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[3QF-GA-6] Getting to know Google Analytics report

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

So, you're set up on Google Analytics, you've checked that your tracking code is working in Realtime and the data (well, statistics) is flowing in.

So what now? How can you start using Google Analytics as an analyst - and reap the many benefits it offers?

Well, it's not easy. Google Analytics has over 100 reports, each of which provides different statistics about your data - and understanding all of them can take years.

Yet, there is a shortcut. And while it won't turn you into a consultant-grade Google Analytics expert, you can learn the 10% you need to know to 90% of your work pretty quickly. The question is, which 10% of Google Analytics do you need to know?

Well, for your reading pleasure, below is a list of 3 Quick Facts which can lead you in the right direction.

If, however, you feel like you want to know a bit more than the basics, do check out the 2-day intensive Google Analytics course we offer. It covers a lot more than the basics - and prepares you for the Google Analytics Individual Qualification exam as well.

1) You won't need most of Google Analytics reports

In some ways, Google Analytics has become too much of a good thing. Google has done a tremendous job of turning our website visitor data into useful statistics and reports, but over the years the system has grown to the size where it is difficult to navigate - and understand.

But the dirty little secret of Google Analytics is that you really don't need most of the reports. Some are old and not useful with modern sites (Behavior Flow, Content Drilldown), others are for specialists (Site Speed) and some are just too difficult to use (Treemaps, Frequency & Recency).

So, when you're browsing Google Analytics and think to yourself that a report seems useless, you can usually trust your instinct and ignore it.

2) A quick way of learning Google Analytics is to be very familiar with at least one report in each section

You will, however, have to learn how to read some reports to avoid getting lost every time you use Google Analytics. The best way to start is to learn one report in each section so that you have a good idea of what each section is for.

To get you started, here are the go-to reports in each section:

  • Audience: Mobile Overview

  • Attribution: Channels

  • Behavior: All Pages

  • Conversion: Goals / Overview

We will cover each of these in this series, but if you are keen to get more familiar with Google Analytics now, get started by going through these.

3) Nearly all reports in Google Analytics follow the same format

As you start to use Google Analytics, you may notice that reports are remarkably similar. This isn't an accident.

Google has designed the reports to follow a standard layout with a 'dimension' or category on the left and the 'metrics' or measurements listed at the top. This template is remarkably flexible and helps Google display valuable information about many aspects of your site visitors in just a few key reports.

Additionally, being able to see many reports helps you understand which metrics are compatible with which dimensions - invaluable when you start to build your own reports. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves. We need to get started by looking at what Google offers as standard, first.

We will start with the Behavior/Site Content/All Pages report next time - but until then, happy analytic-ing!


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