Archives: Google Analytics

Why Google Analytics is so Important to your Blog

Why Google Analytics is so Important to your Blog

Do marketing specialists just throw out campaigns willy-nilly without doing any research on the market? No. So why are you spewing out content without looking at the audience you’re capturing? You need to know who is reading your content, because without it, your bounce rate will skyrocket, and your visits will be at an all time low.

Like this:

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 1.06.40 AM

People want to read content that’s relevant to them. They want content that speaks to them. If you are reaching readers who are in Canada or the UK but you’re directing your content for readers in the African continent, none of whom are actually reading, then you need to re-evaluate your method of targeting your desired audience, or your content.

Google Analytics will help with your writing

Getting to know who your readers are will help with the type of content you’re putting out there. As said before, if you have readers in one country, but are writing for another country then maybe you should look at writing for content targeted for the country your readers are coming from.

Similarly, if you have a fashion blog, targeting young women between 18 to 25, but your audience is older, then perhaps you should tailor your content for an older audience. Or worse, what if you’re getting more male viewers? Then maybe you should change some of those photos…

So seeing who is reading can help with your content writing and niches.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 12.03.28 AM

Google Analytics can decide how you market your content

If you do not want to change the content strategy of your blog, then Google Analytics can help you target the people you’re interested in reaching.

So you have this fashion blog, and you want to reach young women between 18 and 25, but you’re currently reaching more women over 40, what do you do? You can use Facebook and Google ads quickly reach them, or you can go a step deeper (especially if you don’t have the money) and find the people you want to target and interact with them on social media.

If you determine that your target market is on Pinterest, then by all means, go there, connect with people, share your content with them and ask them to share it with their connections.

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 1.16.32 AM

Google Analytics will determine your design

What if you have a great desktop design with no mobile layout, or a not-so-great-for-mobile responsive design, and most of your readers are using mobile devices? You’ve failed them. So, look at your system trends in Google Analytics, and determine how many of your readers are using mobile devices and design your website around that.

Most templates these days come with a decent responsive feature, but sometimes it might not be enough for your readers, especially to encourage more reading to lower your bounce rate; you can consider developing a mobile theme, or even a mobile sub domain (like how Facebook has m.facebook.com) so users from a mobile device will get redirected there.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 11.42.23 PM

Also, the sizes of their screens play a big part in blogging. You may have a 1920×1080 resolution screen, but your readers may have a 1024×768 display. If your design isn’t catering for different screen sizes, then it may be time to get another design which does. This can cause your content to look like a mess, which will only encourage users to skyrocket your bounce rate, instead of reading more.

On the flip side, if your readers have a larger resolution screen than you do, then you should consider a design which supports that, else your blog could look like a thin block on a wide space; not conducive to reading.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 11.31.39 PM

What if I don’t care?

If you have a lifestyle blog, and you don’t care about who reads your stuff, where they are from, how many people read it, if they are using a mobile device or desktop, then by all means, move along and ignore everything you learned in this article.

But if you do care, and you want to know who your readers are, and where they are from and the devices they are using, then look for the other content I have on this website which talks about Google Analytics, and if you have any questions, you can send me a note via the contact form on this website, or on Twitter @desireroberts.

Google Analytics: Desktop & Mobile Stats

Google Analytics: Desktop & Mobile Stats

Knowing what browsers, operating system and service provider your readers use plays a big part in development of your website, and also with tailoring your content to fit their needs.

Like the demographics, this is really easy to find in Google Analytics.

You can get basic highlights right under the highlights on the Audience Overview page, as seen below:

By clicking “view full report” at the bottom right of this table, you will see a detailed breakdown of these stats.

Screen_Shot_2014-11-14_at_11_12_18_PM

Devices

This pretty much tells you off the bat that readers are accessing the website from their desktops and laptops rather their mobile devices, which is the opposite of what many “tech gurus” are clamouring about. However, it’s interesting to see that mobile devices have surpassed tablet devices, which is usually the other way around.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 11.42.23 PM

 

Browsers

Knowing what browsers your readers are using and comparing that to how long they stay on your website could impact the way you design and develop your website.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 1.16.37 AM

Evidently, these readers are using Chrome and Safari. Visitors from Safari seem to have a higher bounce rate than Chrome users, but there is a longer time on site and the highest pages/session for this category, and only 45% of them are new visits. Users with Firefox seem to really enjoy the content, because they have a bounce rate of 0%, but Internet Explorer seems to have a higher number of pages/session even though it has a greater bounce rate than Firefox users.

