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Using Google Acquisition Reports to Know Where People Are Coming From

Sep 10, 2018
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Do you know where your users are coming from? Are you investing your time in marketing channels that are delivering the best ROI? Using Google Analytics Acquisition reports you can learn how people are finding your site and what they are doing once they get there. 

Video Transcript: 

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful analytics tools out there, and the best part about this tool is it's free. So, anybody can use the tool.

Now, the problem with big data, and data essential for a lot of people, is that it can get very overwhelming. Especially, if you don't understand the terminology, or what you're looking at. You know it just looks like a bunch of numbers and graphs, and yes you want to see the graph go up and to the right but, what does it all really mean? Well, one of the questions we get most of the time is where's my traffic coming from? What campaigns are producing the best results for us? We're going to look at how we can quickly see that in Google Analytics using our acquisition staff.

Once you're logged into Google Analytics you're going to see this. This is the home screen. They've got a lot of cool graphs here. Stuff that they've learned, from their users, are really important. Things like our traffic over the last seven days to who is on our site right now. This is a cool new widget where it's going to pull insights on what's happening on our website. This is all great stuff but, that's not what we're talking about today.

Today we want to get a little bit more granular in the data, and we want to do so by going to our acquisition tab. Which is going to be right over here on the left-hand side. When we expand this tab there's a number of options, and we're going to start with Overview.

What Acquisitions is going to do, is it's going to break down our website traffic into different types of channels. When we talk about channels we're talking about organic traffic, so this is like Google, or direct traffic, which people come strictly to our website, or referral traffic, this is people from one website coming to our website. Paid search, this is buying ads and search. This social traffic. These are all the different types of mediums that we can use to drive people to our website. The acquisition tab is going to show us which channel is producing the best results over time.

Some of the stuff you have to set up, like Conversions. You have to set up your Conversions in order to get that. Even without that, you can get a lot of great data. I highly recommend you set up Goals, that way you can track how people are performing. We can also see things like bounce rate, or page per session.

Now let's look a little bit deeper. This is just the overview tab. What this is going to show is what types of channels we have coming to our website, and how they're performing. It's going to tell us the amount of users. This is the amount of people who have come to our sites. The count is individual users, and they count that via an IP address. So, if there are five people at your office, those are only going to count as one person because there's only one IP address. It's also going to tell us the number of new users. This can be sometimes misleading. A new user is somebody who hasn't been to your site before or somebody who hasn't been to your site in a while, or maybe they cleared their cache. If they cleared their history, cleared their web browser data, they're going to come back as a new visitor. Finally, we're going to have Sessions. Remember we talked about users are unique. Sessions are not unique. Somebody can come back to your site five or six times and that's going to count as a new session each time.

We can also see their behavior. We can see the bounce rate. Bounce rate is when somebody comes to your website and doesn't take an action, instead just leaves. So, they hit the back button, they don't do anything, they bounce. So, we're going to have our bounce rate here. We're going to see which channels are bouncing the highest. We're also going to be able to see the pages per session. This is how many pages they see on an average per website visit. The last thing we're going to see in the behavior column is the average session duration. How long are they spending on our website?

Like I said, if you've set up Conversions, you're going to be able to see what the conversion was, and then how many transactions. You can even see how much revenue you've made if you've set it all up to track revenue. Even without setting up your goals and conversions you can still learn a lot about which types of channels are driving the best results. If we go here, back to our top and see the number of users that are coming to our website, we can clearly see from this graph that organic traffic is driving the most amount of users to our website. It also has a pretty decent bounce rate, and seems to be doing pretty well, but our conversions are actually the highest on our referral traffic. So, what we can learn is while referral traffic may not be driving the most visitors to our site, the people who are coming to our site through referrals are actually very highly credible traffic. They are people who want to take action and do business with the specifics.

This is the Acquisitions overview tab. You can see just from here, you can start to learn a lot about how your website is performing but, you can go even deeper. By looking at all traffic we can now dig into Channels, our specific channels report. This again is going to give us a lot of the data we just saw, but looking at the channels. As you can see, it's a lot of the same. Organic traffic, Referral, all that. Users, New Users, Sessions. We've got Conversions again here.

You can also start to slice and dice your data, if you really want to get in here, by clicking Advanced. You can start to group channels, you can remove certain channels. If you're trying to get a high-level view this is going to start helping you out. Again, organic is from organic search, this is Google, Yahoo, Bing, BuyDo, Yandex, any of those channels. Direct is going to be people directly typing in your website URL. Referrals, this going to come from people who have referred others to your website. Paid search, again it's paid ads. Social media, which I think is explanatory. Display would be display ads. This would be images and stuff. Affiliates would be affiliate sites. Last is Other. This is where they don't know where it goes, so they put it in other.

