Getting to know your audience with Google Analytics

Posted under SEO, Website

If you have a valuable product but have no idea who to market it to, the value of your product may as well be zero. Most importantly, it becomes a lot harder to make sure your customers know the value of your product.

Getting to know your audience is vitally important, whether you’re trying to launch a new business or increase conversions (whatever they may be for your business). Common sense may tell you what your target market is, but getting to know your audience is more than just understanding who your service is aimed at.

Using the tools available, the depth to which you can start to understand your audience’s behaviour is endless. However, spending hours utilising these tools isn’t always feasible. For this post, we’ll focus on the undisputable king of audience insight tools – Google Analytics.

Google Analytics

Most small to medium businesses use Google Analytics to look at the Users and Sessions figures – they want to know how many people are visiting their website, and how often.

However, if you invest just a little bit more time, the amount of information you can take away about your audience is staggering – let’s explore a few ways this is done.

1. Demographics

How old is my audience?
What is my audience’s gender split?

To learn about your audience, one of the most valuable things you can do is activate your Demographics & Interests reporting (Navigate to Property Settings in your Admin tab and flick the on switch).

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Once this has been done, navigate to Audience > Demographics in your Analytics menu to explore the age groups and gender split of your visitors.

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2. Interests

What other interests do my audience have?
What other products do my audience purchase?

This is where it gets interesting. Once your Demographics & Interests reporting is activated, navigate to Audience > Interests to get information on your audience’s habits and personalities.

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In the Affinity Categories report, Google Analytics is able to use your visitors’ third-party cookie information to group your audience into interest groups. Using this report allows you to see if a specific interest group takes up a significant portion of your audience.

In the next tab, the In-Market Audiences report allows you to see the products your audience is interested in.

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3. Geo

What languages do my audience speak?
What is their location?

 

For businesses who offer global/national services, this report is an invaluable tool for exploring which countries/cities could be most lucrative.

Navigate to Audience > Geo and read the Language and Location tables.

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In the example above, the audience is unsurprisingly English and located near the business. However, many businesses may find a surprising portion of their business comes from a specific area and may wish to plan marketing around that region.

4. Engagement

How often do my audience come to my website?
How engaged are my audience when visiting?

Part of getting to know your audience is understanding their on-site habits. You can use this information to fix any potential site navigational issues, or encourage a Goal Flow you wish to achieve with your audience.

In the Audience > Behaviour > Frequency & Recency report, you can see the number of visits each user has completed.

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In the image above, we can see a large portion of visits are one-off sessions. This metric can be used to measure how loyal a user base is, or if the site mostly deals in new visitors.

To view visitor engagement, the Engagement tab gives you a similar overview of both time spent on site and page depth (the number of pages visited). If visitors are staying for less than 10 seconds and visiting one page, you may have some work to do.

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5. Mobile & Technology

Finally, it’s useful to know what technology your audience is using.

Are they on a laptop or tablet?  Are most mobile users using iPhones? What browsers are visitors using? This information is available in the Mobile and Technology reports in the Audience tab.

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Now let’s take a final look at the questions we’ve answered with just a few clicks:

o How old are my audience?
o What is my audience’s gender split?
o What other interests do my audience have?
o What other products do my audience purchase?
o What languages do my audience speak?
o Where in the world is my audience?
o How often do my audience visit my website?
o How engaged are my audience?
o What proportion of my visitors are using mobiles?
o What browsers are my audience using?

 

These insights barely scratch the surface with Google Analytics regarding audience insight. The real value comes through understanding how to use these questions to create meaningful actions that benefit your business’ bottom line – a subject to cover another time.

Greg Clark

Greg joined Media Matters from a London-based agency where he was an SEO and Analytics specialist. Originally from Farcet, Greg has moved back to his roots and is enjoying the much shorter commute to our offices in Lynch Wood…