Google Analytics is a very powerful tool, but it can be hard to know which functions are the most useful to utilise. Here we’ve selected our favourite eight Google Analytics functions and explained why they are important to your business goals.
1. Page Views
This is the most basic use of Google Analytics’ functions, but nonetheless important. Analysing the number of Page Views can tell you how popular an individual blog post is, or which pieces of content are performing better as landing pages on your website. You can group your content, based on subject matter, or author, and use Page Views to see which content is performing the best.
2. Page Views by Source
Using Page Views by Source helps you to identify which medium is attracting the most visits or traffic to your content. From here you can also see which pieces of content are doing well in social or performing well organically.
You can use tabular data to select the medium you want to analyse. Depending on how your website is structured, you may be able to filter your analysis using Google Analytics’ advanced options. This will enable you to find out which types of content are performing well, and even compare performance changes from piece to piece.
Page Views by Source also allows you to sort data by unique page views, bounce rate, average time on page and page value. It helps you to get an idea of which pieces are doing well and which ones should be improved.
3. Page Views by Title
From here you can see whether list-based posts, such as ‘5 ways to’ perform better than say the ‘how-to’ pieces. You can even go a bit further and use content groupings to bundle all your themed content together by title (e.g. ‘How to’ posts), so you can see how post types perform together, as well as on their own.
4. Referral Visits
Google Analytics not only enables you to track your own marketing channels, it can also show you which websites refer the most traffic to your site. This feature shows which pieces of content resonated most with users. Referral Visits can tell you which types of content pieces attract links, which means you can create similar type of content in the future to help increase inbound links.
5. Social Referrals
This function is similar to the Referral Visits function, but it focuses solely measuring traffic from social channels. Each social network serves a different function; social referrals can show you which type of content is performing well in each channel. If you know what works on each network, you can target and segment content even further, and it also helps you to build your social-first content strategy. This feature enables you to filter data based on days of the week or time too, so you can see when your content is most effective/garnering the most engagement.
6. Weighted Sort
Although weighted sort is not technically a report, it is pretty close to being your best analytical tool. It takes statistically irrelevant data and turns it into useful and actionable information. For example, you can use this tool to analyse the bounce rate on your site. By viewing content that has the highest bounce rate you can try and figure out how to improve it/what people don’t like about it.
7. Demographic Reports
Demographic reports are useful because they show you which pieces of content are being read/consumed by which type of demographic. Identifying which piece of content resonates with a particular demographic enables you to replicate the type of content and use it on different channels. For example by creating a sponsored post, say on Facebook, which you know will do well.
8. Goals & Page Value
Last, but certainly not least, every piece of marketing you do should be strategic. So you should set objectives and measure the impact of all marketing activities - from content marketing to PPC.
Not all business goals are easily measurable online, though. But you can set up plenty of website goals in Google Analytics, e.g. completion of enquiry forms, sign-ups and clicks on emails or other links. Once goals are set up, you can quickly look at how many goal completions are coming in and where from. This helps you to improve your overall content strategy.
Page Value is an often overlooked function of Google Analytics. This is because it requires you to first set up the goals (see above) and then assign them with a value, before you can utilise the data and make it relevant to your workflow. Once you’ve done that, you can identify each page’s monetary value. According to Google, a page’s value is a measure of influence. It’s a single number that can help you better understand which pages on your site drive conversions and revenue. Pages with a high Page Value are more influential than pages with a low Page Value.