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Google Analytics Analysis Part 1: Read Your Google Analytics Data By Date

In June, we discussed how to effectively leverage Google Analytics for your website.  Due to the sheer volume and robustness of data provided by Google Analytics, small business owners can often get lost amongst the data and reports.  Today, we launch a three-part series that dives further into how to best use, read, and analyze your Google Analytics data.

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Is your business cyclical? Does it spike on certain months of the year instead of maintaining steady growth or traffic? Most businesses see patterns in their traffic. Your business's activity depends on everything from the time of the year to upcoming holidays and breaks in school attendance to even events on local and national news.  A slight decrease in traffic doesn't necessarily mean bad news -- it just means a trend is developing. Identifying trends is vital to the success of your online marketing initiatives.  To clearly view your business's progress and how it's growing in more than a month-by-month analysis, Google Analytics can give you breakdowns of your website's activity over time, no matter how to want to measure it.

How can you see your website's activity over time?

  • View activity point by point. When you first open your Google Analytics, it will show you graphs of daily, monthly, or quarterly activity. From here, you can analyze page views, unique visitors, or how many pages the average visitor views. As you zoom in and out on your timeline, trends immediately become visible: maybe your traffic spikes during the weekends, or maybe your site gets more traffic during the workday. The longer you have Google Analytics configured on your website, the more you can zoom out on that timeline and see if you get more traffic during the summer holiday or if the Christmas shopping season is really your money-maker.
  • Compare different periods of time. Instead of just glancing over the line of data points, Google Analytics has a 'Compare' feature so you can truly measure growth. You can get exact numbers of how this month compared to last month, or how this Friday compared to other Fridays. This comparison feature is particularly valuable once you have an idea of your business's general trends. Once you know your business does best at the end of the month, or even during specific months, you can compare that to previous months and even years so you can pinpoint some key marketing factors including:
    1. How your business is growing during targeted seasons or busy periods
    2. If your trends are holding true or if your traffic is changing
    3. What impact changes you make (large sales, website design, new releases, various marketing initiatives, etc.) are having on traffic

Google Analytics has a wide variety of features and reports for measuring your data by time. Dedicate a period of your week or month just to review your website's traffic, and be sure to click around through the various features. You never know what way of viewing your data will give you surprising insight into your business. If you want to learn more about how to customize Analytics reports and sorting your data, contact us.

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