I’ve recently written a couple of blog posts related to analytics: You Blog, But Does Anyone Care? and 5 Simple Ways to Get More out of Google Analytics (s goog). It appears (based on the analytics, of course) that quite a few of you were interested in this topic, so I thought I would follow-up with another post and a few more tips. When I wrote the earlier post, I had a hard time narrowing it down to just five tips, so here are three more tips on Google Analytics features that you might not have used before.
1. Advanced Segments
Don’t feel limited by looking at your data through the segments that Google Analytics defines as defaults. While all visitors, new visitors, and returning visitors are certainly interesting, you should try defining some of your own. I have created a segment for looking at the behavior of frequent visitors, meaning visitors who have come to the site 5 or more times in particular time frame. It’s possible to compare such a custom segment with other segments, so I can see if frequent visitors spend more or less time on the site, and visit fewer or more pages than new visitors, or other returning visitors.
You can create some very detailed segments, too. For example, I created two test segments: both are from Western Europe, but one segment is Firefox users, and the other is Chrome users. I compared the two, and found that people from Western Europe using Firefox spent more time on my site and visited more pages. You can even use these advanced segments on the custom reports that I mentioned in my previous post.
You can define a custom segment by going to the “My Customizations” box and selecting “Advanced Segments.” Once you have an advanced segment defined, an “Advanced Segments” drop-down menu will appear in the gray bar at the top of your reports.
2. Navigation Summary
The Navigation Summary lets you look at any page on your website, to find out what page they came from, and what page they went to next. This provides interesting information about whether key pages are fulfilling their purpose.
For example, my blog has a “Starting Point” page that was designed to help people find articles that I’ve written. The Navigation Summary shows that from my Starting Point page, most people go to my page on Yahoo Pipes and RSS Hacks. I suspect this is because of the way the navigation on the page is designed; I can use the analytics data to reorganize the navigation to make my content easier to find.
You can get to the Navigation Summary by visiting the “Content Overview” page and clicking on “Navigation Summary” in the right column, underneath the graph. On the Navigation Summary page, select the “Content” drop-down box to see navigation data for any page. Dennis Graham has written an in-depth explanation of some other interesting ways to use this data.
Detailed data in Google Analytics is shown as a table by default, but you can also see the data as a percentage pie chart, performance bar chart, comparison chart, or even a pivot table with all kinds of interesting data about your visitors. For example, a pivot table could be used to compare visitors from Google in Asia who are new or returning.
Looking at a pivot table of my top content, it was interesting to see that people who land on certain pages from Twitter spend much less time on the page than people who arrived from some of the other sources.
To access the various views, go to any page with a table and look under the right side of the top graph or just above a table to find a “Views” section with five icons representing your different views.
What are your favorite Google Analytics tips?
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