Android browser seems to not hold the attention of its readers, since they navigate away from the page after reading a post. This may be rectified with an adjustment in the website’s mobile theme, to encourage more exploration on mobile.

Operating System

The operating system you use can determine the kind of content you write if it’s a tech blog, but it has no real effect on fashion blogs. In this case, if this were a tech only blog, I should be writing about more Windows stuff.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 1.27.21 AM

Windows is the most widespread operating system, with Mac and Android trailing behind. What’s interesting is the time and per session for Mac versus those for Windows, even though, the bounce rate is much higher for Mac OS; Mac users seemed to be more interested than Windows users.

Windows phone and Blackberry users also seem to like the content, yielding a 0% bounce rate, and 2-3 pages/session. The time spent on the site is bad though; it looks like they scrolled through pretty quickly. Overall, it seems to be something wrong with mobile, which indicates there may be something wrong with the mobile design.

Screen Resolution

This is such an important factor in design; it’s not even funny how many people are unaware of this. Gone are the days of everyone having a similar resolution screen: the laptop industry sort of killed that out, and now mobile phones come in all sorts of resolutions. There are many different screen resolutions and you have to ensure that your design matches each and every one of them.

Desktop Screen Resolution

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 11.31.39 PM

These stats show that users with a 1440×900 resolution spent the most time on the website, and viewed the most number of pages per session, but also yielded one of the highest bounce rates.

Mobile Screen Resolution

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 11.13.14 PM

Again, looking at these stats for mobile, you’ll see the time on site is really low, save for one. This indicates an issue in terms of mobile browsing, which can only be fixed with a more aggressive approach to mobile design.

The solution to all this is simple, get a good responsive theme. Once you have this, you most likely won’t need a mobile theme, unless you want a more bare look for your mobile. It’s entirely up to you.

Mobile Devices

This is always an interesting stat to look at; and a scary one since marketers use this to stereotype people by the type of device(s) they own/use.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 11.45.04 PM

Hello iPhone and iPad users! You can clearly see the Android segmentation here, but the interesting thing is the last device, not known for it’s RAM storage, it probably would have lagged a bit if the mobile theme was designed for higher end devices. Again, another thing to look at when you’re looking at design for mobile.

Here is a list of the mobile device brands used by visitors:

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 11.50.09 PM

Touchscreen or no?

I like that Google tracks this, because we have a great deal of touchscreen devices now, and this is a great way for a blogger to see how many of his/her users could benefit from gesture features on the website, like a swipe left or right to see previous or next articles.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 11.50.27 PM

Flash and Java Support

There are other little options to view stats in Google Analytics like Flash and Java support, as seen in the screenshots below. This will impact you if you rely on either of these for your website.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 11.37.55 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 11.38.11 PM

This concludes a look at Google Analytics stats for desktop, laptop and mobile devices.

Let me know your thoughts on Twitter! @desireroberts
Google Analytics: Demographics

Google Analytics: Demographics

You’re probably wondering why demographics metrics are so important. Well, it is, because if your content is being viewed mainly by people in Spain, you may want to have a Spanish translated version of your website.

This is really easy to find in Google Analytics.

You can get basic highlights right under the highlights on the Audience Overview page, as seen below:

Screen_Shot_2014-11-14_at_11_12_18_PM

Note: At the bottom of this table on the right is a link called “view full report”. Click this to get a detailed breakdown.

Language

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 11.25.40 PM

Language is so important to your website because if you have people coming from other parts of the world reading your blog, then you should offer a translation system on your blog. Here you can see that the majority speak/read/write in US English, and then there are 31 sessions from users who speak Brazilian Portuguese, all of which are new sessions.

Country/Territory

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 12.03.57 AM

It’s always a great thing to know what country your traffic from, so you can tailor your content to fit their needs. Remember, your website/blog may be about you, but if you don’t write content for your readers, they will eventually stop visiting. From the above instance, it seems like this website is reaching people from various countries across the world, but Trinidad and Tobago seems to outshine them all by claiming 54% of the sessions.

In the first screenshot, we can see how language affects bounce rates and pages/session. The 31 Brazilian Portuguese users were all new, but they only visited a page or two for an average time of five seconds before leaving. The four Italian folks seemed to have some trouble too, giving a bounce rate of 50%, and a similar pages/session metric. Overall, the higher bounce rates come from the countries who don’t have English as their primary language. This indicates that there may be a need for a global translation system if there isn’t one already installed on the website.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 12.03.28 AM

This screenshot shows that there are many countries which are not being reached at all. The African continent as well as South America and several parts of Europe seem to not be marketed to. Looks like a great way to target some paid traffic.

