How to spot mature vs emerging markets using the “Audience” report in Google Analytics

Want to see in which geographic regions you’ve got a more established presence, and in which regions there’s still a lot of potential for growth?

The Audience report in Google Analytics makes this really easy.

You can find it by clicking in the menu bar on the left on: Audience > Geo > Location

Locations-report-menubar

It’ll give you a map view for your audience, by default it will show you the number of sessions per region.

But a lot more interesting for our particular purpose is to look at the percentage of new sessions per geographic region.

You can view this by clicking on the dropdown button in the upper left corner, clicking “Site Usage” and then “% New Sessions”.

newsessions

When you see a geographic breakdown of the percentage of new sessions, you’ll be able to see things like:

A high percentage of visitors from New York have previously visited our site already (the % New Sessions count is low).

A much lower percentage of visitors from California have previously visited our site (the % New Sessions count is high).

How could this information help you make better marketing decisions?

Well, based on this data, you might conclude that for New York, you should focus your marketing efforts on increasing customer loyalty, whereas for California, you should focus your marketing efforts on increasing awareness.

SEO-optimize your WordPress blog with the free Yoast plugin

Having studied Google Analytics for hundreds of websites, one thing I see across the board when it comes to content-heavy sites (like blogs…) is that over time, the biggest source of traffic is organic search for most websites.

If you’re running on WordPress, the free Yoast SEO plugin is a no-brainer. It makes it super easy for you to make some quick and fast improvements to your WordPress blog.

There are a bunch of SEO plugins available for WordPress, but Yoast is really the one that has the best trackrecord over a long period of time, even though they weren’t the first to tackle this problem.

You can also visit their website for some great resources and instructions on how to get the most value out of the Yoast plugin, which is super useful when you lack a basic SEO knowledge.

Quick pointers how to improve posts

What’s more, it’s just super useful for your day-to-day blogging needs.

Underneath every blog post, you’ll see something like this:

yoast-seo-plugin-for-wordpress

Yoast makes it very easy to preview and edit the metadata that determines how your website will show up in the Google SERPs.

What’s more, it always gives a quick assessment of each post you’re writing and suggestions on how to improve it.

Don’t follow these guidelines religiously—it’s totally okay to disregard them. Know the rules, but be free to break them.

My favorite part is actually the readability tab:

Wordpress-readabilityplugin

It’s like having an editor bot for every of your blog posts.

(Speaking of which, I’m so excited when there are actually great editor bots! I’m sure this is not too far ahead in the future, given all the advances in AI that are happening.)

XML-sitemaps

It’s super important to have sitemaps to make it easy for Google to crawl your website. Of course, Yoast takes care of that for you! If you don’t know what XML sitemaps are, and why you should care, learn more about sitemaps here. (It’s a somewhat dry, but informative and constantly update article that explains the most important things you should know about sitemaps pretty succinctly).

AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages

I’ve just installed the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) plugin by Automattic.

If you’re using WordPress, you should do this too. It takes just a minute, but will improve the experience of mobile visitors to your blog.

The web is going mobile, the amount of people accessing your content via mobile is always growing, and since the vast majority of your traffic will come from organic search, Google specifically, it would be silly not to optimize your site for mobile. Most likely, it will even increase your SERP rankings for mobile Google searches.

For more on AMP, read this, as well as Google AMP is about to become a much bigger deal, showing up in everybody’s mobile search results.

Google Analytics crash course – Reporting overview

I’m currently taking a free course from the Google Analytics Academy on anaytics fundamentals, and this video is super valuable if you want to get a very quick overview of Google Analytic’s reporting features that you can use to poke the data you’ve got in there a bit:

It’s super basic, but a great starting point. Some of the things it covers:

  • how to change date ranges for your reports (and compare to other date ranges)
  • how to change the granularity of the visual time graph (by day, week or month)
  • how to add annotations to specific dates (super useful, I use this all the time as it gives a lot of useful context to historical data when you’ll look at it in the future)
  • how to choose a default metrics for each view (and add a secondary metric to overlay that and be able to compare it)
  • a quick overview over data tables
    It’s useful to know the name of these, just so you’ve got the basic terminology of GA down.
    Data tables break down your data by a single dimension (most of the time). Each table row shows the data for a different value of the dimension
    GoogleAnalyticsDataTable
  • In data tables, you can not only change the primary dimension and add a secondary dimension, but also choose which sets of metrics will be displayed for each dimension. The most common set of metrics is probably the Site Usage set which will show things like number of visits, pages per visit, time on page, bounce rate, and so on.
  • How to filter the data in data tables using simple search queries
  • How to filter the data in data tables by using advanced filters, which allow you for example to show only data where the minimum amount of Visits is above 200, or where the average time on sit is at least 1 minute, or whatever filter will best match your needs.
  • How to change the way data is visualized using the view options (by default, most reports show the data view. But there’s also a percentage view that shows a pie chart, and you can choose which metric to be showed as a pie chart. There’s also a performance view, a comparison view and a pivot view
  • how to plot multiple rows of data
    This was a super useful feature that I wasn’t even aware of until recently, but it’s now one of my favorite features that I use quite often!

Let’s expand a bit on plotting multiple rows of data.

You probably are familiar with this common view of a graph in GA, which plots the number of sessions over a given date range:

GoogleAnalytics-standardgraph

What you can do now is to select additional rows from the data table to be plotted in that graph, in this case, it’s the number of sessions plus various traffic sources which you can see plotted in other colors:

GoogleAnalytics-PlottingRows

I never paid much attention to this, because for me, the term “Plot Rows” wasn’t clear.

But if you look at the meaning, it becomes pretty obvious:

to plot: make a curve by marketing out a number of points on a graph

rows: refers to the rows you select in the data table

Shortcuts in GA

Another cool thing you can learn from this video is how to quickly access custom views that you want to use repeatedly. You can just save them as a shortcut in GA!

Simply click on “Shortcut”, give this shortcut a name, and you’ll be able to access it with just the click of a mouse button.

The shortcuts are available to you in the menubar on the left.

What are Channels in Google Analytics?

First of all, we should start out by saying that Google’s support documentation has the best, most in-depth explanation of this if you’ve got the time to really dig deep.

I’m gonna give you a quick, easy-to-understand high-level overview here.

Channels in Google Analytics are there to group data from various acquisition sources in a way that’s useful to you, the marketer looking at your analytics data.

Google gives you a bunch of Channels right out of the box, called Default Channel Groupings.

Here they are:

defaultchannelgroupings

But you can customize Channels in Google Analytics to better match them for your own needs.