Google Analytics, Dashboard Basics and How to Visualize Your Data

Google Analytics, Dashboard Basics and How to Visualize Your Data

Posted on Posted in Data Analytics, Digital Marketing


What is Google Analytics?


Well, Google Analytics is a web analytics platform where web traffic is tracked, and the data is consolidated onto a Dashboard.


The entire dashboard platform that google provides is actually a free. Google Analytics gives you the most important data you need immediately upon collecting the data, for you to do your case studies.


Think of a detective show on Netflix, where FBI agents are at headquarters tracking down someone using an advanced tracking system. This is very similar to how google analytics actually works.


In reality, it actually tracks the digital footprints of anyone visiting your website or any other site for that matter.


Because of Google Analytics, both large and small/medium businesses can now better understand their customers needs’, and are able to creatively think of newer, better ways of approaching them with the data provided.

Google Analytics, Dashboard Basics and How to Visualize Your Data


How does Google Analytics Work?


Well, not to sound too technical, but Google Analytics uses a short string of JavaScript code that you copy and paste from your google analytics account, onto your website’s webpages, so as to track the movement of your visitors.


Each movement is carefully collected and can be measured using the platform when ready.


How and What is it used for?


Here are a few ways the data can be used,


  1. Creating and Tracking Online Campaigns (Brings in the most traffic)
  2. Locate where most of our visitors are coming from.
  3. See what pages/content they are constantly looking for.


Organizing the Dashboards


Google Analytics, Dashboard Basics and How to Visualize Your Data


A Dashboard is simply a compiled widget area, where you configure collected data for visualization.


The good thing about dashboards is, you’re able to create multiple versions of any single metric, and customize them accordingly to your needs or preferences.


There are many different features to choose, so to make it easy i’ll start at the very beginning.


Below i’ve included a screenshot of the sample default site provided by google, to help you navigate through your analytics dashboard.

Google Analytics, Dashboard Basics and How to Visualize Your Data

It can seem a little overwhelming at first, but don’t worry, i’ll break it down for you so you won’t be too mind-baffled!


Google Analytics, Dashboard Basics and How to Visualize Your Data


Widgets as I mentioned earlier, are how you go about customizing dashboards.



Thankfully, Google Analytics dashboard does offer simple customization features that’s basic enough to allow you to move about widgets, and view only the data you wish to see.


Now let’s start tracking some data, We’ll begin by looking at some visitor stats.


Why are Visitor Stats Important?


Simple, they are your audience, and they (your potential customers) are paying close attention to what you say through your site.


“Your Audience listens to everything you say to them.”


You must have mentioned the right content at the right timing, hence the high traffic. And now, they’re all ready to carefully listen on what it is that you have to say next.


Now here’s where you implement your Elevator Pitch, or the 2min self introduction where you sell your idea/s to them; hopefully this pans out in your favour.


Okay, let’s focus back to the things concerning your audience.


Visitor Traffic


Visitors can be categorized into mainly 2 categories,


New Visitors and Returning Visitors.


Google Analytics, Dashboard Basics and How to Visualize Your Data


let’s start with the first,


New Visitors


This measurement here basically tells you that the visitors are visiting your site for the first time, and have never been to your website before.


Take note – Visitors who visit your site via their phones or tablets, and go to work and check it on a desktop, Google Analytics will recognize them as 3 new users.


An exception would be Google Chrome.



If you’re logging in on your google chrome browser, then via your desktop, you’ll be labelled as New Visitor, whilst on your phone you’ll be marked Returning Visitors. Which brings me to our next point.


As a rule of thumb, new visitors spend more time going through your site (and content) than returning visitors. This is widely recognised as a standard, not entirely but roughly an overall measure.


Returning Visitors


As the name states, returning visitors are people who have visited your website before, and have come back for more engaging content provided by you.


However though, if they haven’t been back to your site after some time (2 years to be exact, according to Google), then they’ll be counted as a New Visitor when they come visit you again.


A small suggestion to add on here; try to get feedback from your returning visitors on their user experience on your site and the overall contents.


Reason being, sometimes your site might be difficult to navigate around(not completely mobile-friendly) despite you having fantastic content. This is not good thing because your competitors may have similar, if not worse content, but have a mobile site that enables easy access and navigation.


