In addition to recommending Google Analytics (GA) to our client base, we utilize GA as our analytics platform to track our internal web stats, as well. We are one of a few select companies to be named a Google Analytics Certified Partner (GACP) and according to Google “Certified Partners are carefully vetted by Google and meet rigorous qualification standards”. We are very proud of this honor and continue to educate clients (both large and small) on the ins and outs of GA.
Once GA is implemented onto a website, marketers suddenly find themselves with a wealth of knowledge and information they never had before. I get asked the same question over and over, which boils down to: What should I be looking for? While GA is extremely user friendly, especially compared to other platforms available today, it‘s also remarkably robust, thus making it (seem like) a daunting task to sift through all of the available data. You can literally get lost in GA for hours, discovering new and valuable information pertaining to your web stats. That being said, what should you be looking for? If brand new to GA, I find it a good exercise to simply start with the dashboard. As you become more comfortable, it will be less overwhelming to dive deeper into all of the reports GA has to offer.
GA defines their dashboard as “your customizable collection of report summaries”. Below is a screenshot from GA, which shows some of the default metrics; they can be arranged according to individual user preferences. Each metric can be clicked on in order to get more granular. Although the dashboard is rather basic, there are still a ton of valuable insights such as: Avg. time on site, bounce rate, pageviews, new visits, pages per visit, etc. The Map Overlay feature is particularly useful in determining where your site traffic originates from, plus which areas are converting into sales, leads, etc. You can drill all the way down to city.
All in all, GA is a comprehensive (not to mention free) tool that will prove to be mission critical in determining which online initiatives are fruitful for your business and which could be replaced. Every dollar counts and you ought to be armed with as much knowledge about your web stats as possible. If you have not already done so, check out our analytics page now and get started!
Why is it that I love this Map Overlay report (in the Visitors section) in Google Analytics? Does it give me deep insights as to what my website visitors want? No. Can I measure Key Performance Indicators (KPI) off of it? No. Will it help me discover what keywords are performing well in my paid search campaigns, and which ones I should drop? No.
Is it really cool to play with and spend minute after minute…after minute…rolling over each city in each state in each country, and then zooming out and doing it again on another state or country? Yes, absolutely.
(Editors Note: I am not suggesting I am slacking off while at work. It is merely a hypothetical situation :))
There are a few things that you can do with the Map Overlay. Toward the top-right corner of the map, it should say “Visits”, with an arrow pointing down. Clicking on that will open a menu where you can change the metric that you’re currently viewing. So, instead of Visits, you can view the Bounce Rate, G1 Goal Conversion, or even Revenue, if you have Ecommerce Coding Enabled.
You can also change the detail level of the map. By default the Map Overlay shows you corresponding detail level (so, if you’re looking at the individual country level, your detail level will also be set at country). If you change this option to “city”, towards the bottom-left hand side of the page, directly below the actual map, you can get the very popular “chicken-pox” view of the map:
See how the fun just never ends? Maybe I just like Geography more than the average person, I don’t know. I think that everyone should think about what their favorite report or reports are, and think about why they are your favorites. I would say that the Map Overlay report is my favorite because of functionality and ingenuity. I’m probably not alone in feeling this way. Can you imagine a Google Analytics platform where more [important] reports were as cool to use and as friendly as this one?