Google Analytics: Better Understanding Your Website's Visitors

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 | 11:09 AM

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Whether it’s prospective volunteers, donors or individuals interested in your organization’s cause, better understanding your visitors and their actions on your site can help achieve your goals. Fortunately Google Analytics can take the guesswork out of the equation, bringing you key trends, rich data and actionable insights. The following reports under the ‘Visitors’ tab in Google Analytics are a great place to start.

Map Overlay: From countries to states and cities, this report shows from where in the world your visitors are accessing your site. The darker the shaded color on the map, the higher the concentration of visitors coming from that location. Hover your mouse over an area to quickly access the metrics associated with that geography. Best of all, you can use the tab at the top to change what metric is used for the map. Have an active goal for donations and want to see what states drive the highest donations per visitor? Interested in learning what cities drove the highest number of volunteer sign-ups after a recent event? Just swap out the metrics and get your insights in seconds.

New vs. Returning: This report shows you a breakdown of your visitors into two categories - returning users (those who have been to your website before) and new users (those who have not been to your site before). You can view those two visitor groups through a variety of lenses - total visits, bounce rate, conversions and more. Diving into this report can let you know if your recent publicity efforts are paying off (do we have more ‘new’ visitors this month versus last month?), or if you are getting larger average online donations from your returning users versus those who are looking at your site for the first time.

Visitor Trending: Check these reports for a great overview of what your visitors are doing over a period of time. Do my visitors tend to spend more time browsing my site during the week, or on the weekend? Has my bounce rate changed at all since I redesigned our website? Whether you’re measuring average pageviews, bounce rate or time on site, these reports all give a high level picture of how your site is doing in relation to key metrics.

The overview and insights provided by the reports above can help you make informed decisions about how to manage your Google Grants account and your website. For more information on features and reports available through Google Analytics, be sure to check out our Google Analytics Help Center.