Google Analytics 101: Beginner's Guide

You have invested plenty of time, resources and money into launching a website for your ecommerce business. Now what? Now you need to know how to track your website visitors, which pages get the most traffic and see how people are finding your site to begin with.

One of the best tools that you can use to track these activities is Google Analytics. This tool may seem daunting at first, but it is crucial in helping you understand the effectiveness of your website, and ultimately your business. In order to use Google Analytics successfully, you will need to know how to read and evaluate the results, so let us help you with that!

Back to Basics: What is Google Analytics?

First thing’s first: Google Analytics is a free tracking tool that gives you detailed data on your website visitors and their actions on your site. It’s the most comprehensive analytics tool in the market. Sounds good, right? The reason why this is so important is because the more you understand your website visitors and their actions on your site, the more easily you will be able to make data-driven marketing decisions to grow your business.


It’s free! Need we say more? This should be an easy decision considering there is no cost-benefit analysis needed, just benefits!

It provides easy to understand reports: This is key. No one wants to look at reports they don’t understand. Google Analytics truly gives you a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t on your site. Even if you’re not an analytics expert, you can easily interpret the data.

It’s comprehensive: It gives you everything you need to know about your visitors. Google Analytics is a tool that provides in-depth insight into website traffic, visitor demographics, and other activity that takes place on your site. Understanding your visitors’ habits will only make it easier to fix the customer experience and boost sales.

Everybody’s doing it: 3,470,280 companies use Google Analytics because they believe it is an important tool for their business.


Once your Google Analytics account has been setup, you’ll have access to a variety of reports that you can use to track your results. These metrics provide a deeper overview of your site’s performance where you see in real-time how the traffic is impacting your business.


1. Audience Overview

It's important to have a deeper understanding about who is primarily on your site. The ‘Audience Overview’ heading can be found on the left-hand column of the dashboard. This view provides a snapshot of the traffic that’s coming to your site, as well as insight about your audiences’ characteristics. What is also great about this view is that you have the ability to measure these results based on a selected time period. You are able to filter down to see your monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly results!

Within Audience Overview you can also see:

  • Demographics: Reveals the age and gender of your website visitors.
  • Interests: Understand the lifestyle of your website visitors.
  • Location: Where your website visitors are located.
  • Behaviour: See how many new visitors and repeat visitors as well as their engagement on your site. As a general rule, 30% is a healthy amount for return visitors. If you notice this number is lower, this may indicate that you are not doing enough remarketing. New traffic is great for brand awareness, however if there are few people returning to your site, there will likely be less conversions.
  • Technology/Mobile: Shows which technology they are using to browse your site. It is important to know how most of your visitors are browsing your site. Many people use their phones and therefore you should ensure your site is fully mobile-friendly which quick load time.

How to use the Audience Overview

ga pic This sample chart shows what you may see. It can identify days where they may have been a surge in traffic. A spike in traffic can be attributed to a popular blog post, a media placement or mention in another publication, a promotion, etc.

2. Acquisition Overview

Your Acquisition Overview will identify where your visitors are coming from and what they are searching for that is related to your business. This heading can be found along the left-hand column of the dashboard as well.

Within Acquisition Overview you can also see:

  • Top Channels: This is an important view as you will be able to see the breakdown of different channels people are using to discover your site. This includes paid search, social, direct, referral, etc).
  • Keywords: You will be able to see which keywords are most often used in organic search to your website.
  • Social Media: This will let you know which social channels are the most successful in terms of redirecting traffic to your site.

How to use the Acquisition Overview

Seeing a list of the top ten keywords people use to find your website is a fantastic insight. Knowing this will help with your SEO and website strategy and having certain keywords be more prominent or rank higher. Since you will also be able to track which platforms are driving traffic to your site, you will be able to focus your marketing efforts on the most successful channels! An average organic traffic benchmark you will want to consistently hit is around 60-70%. Keep in mind that this takes time to build and should be measured on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.

3. Behaviour Insights

Here you will be able to learn more about your site’s most popular pages, their bounce-rate and how long people typically stay on your site before leaving. Along the left-hand column, click on the ‘Behavior’ heading.

Some of the different results within Behaviour Insights, include:

  • Site Content: Shows which pages are the most popular amongst your visitors, and which are the least.
  • Site Search: If visitors have the option to use a custom search box on your site, you will be able to see which keywords are being used the most by your visitors.
  • Site Speed: It is crucial to have fast load time on your site as a way to keep people from exiting early if the site is taking too long to load – this view will show you the load time of different pages.

How to use Behavior Insights:

The information you will gather under the Behaviour Insights is a great way to understand if your website visitors are engaging with your content (or if they aren’t). If you are seeing a high bounce rate this reveals that users are visiting your website and leaving quickly.

This may indicate the content on your site is not valuable, your ads are unclear about the product or service being promoted. Being able to identify which pages are most important to your business and seeing how they perform will help determine if updates or improvements need to be made in order to better serve your customers or potential customers. This could mean investing in a better site or design, richer content, better ads, updating services or ensuring your site is mobile-friendly.

All of these tactics could reduce your bounce rate and keep your visitors on your site longer. An excellent bounce rate is anywhere between 26-40 per cent as a rule of thumb. Try it out!


Now that you have a better idea of how you can use Google Analytics to help your business, it’s time to test it out! Checking out the Audience Overview, Acquisition Overview and Behaviour Insights is a great starting point for you to get a better sense of what is happening on your ecommerce site and what tweaks and changes are needed for it to be more successful.

This data can also play into other marketing strategies like email, blog posts, social media channels, and paid search. Make sure to visit your Google Analytics dashboard on a regular basis in order to implement and effect any changes needed.

Not sure where to start with Google Analytics or figuring out what metrics you should be measuring to ensure you’re reaching your 2019 goals? Our Digital Marketing Experts at MarketTap can help! Book a free consultation call today by filling out the form below!