The cool thing about these, these are all links. You can click and do an organic search and see which browser, or right here's a keyword, that was actually used for this specific search. Most of it, 92.6% of the keywords, Google is not providing. They are providing some terms here, as you can see, Google merchandise, things of that nature. But, this is a keyword.

You can also change the primary dimension. You can change it to Source. This will tell you which search engine was driving this traffic. So, Google, BuyDo, Bing, Yahoo, this is going to be the default. You can also see which landing page was seen the most in search. Home page, the redesign for the shop. There's a lot of ways that you can slice your data to find out what is working, and what's not. Again, you can do that, not just with organic, but any of those specific channels to your website.

To get back, you simply click all channels. You can either overview again and go back here, or just hit back on your browser and you'll be able to find the channels report once again.

Again, if you want to see which websites, those referral websites, which ones are driving the most benefit to you, you can check it out here. This mail. Googleplex is doing really, really well for us. Sites.Google. This is where you can see who is driving, or sending, people your way that are qualified. You can dig through all the different filings here in the channel ports, but let's continue in All Traffic.

We can also look at treemaps. This is a graph that is going to take our data down here and it's going to visualize it for us. We can see it right here. We've got a couple of different things going on. We've got the number of users and then we have versus page procession. So, as you can see, low and high. So a high number Page Procession is going to have this darker green, lower is going to have the pinkish colors, but the size of the block is going to be the amount of traffic that we're seeing. You can funnel through this, you can change this, and you can say present a new session.

Now, if we change this the data shifts. We can do it again with Google Conversion. The data is going to shift as we begin to change these different metrics. This is a really nice way to visualize how much impact these certain channels have. As you can see here, organic traffic is about half of all the website's traffic, which means it's extremely important to the visibility of the brand online. It's got the same data down here when you continue to click through and see more.

Source Medium is one of the most useful ones. I use it all the time. This is where I do most of my tracking. It's a simple graph that you can come out here and you can look at a lot of things. Like we saw before users, and sessions, and things of that nature, and drill down. It's going to give us the source and the medium. Let's talk about what those two things mean.

The medium would be the specific channel, like organic, or referral, or paid advertising, or an affiliate link. Then the source would be which type of that medium was being used. So, this is organic traffic. Which type of organic traffic? Google. This is CPC, which is ads right? Cost per click. Who do we use? This is Google Ads. This is where you can go through these, down here. You see 'referral'. Where did it come from? Analytics.Google. That's really helpful because now you're knowing the channel, but you're also knowing what type of link came from that specific channel. You start to break it down a lot more.

You can also go deeper. Like say you want to see more than just the last few days. Up here you can do a custom date range. You can do last 30 days, 7 days, month, yesterday. You can also compare the data, which is very helpful. We like to do this a lot, comparing the data. Did we go up? Did we go down? How are we doing overall as a company, as a brand online? 

You also have the report for referrals. This goes a little bit deeper into your referrals, which we put out before in channels. But, again, it's just a nice way and quick way to get to your referral traffic. If you're done comparing, you go up here and un-click this box, hit apply, and you're good to go.

That's just one tab in Acquisitions looking at all the different traffics. You can go deeper. You can hook up your Google Ad accounts, if you're doing PPC with Google. You want to definitely hook up your search console because this is going to allow you to pull in your queries, and all that deeper search data, into your Google Analytics account, so you can start to see how many clicks, impression, and CTR click-through rates that you're having. How many people are clicking on these terms? You can start walking through that. Definitely, recommend that.

You can look at your social data. What networks are working the best for you? What type of referrals is doing better for you? You know, Facebook, Enquiron, Google Groups, and Reddit. How many page views? How long are they staying on your website? This allows you to see how well you're doing in your social media campaigns.

You can even look at Campaigns. If you're doing organic campaigns, or you're using tracking domains, you can say, "Hey! Our data share promo did a really good job driving new users." We can also say that our AW office had a really low bounce rate, which is really great, and we saw a really high conversion rate with this campaign. But, nothing was better than our Google brand campaign as far as conversion rates go. But, as we look at the monetary value it still goes back to the AW office, that was doing the best for driving the most revenue. People who bought from us there were having a much higher purchasing level.

This is all from the Acquisitions tab on Google Analytics. I would start by looking at the different types of traffic that are coming to your site, and seeing where you're investing your time and your energy. Maybe, you're going to find some things that are surprising. We've had this happen for us. A number of times we've found very surprising results in our acquisition reports and we were able to invest more in a certain channel and drive up the RI even higher.

If you've got any questions about the Acquisition reports inside Google Analytics please let us know. We'd love to know more about what you're trying to find and help you get the most out of your data. Until next time, Happy Marketing. 

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works has also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing solutions.

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