerce > Product Performance: As a store owner you most likely have a great understanding of what your customers have purchased and what your top sellers are. This report shows you an easily digestible breakdown of each product purchased.

• Multi-channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions: Think about when you purchase a product, more times than not you shop around or come back to the site a few times before buying something. This report shows all of the channels of marketing and how they assisted in that final purchase. A visitor might find a site with an organic search result but ultimately purchase through a PPC ad. This is important to understand because although the organic ad wouldn’t receive credit for this purchase, the purchase wouldn’t have happened without its

Make sure to when discovering these reports you adjust the date range at the top right of the site to get a month, quarter, year or custom date range. Have fun with it too! You can’t break any of the data by clicking on reports or adjusting filters and/or views. I hope by getting to know your data more you can make educated decisions with site or marketing modifications.

Have any questions about Google Analytics? Post them in the comments below!