Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Google Analytics user interface - video tutorial

Google Analytics is a visitor counter which gives you a huge amount of statistics and it may be a good idea to start using Google Analytics in addition to Statcounter.

To derive maximum benefits from Google Analytics, you should first familiarize yourself with its user interface, and you can easily do that by watching this video tutorial:

Transcript: This video provides a brief overview of how to use the Google Analytics interface. If you are new to Google Analytics, or you like to pick up a few tips on how to use some of the different features, this video is a good place to start.

When you first sign into your Google Analytics account, you'll see this screen which shows a list of your profiles. If you just started to use Google Analytics, you probably have just one profile. Click VIEW REPORTS to get started.

Let's look at the Dashboard, which is the first report you'll see. The Dashboard is where you put all the summary information about your site that you want to see at a glance. To add a report to the Dashboard, just go to the report that you want to add, and then click Add to Dashboard. And here, going back to the Dashboard, if I scroll to the bottom, is the traffic sources overview that I just added.

On the Dashboard itself, you can position the report summaries however you like, and delete the ones you don't need. One nice feature about the Dashboard is that it lets you jump directly to the specific report you've saved. So here, I jump directly from my Dashboard to a full report on California.

So now it may be a good time to your most important reports and put them on your Dashboard.

Finding Reports

In the left hand navigation, you will see each of the reports are organized into groups. Anything about visitors, whether they are located geographically, what their language preferences are, how frequently they come to your site, and which kind of computers and browsers they used, is found in the visitors section.

The traffic sources section show how people got to your site. This is where to look if you want to see which keywords people used, which ad they clicked on.

Content is all about the pages in your site. Which ones were the most popular, which ones served as entry pages to your site, and which ones were the pages from which people exited from your site.

If you have defined your conversion goals, the goals reports shows your conversions and conversion rates. The goals are website pages which visitors reach once they have made a purchase or completed another desired action such as a registration, or a download.

Defining goals and monitoring conversions is an important way to measure how well the site contributes to you business objectives.

The eCommerce section contains your merchandising, transaction and revenue activity reports.

You don't have to use the left navigations to get to your reports. The reports themselves contain links and suggestions to help you discover new information.

Setting the Date Range

The active date range is alway displayed on the upper right of your report. Click the your own date range and then type in your dates, or use the calendar or the timeline to select the date range. Click APPLY.

You can compare 2 date ranges against each other. Under comparison, select DATE RANGE. And here is a tip. Instead of for example just September and August, I am going to line up the dates so that I can compare weekdays with weekdays, and weekends with weekends. Since the first of September is a Friday, I am going to shift my 30-day comparison period, so that it start on Friday July 28th instead of August 1st. Next, I am going to active the COMPARE DATES option here.

Now when I look at the graph, I can make meaningful day-by-day comparisons, comparing Fridays to Fridays, Saturdays to Saturdays, and so forth.

Over-time Comparisons

On reports that contain graphs, you can select the matrix that you want to graph over time. In this report, we are graphing visits. So let's change it to AVERAGE PAGES PER VISIT. Or you can compare two matrix against each other. For example, here we are comparing average pages per visit versus the goal one conversion rate. There is the average visits in blue and the goal one conversionn rate in yellow.

Unless you are comparing 2 day ranges, you have the option of comparing matrix against the site average. Here we are looking at the average pages per visit for AdWord visitors, that is the blue line, versus the average pages per visit for the average visitor, that's the thin gray line.

Scorecards and Tables

Most reports have a score card, and then a table below the score card. The score card summarizes all the data that's included in the table. So here, for example, we are looking at the average traffic from 3 keywords. There were 57 visits from people who came in on these keywords, and on the average, each visitors are 18 pages and spend about a minute and a half on the site. Most of these visits were from new visitors, people who never been to the site before, and over 19% of them left after seeing only one page.

Looking down the table, you can see the same data broken down into each keyword. To look at your conversion and conversion rates, you click the goal conversion tab. To look at your eCommerce activities, you click the eCommerce tab.

The clicks tab is unique to the average report, and it shows you Adword specific matrix that we will look at in details in another video. You can always get an explanation for any one of these matrixs on the scorecard by clicking the question mark bubble.

You can segment the table in different ways using the segment pulldown. So if you want to see this average traffic broken by city, you just select CITY from the pull-down.

You can use the buttons at the upper right of the score cards to visualize your data as a pie chart, a bar graph, a comparison to the site matrixs. Or as an aggregate summary.

Emailing and exporting existing reports

Finally, you can facilitate information sharing and collaborative decision making by emailing the reports.

To email a report, click the email button that appears at the top of every report. You can send the report immediately, or set up a regularly scheduled email. Or you can add the report to an email that you already scheduled.

So now it might be a good time to try creating a few scheduled from your of your most important reports.

Exporting data in other formats is another tool in sharing and collaborating. To export a report, you just click the EXPORT BUTTON at the top of the report and select the format you want.

And here is a tip. If you want to create a high resolution print-ready presentation, export your report to PDF. The PDF reports are vector based, so they scale to large size and still looks great.

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