Google analytics also has the ability to track gender, age and interests, based on the collated data they store on each of us through our searches and internet behaviour. This data can be especially important for blogs who are niched into a gender or age based topic.

Knowing who your visitors are and where they are from could also help you refine and tailor your content to your readers. Imagine if you were a tech blog from the United States and most of your readers were from Japan, and you weren’t tracking where your traffic was coming from; you’d never know that your following probably all speak Japanese, or even know that they might be interested in a particular brand more available in Japan as opposed to those available in the US.

Demographics are a powerful force, but you have to use it. Otherwise it just remains as unused data, which is useless to everyone.

Let me know your thoughts on Twitter! @desireroberts
Google Analytics: The Basics

Google Analytics: The Basics

We’ve been there; you were told to use Google Analytics because it’s “good” and now you don’t know what the hell you’re looking at. Don’t worry, I’ll explain it to you in detail in my latest series on Google Analytics.

Welcome to Google Analytics: The Basics 🙂

The Audience Overview panel is usually where you land when you select which website’s statistics (I’m gonna use stats from here on) you want to view.

It looks a lot like this:

GA_DR_1

If you have NO idea about analytics, then you have no idea of what you’re looking at, at least, not everything.

The graph defaults to display your sessions, or number of times someone has visited your site, for the last month by day (each point on the graph is a day of the month). As you can see in this screenshot, this website’s traffic is very inconsistent.

The mini graphs under the individual metrics show when each measurement happened in coordination with timeframe selected. You’ll see some instances where your sessions peaked but your pages/session dipped. That just means that more people visited your blog, but read fewer items than other time periods.

Let’s start with some definitions and explanations.

GA_DR_4Sessions show the number of times people have visited your website or blog. So if I visit your website ten times, it will register as ten sessions.

GA_DR_5Users show what we used to call unique visits. Basically, this is just the number of people who visited your website. So if I visited your website ten times, it will only register as one user.

Sessions VS Users:

GA_DR_3

Here you can see in this graph that sessions and users are usually on par with each other, indicating that the same user did not revisit on that day. But there are a couple instances where you can see that some users did in fact come back to the website that day.

GA_DR_6Pageviews are the number of pages all your users have looked at, or viewed. Again, if I viewed ten pages on your website, it will register as ten pageviews.

GA_DR_7Pages/Session (pages per session). Well this one is really easy, it’s just the number of pages a user visited in a session. So if I visit your website twice in one week, the first time I looked at four pages, and the second time I looked at two pages, the system will give you the average number, based on the number of sessions and how many pages were viewed in that session.

Sessions VS Pages/Sessions: 

GA_DR_2

Here you will see a comparison showing the sessions and pages/session metrics. As you can see, there was a peak where pages/session outnumbered sessions, which would mean that of those sessions that day, users read more posts.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 9.39.20 PMAverage session duration is literally the average time each session lasts. This website has an average time of 2 mins and 16 seconds, which is not too bad given the little pages/session.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 9.39.25 PMBounce Rate is when you visit a website and close the page without viewing anything else. A bounce rate of 0.00% is ideal, but very rare. It’s seemed to become a buzz word when it comes to websites, and for good reason. You want your users to interact more with your content. This bounce rate of 7.09% is very good. You can see in the mini graph

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 9.39.34 PM% New Sessions is the number of new sessions from the entire selection of sessions. Basically, it’s just how many of the sessions were from new users, as opposed to people who have previously visited your website.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 9.39.41 PM

This pie chart shows the number of new visitors/users versus the number of returning visitors/users. Clearly, the number of new outweighs the number of returning in this instance.

Sessions VS Pageviews: Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 10.16.52 PM

In this graph, you can see how the sessions outweigh the pageviews. However, there are some peak points for pageviews which show that some visitors sat and read more than a few posts.

Sessions VS Bounce Rate: 

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 10.19.46 PM

Here you can see where some of the users just visited a page and left (those are when the bounce rate is higher). On other days, the bounce rate was 0, which means that whoever visited read more than one article (awesome!).

I hope that this helped you understand the very basics of Google Analytics. More posts to come!
Let me know your thoughts on Twitter! @desireroberts
Back to top