Google Analytics: Working with Reporting Data

Posted on April 3, 2012


Google Analytics

As we begin going through the Google Analytics tutorials again, the site now has gone through a facelift, which I find easier to navigate, while the new video player is much more frustrating to use. The next tutorial — “Working with Reporting Data” — now has a second, much more monotone and less enthusiastic narrator.

This, like the past ones, is a straight-forward practical tutorial that is still primarily introducing the various capacities of Google Analytics. The tutorial walks you through how to customize the graphical representation of the large amounts of data Google Analytics provides. Most Google Analytics reports comes with graphs showing how your site is performing, and the tutorial shows you how you can customize the date range.

Additionally, the tutorial reviews the various metrics Google Analytics will break down in its data. Metrics are just another word for measurements, and Google Analytics can give specific information about the number of visits, pages visited per visit, average time spent per visit, etc. The platform will automatically graph the data, and you can compare graphs to look for correlations.

Many reports also allow you to break down the data with tables, using “dimension” (such as region, location, operation system) to break up the data. The data can then be sorted, any secondary dimensions can be added to create combinations (ex: Windows users in Chicago, London and New York), and dimensions can be excluded as well.

All in all, the nearly eight-minute tutorial really was just a run-down of all the different ways you can analyze how people are using your site. It really is fascinating to see how much meticulous, specific data a service like Google Analytics provides for sites, which has to be a goldmine for news sites, which have should have an active interest in how users are consuming their content.