When people contact me for Google Analytics training or consulting, it’s usually because they’ve been avoiding Google Analytics and are finally compelled to start drilling into their accounts. (Often there is an external force involved – such as a boss – who turned over management to that employee). And I do understand why people are overwhelmed with Google Analytics. There’s so much data that it can be difficult to know where to start. With beginners, I always start with the ABCs of Analytics.

Google AnalyticsWhen you login to your Google Analytics account, you will see categories of data in the left column. Start with Audiences (the first “A”) and choose “Overview” to see info about your visitors at a glance. New visitors are a good indicator that your marketing efforts bring in people who may be hearing about you for the first time. Returning visitors implies you have loyal customers who have a reason to come back to your site – perhaps they want to make another purchase or enjoyed your content in the past.

The second “A” is Acquisition which displays the sources that are sending you traffic. For example, if you have a number of new sessions under “Social”, your messaging on social media is probably pretty engaging and people want to learn more about what you offer. You can even drill in a little further to see if one social channel is outperforming the others. If there are very few sessions coming from your traffic source of “Social”, it could be that you are very conversational but have few messages that actually drive traffic to your site.

B is for Behavior. One metric to observe is the average time on your site and specific pages. If you have site with a lot of fresh content, you want to see high numbers, showing that people are engaged with your site. On the other hand, if it is a support site, you may want lower numbers, implying that visitors found what they needed right away.

And C is where the money is made – Conversions. For lead generation sites, you should have goals set-up for when people complete a desired action such as downloading a white paper or completing a form. For ecommerce sites, you want to track purchases.

Although that’s a very basic overview, it at least gives you an idea about how to view Google Analytics before you log in the first time. If you need additional guidance with these basics, check out my free video course that walks you through these steps. And make sure you have a good grasp of the ABCs before drilling into more advanced topics in Analytics.