Your returning visitors will be more aware of this than you, and this could be the very reason your new visitors stats indicate high user bounce rates with low session durations. Might be worth looking into the next time you log in.


What are Sessions?


Google Analytics, Dashboard Basics and How to Visualize Your Data




It’s the number of new visitors to your site versus the number of repeat visitors.


The number is displayed as a block measurement, but there’s also a percentage figure for your to track, either in Progress or with Growth.


The figures tend to vary from business to business, dependent on the industry.


For example, E-commerce.


They favour more new visitors, alongside their repeat customers of course, which enables them to predict their business model health as they prepare to scale.


Generally speaking, sessions are used usually as markers for Campaigns, signalling sizable visitorship numbers and growth during each period – Holiday season, Festive seasons, Yearly sales, all of which should indicate higher numbers to their website visits.


Campaigns should reflect an increase in traffic visitorship during promotional periods.


If not, then perhaps the campaigns need to be reevaluated, be it over its content, or the timing to which it was promoted at.


Read more on Content Marketing Fundamentals” 


Another case where you would want to have a strong returning number of visits would be Blogs.


Visitors who revisit their regular go-to blogs, are always looking for fresher, new content.


Be it new insights, promotionss, featured products or simply just browsing, strong numbers indicate a good following, which can be further utilized to promote both their own products or sponsored ones.


See below,





This signals visitor’s behavioral patterns when they visit your website.


This area here can be broken down to 3 main criterias, where you can observe the content they are following.


  • Page Sessions : This shows you the average number your visitors view on all your individual pages. Straight to the point.


  • Bounce Rate : This number indicates visitors are leaving your site immediately without clicking thru the rest of your site.

    However, high Bounce rates with long session duration may not directly mean that visitors are not interested in your site – E-commerce site have long sessions but high bounce rates.

    Because customers spend a lot of time on one product, and then leave once they’ve decided to leave or follow up with a purchase. 


  • Average Session Duration : This metric tells you how much time they’re spending on each individual page. The higher the number, the more this indicates that your content is appealing to your audience, hence people are spending a longer time consuming your content. This here can be useful in preparing your next content and will definitely help you better strategize how to better engage your audience .


Tracking Mobile Devices


As each year goes by, more and more users are browsing the web using their phones to search for information on the fly – which is what you could be doing right now reading this!


Since 2013, there has been a surge with people using tablets and mobile devices to surf the web on-the-go, ever since it became available to consumers.


Today, that number has surpassed desktop users globally, and it doesn’t seem to show any signs of stopping.


This makes for one very simple conclusion – The solution is Mobile Responsive Design.


Google Analytics, Dashboard Basics and How to Visualize Your Data


These days most WordPress templates have mobile responsive features that you can use almost immediately after installing your WordPress.


Here are some links i’d recommend from –> Themeforest that you could use.


One simple reason people use mobile phones is because they load faster, and with a much simpler navigation, it takes lesser time to find the information you need – given that the site’s designed well for mobile.


So let’s get to it.


Once again, if you see the chart below, you’ll notice that the statistics indicate 3 sub-categories,


  • Desktop
  • Tablet
  • Mobile


By comparison, each metric shows exactly which device each visitor uses to spend time reading content.


Google Analytics, Dashboard Basics and How to Visualize Your Data


Here you can integrate many other measurements for your data visualization.


For instance, you can use different graphs to better accentuate your presentation by comparing Avg. Session Duration with Conversion Rates or Goals.


Finding a percentage of users might prove to be more useful than simply measuring user volume.


Google Analytics, Dashboard Basics and How to Visualize Your Data


In most cases, the visitor number on each device is not really important, compared to finding out how the percentages convert.



You can measure Sessions vs Bounce Rates, or even Goals should you have a particular KPI to track your objectives.

In Summary,


Here are the 5 areas we’ve covered today,


  • What is Google Analytics
  • Dashboards
  • New vs Returning Visitors
  • Sessions & Behaviors
  • Mobile


If this answers your questions on how to use google analytics. Let me know your thoughts, leave me some comments below and i’ll get back to you!

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