Alright, so you’ve got a handle on Google Analytics. You’ve set it up on a couple of sites, know all the categories, maybe cracked off a dashboard or two, and can schedule a report to go out. Awesome.

Now’s a great time to go a little deeper and start doing some real analysis. Here’s a few of my favourite things to help me dig a little more, pull out better data, and provide a little more meat to my reporting in Analytics:

1. Demographics and Interest Reports

By default, Google Analytics will tell you where your users are coming from and what technology they are using to access the site, but they really don’t give you much about who your audience is.

Enter Demographics and Interests.

This is a special feature that’s actually a part of the AdWords side of the biz so it’s not on by default, but it’s right in Analytics and easy enough to turn on. It allows you to see the age, gender, and interests of users to your site. That’s really helpful data to know the audience you’re speaking to.

There’s instructions for turning it on under Audience > Demographics that involve clicking a button, adding 1 line of code, and updating your Privacy Policy.

2. Audience Behaviour

Ok, so there’s the big section on Behaviour that gives you lots of stuff, but there’s also a really interesting section underneath Audience that focuses 3 metrics:

New vs. Returning – This is how people are acting comparing between first-time visitors and returning visitors. It’s a great spot to see how sticky your site is as well as how deep it is for people coming back multiple times and if they can stay engaged.

Frequency & Recency – This gives you a bearing of what your return visitors look like. It may seem great that you have 50% of your visitors returning to your blog because your content is so awesome, but then you might see that they only ever come back a second time and not a 3rd, 4th, or 5th. You can also see how many days are elapsing between visits.

Engagement – This gives you the timing of how long people’s visits are broken down into lots of segments. One of my sites has a sweet spot between 61-180 seconds where my content seems to be fitting nicely in the 1-3 minutes to read range.

3. In-Page Analytics

Sometimes it’s just nice to have a visual rather than all of the data. If you are viewing pages in Analytics, hit the In-Page tab at the top (see image below) and you’ll start seeing the percentages of where people are clicking on the site. You may get an error that it can’t load, but just hit full page option that pops up (or if you’re nerdy, allow the browser to trust non-SSL data being passed through SSL – it’s just a button by the URL typically).

In Page Analytics

Any questions, drop me a comment. I’ll pull out some more things in the future.

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc