Google Analytics – 3 basics to understand before doing data analysis

Tram Ho

Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools for tracking & analyzing web users. This tool provides website owners with abundant user data, as well as advanced features to track and analyze data strategically, helping website owners evaluate the effectiveness of the collection. suck traffic & conversion rate. Before embarking on using Google Analytics (GA), tool users need to know the basics of GA & how to choose metrics that match business questions.

1. What data does Google Analytics collect? Unit of analysis is what?

Data from GA can be divided into 4 types of analysis units: visitor, sesssion, page view, & event.

  • Visitor : is each user who has accessed to the website. Vistior information includes age, gender, etc.
  • Session : Each time a user accesses the website is counted as a session. A user can have multiple sessions on a website. Session information including session length, access location, session source (eg direct link, search engine, or social network)
  • Pageview : each time a user visits 1 page on the website is counted as 1 pageview. Each session can contain 1 or more pageviews. Information about pageviews including the link, the time the user stops at each pageview, the order of access between the pages (eg users usually start at the homepage, then go to the product list page, product details , etc.)
  • Event : each action a user performs on a page & is tracked by GA is counted as an action, for example the action of clicking “Buy”, filling in the form “Contact”. Information about an event includes how often the event was executed and when it was executed.

For example, to answer the question “Where does website traffic come from?”, The website owner can analyze by session or visitor.

Analyzing by session to understand the user’s behavior each time you visit the website, which channel the traffic comes from, the time spent on the website, etc., then design the interface, flow on the website to optimize the human experience. used per session.

On the other hand, visitor analysis is also necessary to understand who the main user set of the website is (eg, most visitors are male, aged 25-34), etc., thereby building marketing plans, designing images. the image is correctly typed into the set of users the website is targeting

2. How are the concepts of metrics & dimensions different? How do these two concepts help in answering a business question?

Metrics are metrics that help website owners evaluate user experience on their products. Metrics are calculated based on the metrics outlined in the first section. Some of the most commonly used metrics

  • Total Session : Number of visits of users on the website. A session is terminated after a visitor has not taken any action on the website for 30 minutes.
  • Bounce Rate : The rate of users who visited the website homepage & left before visiting any other page on the website.
  • Session Duration / PageView Duration : Average length of 1 sesssion or 1 pageview that a user performs on the website
  • Pages / Session : The average number of pages a user visits in a session
  • Conversion Rate : The percentage of users that take the conversion action on the website. The conversion session is the action that the website owner expects the visitor to take, for example, making an order, creating a new account, subscribing to the newsletter, etc. This metrics requires additional setup steps on the GA console.
  • Total Revenue : The revenue that visitors generate on the website. This metrics requires additional setup steps on the GA console.

Metrics help website owners answer the most general questions about performance & user experience on website. Eg:

  • Is the website attracting good traffic: by monitoring Total session & Total users
  • How often after visiting users return to the website: via Returning users, Sessions per user
  • Do users continue to learn about the website after accessing the homepage: through the tracking of Bounce rate
  • Does the website help me to achieve my business goals, such as increasing the number of orders, increasing the number of accounts that sign up: through conversion rate tracking.

However, metrics only partially point to the success or problems that the website is having, but not the cause of these metrics. In order to have a deeper view of the website’s users, we need to analyze the dimensions.

Dimension are properties that help the analyst dissect the initial conclusions drawn from the synthesis of metrics. Popular dimensions in GA include:

  • Demographics : demographic attributes of users, like age, gender, interests
  • Location : the user’s geographical location, such as a city, country, or continent.
  • Behavior : user behavior, such as the ratio of new vs. returning visitors
  • Devices : devices users use, such as phones, tablets, personal computers
  • Channels : sources of user input, such as direct links, search engines, social networks

Questions should be dimensioned user analysis:

  • Causes of decreased traffic in 3 consecutive months: it is possible to find out which segment has the strongest drop in traffic based on demographics, channels
  • Usage behavior is different between users in Japan and users in Vietnam: through tracking the location, behavior
  • Should focus on developing friendly interfaces with small phone screens, from ip5 and below: through calculating the ratio of users per device

3. Choose which metrics to track for your business

GA offers a ton of metrics to track, but not all metrics are suitable for all types of businesses. In fact, only select about 10 metrics for monitoring & evaluation only. Choosing the wrong metrics leads to wasting resources, drawing false conclusions, being inconclusive, or directing to improper policies.

In general, a good metrics should have the following characteristics:

  • Comparability : how metrics help website owners compare their products to competitors & to the product itself in the previous months / years.
  • Easy to understand : metrics should be common, easy to understand, and clearly formulated to easily convey & analyze for relevant stakeholders.
  • Practical : metrics should be tied to business goals. For example, if the business goal is to increase revenue from online sales, the metric of the percentage of users who subscribe to promotional news will not be as practical as the percentage of users who order on the website.
  • Qualitative : metrics should be expressed in numbers & ratios for easy comparison


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Source : Viblo