In this series of blog posts I’m giving a fairly brief overview of some of the reports within the 5 main reporting categories in Google Analytics. In last week’s post I discussed the key reports in the Acquisition category. This week – I’m talking about Behavior Reports.
Blog Posts in this series:
The Behavior Reports give you an overview of how users behave on your website. They show you what your users view and how they navigate through your site and what content they engage with.
All of this information can help you optimise your website for performance and conversions.
Behavior – Overview Report
The overview report, as you might expect, shows you a high-level overview of key behavior-related metrics in a visual format including:
- Total Pageviews
- Unique Pageviews
- Average Time on Page
- Bounce Rate
- % Exit
- Pageviews for the top 10 most-viewed pages
- Search Terms data from Site Search
- Event categories from the top five Unique Events
Behavior Reports – Behavior Flow
The Behavior Flow report shows a flow diagram of the paths your website users take on your website.
By default it starts from the landing page they entered into our site , moves on through 1st, 2nd, 3rd interaction, etc. on the site and ends at the page they exited from. You are also able to adjust the level of detail in the connections.
You can toggle a drop-down to view traffic behavior based on dimensions other than “Landing Page” including Source, Medium and Campaign.
This report allows you to gain a better understanding of user behavior through the site and determine if different sets of users are doing what you want them to do. It can act as the starting point for determining what you can do to influence user behavior – e.g. add CTAs where users are veering of your expected path, add internal links to pages that see high exits from particular flows.
Behavior Reports – Site Content
The Site Content reports are a series of reports that, as the name suggests, shows you how users interact with your website content. The sub-reports are:
- All Pages — Shows the best performing and least performing content by URL in terms of high level metrics and page value.
- Content Drilldown —Shows the top folders of content on your website and allows you to drill down into each folder to see the top performing content within that folder.
- Landing Pages — Shows the best performing and least performing landing pages in terms of high level metrics and page value.
- Exit Pages — Shows pages where users most commonly exited from.
Whilst the metrics in these reports are pretty high level, it will help you to identiy the content that your website visitors want from your website, particularly if you have not yet conifigured more specific website goals based on a Google Analytics Measurement Plan.
The Content Drilldown sub-report allows you to determine website section popularity, in terms of pageviews and topline metrics. This report, in particular, can prove very valuable in deciding on what types of content to add to your current site, or for making Information Architecture decisions for a website redesign.
The Landing Pages report allows you to analyse Bounce Rate and Exit Rate which is valuable information to feed page design, particularly for campaign landing pages for which you are paying to drive traffic to.
The Exit Pages report can help you to quickly determine which pages need to be optimised to engage users and drive them towards consuming more content or converting. Some pages, e.g. thank-you pages will obviously appear high in this report which is to be expected.
Behavior Reports – Site Speed
Site Speed Reports is linked to Google’s own Pagespeed Insights tool to give us reports on areas of the website that might need optimization.
The Page Timings sub-report tells you how long the most-visited pages took to load and compares this to the sitewide average. The Speed Suggestions sub-report offers automated tips from Google on how to optimize specific pages with steps for each suggestion.
These reports are invaluable in identifying slow loading content on your site and give you an indication of what you need to fix to improve both User Experience and SEO performance (as site speed is a recognised ranking factor).
Behavior Reports – Site Search
The Site Search reports is another report that is not automatically populated in an “out-of-the-box” Google Analytics configuration – it needs to be configured (based on the search query parameter of your site) in your View settings (another blog post on this to follow).
Once this has been set up, these reports show you what your users are searching for on your website. It reports when a visitor uses your website search bar to look for information.
This report can offer invaluable insight into what content users are having difficulty finding on your site, what types of content users expect to find on your site that isn’t there and gives you an idea of the words and terminology they are using.
Behavior Reports – Events
Event tracking requires additional implementation beyond the standard Google Analytics tracking. I will write another blog post on this in future. But basically or any actions on your site that aren’t automatically tracked by Google Analytics (e.g. Downloads, Video Plays, Scroll Depth, Button Clicks, Form Submissions, Widget Interactions) you can set up custom event tracking.
Each event is defined by a Category, Action and Label. By setting your own custom events, you can get a deeper look into content performance and user behavior and these Events reports is where your new data will appear.
That’s it for my overview of the key Behavior reports within Google Analytics. As I’ve mentioned, there’s a little bit of extra configuration required to get data flowing in some of these reports but in most cases, it’s well worth it. I’ll be writing blog posts on setting up internal site search and also on the basics of custom event tracking in the coming weeks. Before that, I’ll be completing this series with a blog post where I’ll be discussing the main reports available to you within the “Conversions” category in Google Analytics. Stay tuned…