Let's review a sample report from Google Analytics and discuss the sections.


At the top of the report, note the date range that specifies what site data is shown. While this sample is displayed as a PDF, on the corresponding page in Google Analytics, you can specify the range of dates you want to view data for, as well as opt to compare data between two date ranges (i.e., comparing a week or month with the same time span last year).

Below the date range is a visual graph representing the number of site visits during the targeted time frame. Online you can change this graph to display points for daily, weekly, or monthly visit data. You can also view specific point data when you mouse over each graph point online or view the detailed data for a date/graph point by clicking on it.

Export/E-mail & Segments
Not visible on the sample report PDF (but available on report pages in Google Analytics) are options above the Dashboard section that allow you to export the displayed report page to a PDF or XML document or share the report with someone via an e-mail message.

You can also specify up to four "segments" of the site data to display in the report, such as All Visits, New Visitors, Returning Visitors, Search Traffic, Mobile Traffic, etc. This can be helpful if you want to consider a particular segment of the site visit population.

Site Usage

The Site Usage section highlights site visits, page views, the average visit depth (pages/visit), the bounce rate, the average time a visitor spent on the site, and the percentage of site visitors who had never been to the site before. See the glossary page for definitions of these terms.

Online, clicking on any of the items in the Site Usage section will break out a more detailed look at that particular type of data over the date range displayed in the report. For instance, clicking on the word pageviews yields a page displaying pageview data for the timeframe in question.

Visitors Overview

The Visitors Overview page lists the same statistics displayed in the Site Usage section of the main page but added in the total number of unique visitors during the targeted time frame.

As with these key terms on the main page, online, you can click on any of them to get a more detailed view and have online options to export or email the report data, change the date range displayed, and change the displayed metrics.

At the bottom of the Visitors, the Overview page is a section reflecting the technical profile of site visitors, identifying the popular browsers and connection speeds used when accessing your site. Online you can elect to view full reports on these topics, as well as data on the following visitor-related data:

  • languages
  • operating systems
  • screen colors and resolutions
  • Java and Flash support

Traffic Sources Overview

The Traffic Sources Overview page highlights whether visitors came to your site directly (i.e., by typing in the URL or using a bookmark), through a referring website, or a search engine. The tables at the bottom of the table document traffic sources and the keywords visitors used when they found the site via a search engine.

Online, Google Analytics allows you to export, e-mail, or segment the data; change the date range or whether it's displayed by day, week, or month; and view more specific information about each of the traffic source types (direct, referring site, and search engine), including stats such as total visits, average time on site, bounce rate, average visit depth, and percentage of new visitors (all in terms of the traffic source selected). You can also view full reports on the Sources and Keywords sections at the bottom of the page.

Map Overlay

The Map Overlay page provides a detailed look at where the site visitors are located. The darker coloration on the map indicates a higher number of visits from that country. The chart below the map breaks out the details for each country's visitors, including visits, average visit depth (pages/visit), average time on site, how many of the visitors were completely new to the site, and how many visited the page in question (in this case the university home page) and left without visiting any other pages in the site.

Online, you can change the date range for the data, click on any country (text or image) to view details, mouse over any country in the image to get visit numbers, change the details at the bottom of the page to be displayed as a table (default), a pie chart, or a bar chart, among other options. The map image defaults to display country/territory data but can also be changed to display visit information by city or grouped by subcontinent or continent.

Google Analytics also includes a box at the bottom of the table data allowing you to filter the displayed information. For instance, you could elect to view only countries with the word United in them (for whatever reason), and the display would show only the US, the UK, and the UAE.

Content Overview

The Content Overview page displays total page views, unique page views, and the overall bounce rate for the whole site and provides metrics broken down by page URL. At the bottom of the page, you see the pages of the site in descending order by the total number of page views. While the PDF version of this Content Overview isn't all that helpful in that it only shows five pages from the site, the full report is more robust.

Online, as with other Google Analytics reports mentioned above, you can export, e-mail, or segment the data, as well as change the date range and whether it's displayed by day, week, or month. You can also view the full report, complete with stats for every tracked URL on the site, and, as noted in the Map Overlay section, you can filter the list using keywords or partial URLs. For instance, you could filter the content listing to only show statistics for pages with the word "library" in the URL, or you can specify a partial path, such as "/admission" to only show pages that have URLs beginning with www.pugetsound.edu/admission.

Also available through the Content Overview section online are content analysis options, including:

  • Navigation Summary: how visitors found your content
  • Entrance Paths: Paths visitors used to get to your content
  • Entrance Sources: Top sources per page (similar to the Traffic Sources section listed above)
  • Entrance Keywords: Top keywords per page

Also, Google Analytics offers an online in-page analytics beta feature that displays specific click analysis data for each link on your site's displayed page. Be careful not to click the Add Filter link on the In-Page Analytics, as this will apply the filter in your browser permanently.