How Much Traffic Is Your Website Getting?

How much traffic did your website get yesterday?

Let’s see how you can compare yesterday’s traffic with the previous day, week, or year using Google Analytics!

In this guide, we’ll learn how to analyze and compare the traffic data on Google Analytics across any particular period. 

An overview of what we’ll cover: 

So let’s dive in!

How to Get a Quick Overview of Website Traffic

Let’s start by opening our Google Analytics account. If you don’t already have an account with lots of data, Google also has a demo Google Merchandise Store account that you can use for practice. 

When you hover over the line chart on the home screen, it will give you the website traffic for any specific date. This will quickly answer the question that we’re asking: how much traffic did my website get yesterday?

Show website traffic on a specific day on Google Analytics home screen dashboard by hovering mouse over any point on the line graph

Along with the number of visitors, you will also get details like how you acquired users, how active users are trending over time, when are your users visiting, and more on your home screen. 

Bar graph of Traffic Channel data on acquired users on Google Analytics home screen, with tabs for Source/Medium and Referrals graphs

However, we can get a more detailed view of our website traffic under the Audience report. 

Understanding Web Traffic through Page Views, Sessions, and Users

Let’s take a more detailed look at our web traffic. On the home screen, go to the Audience menu and click on Overview

Overview of traffic data on Google Analytics under Audience Overview report

This will take us to the Audience Overview report. This report will also have a line chart displaying the number of visitors each day, similar to our first dashboard.

To visualize the data for a particular set of days, we’ll go to Date Range and select a Custom date. 

Custom Date Range for traffic tracking on Google Analytics

If we’re viewing the data for just one particular day—say we click Yesterday on the Date Range, it will give us an hourly report of the number of website visitors on that day. 

Hourly data for website traffic in users on Google Analytics

But when we say website traffic, it can actually refer to a variety of different metrics. Let’s break some of these metrics down. 

Page Views

Each time a user goes from one page to another page on your website, a data point will be sent to Google Analytics. These data points are Page Views. 

This data may or may not be relevant for your website, depending on the type of website you own.

For example, an eCommerce store might have more page views on its product pages compared to a one-page informational website. Since conversions come from purchases on products, this is fine to see.

However, for a consulting business, you might like to see more page views on your home page, “About” page, or contact page. And if your focus is content marketing, then the most relevant page views for your business might be for blog posts.

In any case, page view data can give you a more nuanced understanding of how users are interacting with your site—and how successful your online presence is.

Sessions

A session is a grouping of different page views within a time frame by a single user. The default time frame for a session is 25 minutes. 

Let’s say a user came to a particular website, visited a few pages, and left. Later that day, the same user again returns to the website and visits a few more pages.

This user will generate two sessions, each with a couple of page views. Thus, the page view count will always be more than the sessions count.

Users

Lastly, we can also track the traffic by the ‘Users’ metric. 

A user is registered based on cookies or their user ID. So, when the user returns to the website, they’ll be counted as the same visitor. 

Naturally, the number of Users will be the least, followed by the number of Sessions and Page Views

Scopes: Bringing It All Together

All these metrics to track website traffic are known as scopes. Each scope gives us more details about the metrics. 

Users, Sessions, Page Views, New Users, Number of Sessions per User, and Pages/Session metrics in Google Analytics

For example, page views can tell us how long a user was on a page, sessions can give us data on bounce rate, and user metrics will tell us whether a particular visitor was a new user or a returning user. 

That’s why it is of utmost importance that we see the data through the right lens. Depending on the purpose of your tracking, some metrics might be more relevant to you than others. 

Analyzing Google Analytics Traffic Metrics

Our quest for meaningful information doesn’t end at tracking data. The next step is analyzing it.

We can look at our yesterday’s website traffic in different ways. 

In the Date Range, check the box next to Compare to, and choose Custom. We’ll select the dates we want to compare from the calendar and click on Apply

How to compare traffic for different periods on Google Analytics

For example, we can compare yesterday’s data with the previous day’s data to see how the traffic has changed in the last 1 day. Hourly metrics for each day will be represented as different colored lines on the graph. 

Graphical comparison of hourly website traffic between yesterday’s and the previous day’s user data on Google Analytics

Similarly, if yesterday was a Monday, we can compare this data with the previous Monday. Sometimes this comparison is more useful if the day of the week affects your web traffic.

Line graph comparison of two consecutive Mondays’ hourly user traffic in Google Analytics

You can now see that the graph shows a better comparative structure for a more extended period. 

You can even compare data between two dates a year apart. This could be a useful comparison if you want to compare data from annual occurrences, like holidays or special events.

Line graph comparison of one day’s hourly traffic on June 10, 2018 and June 10, 2019 in Google Analytics

If you scroll down, you’ll also be able to see the percentage change in individual metrics between the two dates that you’ve selected for comparison. These statistics can help you visualize growth (or problems) on your website. 

Google Analytics shows the percentage change in user metrics for website traffic between two compared dates

Summary

One of the most common data points in tracking website traffic is yesterday’s visitors. 

However, you can make even better use of this data by comparing it with previous days or weeks.  These comparisons can tell you if your campaigns are successful and if there are demand surges on particular days.

If you’re not seeing as many page views per session as you’d like to (or if some important pages are lacking pageviews entirely), it might be a clue that you need to improve your website navigation

Or if you see lots of returning users but few conversions, you may want to consider remarketing with a tool like Google Ads or Facebook Ads.

What other insights have you gained from comparing your web traffic over time? Do you have any tips on what to look out for? Let us know in the comments below!

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