Analytics Demystified - Part 3: Reports

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 | 2:28 PM


Reports are the meat of Google Analytics. This is where the data about your site's performance lives and where you can see changes to and improve your ad campaigns and even your website.

You can access your site's reports by logging into AdWords and clicking on the Analytics tab.

To ensure the accuracy of your reports you should set up your analytics account to filter out internal IP addresses. This way traffic generated by people in your office as they work with your website isn't counted toward the total traffic and interactions on your site. Follow these quick steps to make your reports to filter your internal IP addresses and make your reports more meaningful.

Google Analytics data is divided into four main categories: Visitors, Traffic Sources, Content and Goals.

Visitor data shows you the traits of different visitor segments and examines the factors that comprise visit quality. You can see how long visitors were on your site, where they came from and where they went when they left.

Traffic Source data outlines the different sources that send traffic to your site: which sites and search engines refer traffic to your site, which keywords drive traffic to your site, and how your AdWords and other online ad campaigns are performing.

Content data shows you how well the content on your site is performing and which pages are most responsible for driving pageviews. As a good rule of thumb, check for pages with a high bounce rates and consider redesigning them for relevance: this is where your traffic tends to leave to seek information on other sites.
The Goals section shows you how well your site is performing against the goals you set. Goals don't have to be e-commerce-related and, in the non-profit world, might include:
  • newsletter downloads
  • mailing-list subscriptions
  • petition sign-ups
  • donations
  • volunteer opportunities
  • requests for information

Take some time to get familiar with your data. We suggest playing around by trying to find answers to a question you may have about your site: Where in the world does traffic come from? Which site refers the most traffic to your site? How many visitors come from your ad campaigns? If you have questions while exploring reports, you can always refer to the Reports Central section of the Google Analytics Help Center, or post a question to the Analytics Help Group or our Google Grants Help Group.

Next time we'll go through setting up scheduled reports for your account. Scheduled reports, which automatically send your pre-made reports to your inbox at intervals you specify, help you monitor your goals' performance. Then you won't have to build reports every time you visit Google Analytics and you'll get a regular reminder to check in on the performance of your accounts.