While re-learning the location of these features may be a bit like going from riding a tricycle to learning to balance on a bicycle, Google has improved the information being presented in these reports overall.
The Overview Report
This report gives analysts a great visual representation of how visitors are being acquired, how they are behaving, and how they are converting.
The Channels Report
This report is also an improvement from the former Traffic Sources reports. It now takes all the former Channel Reports (Search Traffic, Referring Sites, Direct Traffic, Campaigns, and Social) and merges them into one Overview Report that not only includes basic metrics like before, but goal metrics as well. The finished product is a report that is segmented out by channel showing how each is performing.
This new report is a good tool for quickly reporting on where traffic is coming from and how it is engaging. Here at SiteLogic, we have been using a similar report for years to find this overall data.
Not Provided Data for Channels Report
Have you tried to look at data for the entire year or compare data year-over-year in the Channels Report and failed? That’s because this feature is not available prior to July 25, 2013.
This leads to a large percentage of visits being classified as “Not Set” as you can see below:
This makes it impossible to compare year-to-year data (which is usually the best way to compare data for your business) and impossible to look at trends from a larger time period prior to July 25.
Medium Report and Custom Report Solution
Analysts have been using Custom Reports in Google Analytics for years to be able to find the same data found in the Channels Report. Google Analytics has basically made the same report within the “Channels” section of the program. If you look under the Primary Dimension options you will see a report called “Medium” which is a quick and easy way to look at the data.
This report is similar to the Channels Report and breaks down the data by medium. It includes all the data your profile tracked prior to July 25 and gives you a good overview of where traffic is coming, how it’s engaging, and if it’s converting.
The only difference in this report is that it does not track Social Media as a separate medium. Social Visitors are all counted as referral traffic in the Medium Report. If you still want to look at Social Visits separately, then you will have to create your own separate segment. Below is an example of a segment to look at Social Visits.
You will want to include all social media websites in the first box under the condition “matches regular expression” except for Twitter and Google+.
- Separate each social site with “|” (the pipe symbol below backspace/delete key).
- Then hit the “or” button twice and make segments for Twitter and Google+ that have the condition “start with.”
- You will need to specifically put “t.co” and “goo.le” for these boxes since that is how Google Analytics reads referrals from these sites. These two must be separate from the rest of the group since they have periods that could interfere with the regular expression.
To see only Referral Traffic use the following segment:
Creating a Custom Report can give you even deeper analysis. Here is a Medium Report that goes even more in-depth:
You can easily set up a new report under the “Customization” tab in GA.
Here you can build your own report to look at the information the way you intend. You can look at additional metrics such as unique visitors, events completed per visit, etc. You can also see what specific sources and landing pages are doing well under the different mediums.
Go beyond the report.
Think about what data would be helpful to you/your clients and create your own custom report. Don’t be limited by the reports Google Analytics provides for you, create your own!