My Favorite Google Analytics Report – Use This First!

In this post, I’ll fill you in on what I think is the single most useful Google Analytics report there is.

After all, these reports aren’t always the easiest to understand as there are over 50 reports in Google Analytics to make sense of. So, which one should you be using? In this video, I’m gonna show you my favorite report in Google Analytics and why I chose this one over the others. 

How we use Google Analytics can vary a lot depending on what your business goals, industry etc. and this will, of course, mean some reports are more important to us than others. 

But, there’s one report that I find myself using time and time again. 

The Source/Medium Google Analytics Report

All right, so welcome to my favorite report. This is the Source Medium report.

source-medium-report-google-analytics

You can find it under the Acquisition and the Source Medium.

It’s actually a report that I would choose to look at if there would be no other reports in Google Analytics. This is the most valuable part of it all at least for a first analysis and it’s really about being an online marketer and caring about where my users come from and this is the question that this report answers quite well and even goes a step further telling me how it’s performing and some instances how I can improve it. 

What is the Source/Medium Report?

Source Medium is a classification of Google Analytics determining where your users came from, when they entered your website. As opposed to the other reporting that we have about channels, source medium is really the raw data point that comes in that you can influence through UTM parameters. 

If you don’t know what UTM parameters are, then I’d urge you to check out this post on how to go about setting them up.

So, every time a user enters your website, starts a new session, he gets sorted into one of these rows here that tell us where they’ve come from. 

source-medium-dimension

Why is this my favorite report? 

We can quickly analyze the most important traffic sources for us, so in this case, the organic source results of Google, any other important referrals, how well paid advertising is doing, Google CPC, for example, and also the traffic that Google couldn’t classify. I always call this dead traffic. 

It doesn’t really hold any insights because we don’t know where this traffic actually came from. So, my inclination is always to try to decrease that amount and actually send in traffic with UTM parameters attached.

Metrics – Analysing Your Data

In these metric fields, we get a great overview of what happens to the traffic once it enters our website. 

source-medium-metrics-acquisition-behaviour-conversions

We have this model of ABC analysis. That’s Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions. You might be familiar with these terms from the big reportings up here, Acquisition, Behavior, Conversions. 

acquisition-behaviour-conversions-metrics

These really are digging deeper into these aspects of our analysis and these really answer the question of where our traffic comes from, what do they do on our website, and do they reach the goal of our website? 

Down here everything is broken down by these different source mediums and we can see line by line how these stack up against each other. This is quite great because we can quickly compare different sources against each other. 

For instance, Google is bringing us most of the traffic but the e-commerce conversion is much lower as opposed to this referral source, much lower traffic but the conversion is much higher. 

comparing-different-traffic-source-performance

Maybe you should be working on increasing this traffic source here as it has a much higher chance to convert. If you don’t see any data in your e-commerce reports it might be that you have goals installed but if you see no data at all, then it means you don’t have goals installed and this is something that you definitely should do. 

We have some videos on this channel as well on how to set up goals in Google Analytics. Back to the e-commerce reports, let’s have another look at the different metrics that we see right where. 

Acquisition – Where Do My Users Come From?

So, for example, in the Google CPC column, we can analyze how effective our traffic is that comes from our paid advertising on Google.com. We get a decent amount of traffic.

Behavior – What Are They Doing on My Website?

It has a bounce rate of 57%. What does that mean? Well, 57% of the users that actually enter the website through the source Google CPC only have one page view in that session which gives us an idea how relevant the actual landing page is in connection to the actual ad, so what does the user expect once he clicks on an ad? To come to a website where he can find a product, for example, if he doesn’t find that, he will bounce.

So, overall, you will try to decrease this bounce rate and help the user at least to go to the next page and interact with your page further but this only happens if your ad is really relevant to the user and he finds on the next page when he clicks through that there’s a relevant product that he wants to buy. 

Well, once the user is on the page, he clicks through and on average looks at 3.61 pages in that session and stays for an amount of one minute 52 seconds. Again, these numbers don’t mean anything on their own. You would need to compare them against your other traffic sources and see where you might need to improve a traffic source if that’s in the realm of your marketing efforts.

Conversions – Did My Website Users Reach My Goal?

We see how many people of those people who entered the website and clicked through actually converted and how much revenue they have generated. 

Revenue is also a great KPI for you if you are, for example, a PPC manager.  You probably know how much you’ve spent on the account in a given period and therefore do a quick ROI analysis to see if this is still a profitable campaign for you.

So, you can get some really quick insights through this report just by asking these questions

– Where does my user come from?

– What does he do on the website? 

– Did he convert and reach my goal? 

What Now? – Some Options for Further Analysis

Use Other Useful Google Analytics Reports

Obviously we can go deeper into some of these traffic sources like Google CPC but that’s really what these other reports are all about. You have your AdWords reports, your Search Console reports, referral reports and much more to get a closer look at each traffic source.

other-useful-google-analytics-reports

And once you have a broad overview of what data you wanna dig into, you will have more questions and this is what Google Analytics is all about to actually start investigating, start analyzing, 

Segment Data in Your Google Analytics Reports

segmentation-google-analytics

Using the tools like the Custom Segment Builder up here.

Use Various Visualizations

visualizations-google-analytics

Different visualization methods to understand your user behavior whether answering those questions that you have asked and getting to a conclusion, a recommendation or an actual action that you take in your marketing account, for example, to influence these different metrics. 

Summary

Alright, so there you have it. The Source / Medium Report is my absolute favorite Google Analytics Report. 

It’s my starting point when doing data analysis and it usually triggers a lot of questions. 

I see something in the report that is interesting and then I try to find out or I get a new question and I try to find out the answer in another report which may lead me into the AdWords or the SEO reports of Google Analytics to find out more about how I can optimize this given channel. 

This is favorite, but leave a comment down below and let me know what yours is!

And if you want to learn more about how to use Google Analytics Reports then be sure to take our free Google Analytics beginner course.

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ThinhMark SlezingerAndy McDuffMikeInEdmontonRicardo Godinho Recent comment authors
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MikeInEdmonton
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MikeInEdmonton

What a waste of 9 minutes….

Ricardo Godinho
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Ricardo Godinho

Yes, it’s a good starting point to evaluate visitor intention. If you don’t know how they came up, its really difficult where to optimize. Complementing with segmentation such as returning and non returning, and dimensions, will boost comprehension.

Andy McDuff
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Andy McDuff

I look at exactly the same report as you Julian 🙂 Thanks for the video !

Mark Slezinger
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Mark Slezinger

Great video and use of my time. I always learn a lot from Measureschool.

Jeffsauer
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yep, it’s my favorite report too!

Thinh
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Thinh

Great insight, Julian, thanks for sharing!