Audience Overview

4 minutes
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Let's start talking about some different reports that we can use in Google Analytics. And I want to begin by talking about the audience overview report. So the audience overview report is the easiest report to find in Google Analytics. And that's because this is the default report, you'll see as soon as you open up your Google Analytics account. This is what the audience overview report looks like when you load it. And you'll see on here that there's a graph that shows you how your traffic is trending over time.

And then you'll see some different metrics below that graph. Let's talk about what each of those metrics are. So starting with users, so users is the number of people who saw your website. The next metric that we have is sessions. So Sessions is the count of times that those users interacted with your website, how many times those people came back to your website. The next metric is pageviews.

So pageviews is the number of pages people viewed during their session. We then have pages per session, which is just simple map of the number of pages viewed divided by the number of sessions people have. So you have an average idea of how many pages people look at, during their visit to your website. Next metric we have is average session duration. average session duration is a metric that tells you how long people spent on your website, mostly. Now, the word mostly here gets to some quirkiness with how Google Analytics tracks this.

And basically how Google Analytics is tracking duration is they take the time between when you click to one page, and then you click to the next page to determine how long you spent on that page. And that's fine, so long as you're always visiting another page. But right as soon as you visit that last page on a website, right, there always will be some last page right, people aren't staying on your website indefinitely. So whatever that last page is, there's no next page to measure against. So Google Analytics doesn't know how long people spend On that last page that they viewed on your website, so session duration isn't exactly precisely how long people spend on your website. But it's close enough to give you a relative idea of how that's working.

And certainly you can look at this as it's trending over time, give you an idea if people are spending more or less time on your website, based on the changes that you're making. Now, the last metric we have on here is the bounce rate. And the bounce rate is a measurement of the percent of sessions where a user looked at one page, and then left your website. So they looked at just one page, they did nothing else, and then they left from your website. Now the other thing that you can do that's really helpful on any report, but I'll show you how to do it here on this report is comparing different date ranges. So in this case, we have selected January of 2020.

We're looking at a full month. But let's say we want to compare that to something else. So we go up to the date area in the upper right corner of all the different reports. Click on the date, and we'd expose this date box. And then on this date box, we can then select the box that says compare to. And then we have a few different comparison options when compared to the prior year when compared to the prior period.

Or you can compare to the custom time period. So in this case, let's do compare to prior here. I've selected January of 2020. And I'm comparing to previous year. So I'm looking at January of 2019. And then on here, I can see how things are trending over time.

So in this case, I have a lot more users. I have a few more sessions, but my number of pageviews has decreased, my pages per session has decreased, my average session duration has decreased and my bounce rate has decreased. So as I think about that, and as I look at that comparison, I can start to think well, what did I do differently in this January compared to that prior January? Are there things that maybe I should correct? Are there things I should do differently going forward, based on how these numbers are looking? So what do we do here?

Well, the audience overview report is really helpful to give you an idea of how your traffic is performing. How much traffic does your website get every month, every week every day. With this report, you can get a sense at a high level. Also at a high level, you can get an idea of the overall quality of the traffic arriving on your website. You can also within here do different time comparisons and you can look and see how things are trending differently month over month or year over year or even week over week or again within a custom time period, pick any arbitrary date range and compare it to some other date range that's more meaningful to you. So really take some time to think about what time comparisons would be the most beneficial for you to review.

Next up, let's talk about different way of looking at our traffic by looking at where the traffic is coming from.

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