Google Analytics, Top tips for your website

In the coming year, based on current announcements, Google Analytics is set to go through an almost unprecedented amount of evolution. My postulation is that by this time next year the tool will be almost unrecognizable. [My favorite is Visitor Analytics, and visitor level segmentation that will be pervasive throughout the product. This is insanely cool.]

But it turns out Google Analytics, just like SiteCatalyst, WebTrends, and other web analytics tools, already has plenty of pretty valuable deeply insightful stuff in it. Yet so few people have mastered what’s already there. Sometimes I wonder if we should actually be all that excited about the insanely cool stuff if the sanely cool stuff remains unmastered.

As we hopefully look forward to an exciting year, let’s take a moment to address the latter challenge. Allow me to help you with your resolution of mastering the sanely cool stuff!

One way to do it is for me to just tell you what my top ten Google Analytics reports are that you could familiarize yourself with. The problem is that you’ll know where to go, but not what to look for when you get there.

Each selection by me of a top ten (standard!) report in Google Analytics below includes a small brain dump of quick insights, Google Analytics tips if you will, I seek when I’m looking at that report. The stories and examples will hopefully help you intelligently approach your own data in these reports and quickly find insights you can action / share with your management team.

Before you log into Google Analytics it is really really helpful to get context about the company/client’s business.

I realize that you are pressed for time and you might not want to do it. But in case you want to win big rather than just win, I encourage to read the six tips outlined in this post: The Biggest Mistake Web Analysts Make… And How To Avoid It!

I guarantee that if you invest this time, you’ll find 5x better insights when you log into Google Analytics or Adobe SiteCatalyst. If you don’t invest this upfront, fun, time you’ll hurt my feelings but I’ll understand, you don’t want to win big. 🙂

Below are the top ten standard reports in Google Analytics that you should know well, especially if you are only a part-time user of Google Analytics.

If you are an Analyst, of any tool, check out the Bonus tips included to kick your efforts up a notch or two.

Everything here’s simple. You don’t have to be a particularly deep expert to find value in this training.

1. Sources Overview report.

Start with the pie. It helps you understand how reliant the company/client is on Search (too much is actually not good). What other sources are big for them? If you don’t see other sources (campaigns – email, social, display) are not tagged. A very bad thing.

Below are the top ten standard reports in Google Analytics that you should know well, especially if you are only a part-time user of Google Analytics.

If you are an Analyst, of any tool, check out the Bonus tips included to kick your efforts up a notch or two.

Everything here’s simple. You don’t have to be a particularly deep expert to find value in this training.

1. Sources Overview report

Start with the pie. It helps you understand how reliant the company/client is on Search (too much is actually not good). What other sources are big for them? If you don’t see other sources (campaigns – email, social, display) are not tagged. A very bad thing.

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