Google Analytics and Web Traffic
Resources for reporting on and monitoring your web traffic on uwf.edu.
Welcome to our resource page for web traffic monitoring using Google Analytics!
Google Analytics is a powerful web traffic monitoring tool that gathers an incredible amount of anonymous data on the visitors that come to our website, uwf.edu. In Web Services, we have built the tracking code into the footer of every single page in the CMS, so the code will automatically be placed on any page you create and data will start recording immediately.
Access and Reports
Anyone can log in to analytics.google.com using a valid Google account, however your username must be given access to see data collected by our tracking code. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to either request a report or access to the system.
We are happy to accommodate data requests to the UWF community. To streamline the process, please provide the time frame or dates in which you are interested; the specific page, pages or site (department, center, college, etc.); and any additional metrics or information in which you are interested.
Accounts vs. Properties vs. Views
Accounts, Properties and Views are how we divide the large amount of data collected under the uwf.edu web domain. Please see Google's documentation to understand how they all relate to each other before proceeding further.
In our case at UWF, we make use of Views to segment the site data into functional areas so users can more easily access only the data they require. For example, in Web Services we monitor the entire web presence stats using a View that includes every single page containing our tracking code.
However, this is often not granular enough for users employed by or concerned with particular divisions, colleges or departments. To solve this problem, we have created specific Views for various entities in our hierarchy. All five colleges, for example, have their own View that excludes most data not related to their specific pages.
Unfortunately, we have a limited number of Views that we can create, so at this time new Views are created on a case by case basis, evaluated by University Marketing & Communications. We do not have enough Views to create one for each department, however there are techniques that can be used to segment View data even further, discussed in more detail below.
- Users: The actual visitors (or devices) that visit our website. One person can potentially be counted as multiple users depending on the different devices used.
- Sessions: According to Google, a session is "the time period a user is actively engaged with your website." Sessions begin the moment a user visits uwf.edu and expire after a default of 30 minutes of inactivity. A single user or visitor can have multiple sessions.
- New Sessions: The number or percentage of first time visits from a user. A user's later sessions are not counted in this metric as it is used to measure new traffic.
- Pageviews: How many times the page was viewed. Pages can accrue multiple pageviews per session.
- Unique Pageviews: This de-duplicates pageviews to show how many sessions contained a view of the page.
- Pages/Session: Average number of pages viewed during a session. This is helpful for measuring user engagement.
- Avg. Time on Page or Session: Uses the time metrics available for the page or session and calculates the average.
- Entrances: How many times this page was the first page in a session.
- Bounce Rate: The percentage of entrances on this page where the user did not interact with the website any further. This measures "single page visits", where users have entered and exited our site from the same page.
- % Exit: The percentage of pageviews that were the final page in a session, or how often users leave the site entirely from a specific page.
- Goal: Create a custom goal such as “If a person clicks this link then add a point to Goal #1.”
- Traffic types
- Direct: People who bookmarked, directly typed or clicked a link from an email or electronic document.
- Organic: Traffic originating from search engines.
- Referral: Traffic coming from other webpages, including social media and other pages on uwf.edu.
After logging in to Google Analytics, you will be directed to a general overview of metrics on your default View. Some users may have access to multiple Accounts, Properties or Views and may need to click or tap the dropdown menu in the left corner of the window to navigate to the correct View.
This is comprised of four main areas, and each area is expandable and has many different reports and subsections underneath:
- Audience: Who is coming to your sites and pages? This is where you can find out some limited demographic information about your users, including age ranges, gender, mobile vs desktop usage, and your visitors' general locations.
- Acquisition: How are they arriving on your sites and pages? This is where you can find out where visitors came from, including search engines, social media, other websites, etc.
- Behavior: What are users doing on your site and where are they browsing? This is the area to explore what pages on your site users visited, what search terms may have been used on your site, and what files people are downloading.
- Conversions: Are we properly directing users to our end goals? This is where we manually set goals for what we want visitors to do when browsing uwf.edu.
Do not be afraid to explore all these areas! Most actions in Analytics are changing the way data is displayed to you during your session, not actually changing the data itself. The risk of deleting or permanently modifying the traffic data is minimal without specific, high-level access and permissions.
In this section we are going to delve into some of the basic concepts and techniques that Web Services finds most useful and easy to access. For more advanced training, please contact email@example.com and please provide a detailed description of what you are trying to accomplish with Analytics.
The first thing to do after logging in to Analytics is to set your date range(s). This appears at the top of every page, and is essential to set to get an accurate picture of any metric. For our purposes, months and semester ranges tend to be the most useful. Also note the "Compare to:" checkbox, which allows comparison between multiple date ranges.
The Audience Overview is typically the default page you are taken to once logged into Google Analytics and your View has been selected. This provides a high level summary of many of the key metrics for all the pages within your view. Be sure to set your date range as described above to get a clearer picture so you can start identifying trends in your web traffic.
Specific Webpage Data
An overall set of site or View metrics is great, but what if you need data on a specific page or set of pages? This is possible in a variety of ways, but our preferred method is to click or tap on Behavior, Site Content and then All Pages in the left hand navigation pane, highlighted in the screenshot above.
Narrowing Your Focus
This subsection shows every page in your View by default, but it can be easily narrowed down using the search bar located just below the graph, also highlighted in the screenshot. In our example, we wanted to look at data for pages that fall under the University Marketing & Communications website. To accomplish this, an understanding of URLs (web address) and site structure is necessary. Analytics returns results using URLs, so you can take parts of a URL string to narrow your search down.
Because the base URL of UMC's website is http://uwf.edu/offices/marketing/, we can use "/marketing" in the search bar and the search results will return the UMC homepage and every page underneath that has that "/marketing" string in its address. This can go as narrow as you like down to a single page. For example, to look at our Web Training Programs page, we would place "/marketing/web-services/web-training" in the search bar.
Also take note of the the bottom right corner of your screen, where you can ask Analytics to display more than 10 results at a time to get a full picture of your site on one single page.
What if the default metrics are not enough? The Secondary dimension, again highlighted above, can be utilized to select a large amount of different metrics that will can also be displayed along with the defaults. Note that you can search in that area as well. Popular secondary metrics include Medium, Source, City and Mobile (Including Tablet), though there are dozens more to try and explore.
Two common questions we see are "How do I tell what links people are clicking on?" and "What links are people using to get to my page?" With the Navigation Summary, we can see the answer to both of those questions at the same time. Go to the Behavior, Site Content and All Pages area discussed above, and find the Navigation Summary link in the middle of the page to get to this area in Analytics.
Once you are there, find the "Current Selection" option underneath the graph, and input your desired page URL. What you will then see are two lists of links and pages. The list on the left are the pages visitors came from before visiting the page in question, and the list on the right are the links they clicked on while visiting the page in question. You can use this feature to help determine what links people are clicking on and the most popular referral pages. Please note that this applies to pages internal to uwf.edu only, that is, pages where we have been able to apply our Analytics tracking code.
You have found the data you are looking for, now what? Analytics provides multiple ways to export data. On nearly every subsection found inside the left hand navigation, export options are located near the top of the page. Be careful when exporting as PDF, as that option does not always show all the data you have pulled up on your screen. Web Services finds CSV files to be the most thorough and compatible across a wide variety of devices. There is no limit to exporting data, so save and send away!
We have just scratched the surface of Google Analytics and its many applications. For more information, please also view these helpful resources or contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or if you require any assistance: