I was teaching a course called “Web & Mobile Analytics” at Aalto University back in 2015.
As a part of that course, the students conducted an analytics audit for their chosen website. I’m sharing the list of questions I made for that audit, as it’s a useful list for getting to know Google Analytics.
Choose a period to look at (e.g., the past month, three months, last year, this year… generally, the longer the better because it gives you more data). Answer the questions. The questions are organized by sections of Google Analytics.
- How has the website traffic evolved during the period your inspecting? How does the traffic from that period compare to earlier periods?
- What are the 10 most popular landing pages?
- What are the 10 pages with the highest bounce rate AND at least 100 visits in the last month? (Hint: advanced filter)
- How does the user behavior differ based on the device they’re using? (Desktop/laptop, mobile, tablet)
- Where do people most often navigate to from the homepage?
- How do new and old visitors differ by behavior?
- What is the general bounce rate of the website? Which channel has the highest bounce rate?
- How well do the users engage with the website? (Hint: Define the metrics you used to evaluate engagement.)
- Is there a difference in engagement between men and women?
- How is the traffic distributed among the major sources?
- Can you find performance differences between paid and organic channels?
- Compare the goal conversion rate of different marketing channels to the site average. What can you discover?
- What is the most profitable source of traffic?
- What is the best sales (or conversion, based on the number of conversions) month of the year? How would you use this information in marketing planning?
- Which channels or sources seem most promising in terms of sales potential? (Hint: look at the channels with high CVR and low traffic)
- Analyze conversion peaks. Are there peaks? Can you find explanation to such peaks?
- Can you find sources that generated assisted conversions? Which sources are they? Is the overall volume of assisted conversions significant?
- Does applying another attribution model besides the last click model alter your view on the performance of marketing channels? If so, how?
- Based on your audit, how could the case company develop its digital marketing?
- How could the case company’s use of analytics be developed? (E.g., what data is not available?)
- What other interesting discoveries can you make? (Mention 2–5 interesting points.)
Answering the above questions provides a basic understanding of a goal-oriented website’s situation. In the domain of analytics, asking the right questions is often the most important (and difficult) thing.
In addition, the students built a dashboard for the class. Again, the instructions illustrate some useful basic functions of Google Analytics.
Build a dashboard showing the following information. Include a screenshot of your dashboard in the audit report.
Where is the traffic coming from?
- breakdown of traffic by channel
What are the major referral sources?
- 10 biggest referral sites
How are conversions distributed geographically?
- 5 biggest cities by conversions
How is Facebook bringing conversions?
- Product revenue from Facebook as a function of time
Are new visitors from different channels men or women?
- % new sessions by channels and gender
What keywords bring in the most visitors and money?
- revenue and sessions by keyword
If you see fit, include other widgets in the dashboard based on the key performance metrics of your company.
Reports and dashboards are basic functions of Google Analytics. More advanced uses include custom reports and metrics, alerts, and data importing.