Audiences. Google Analytics Guide

Audiences. Google Analytics Guide

Are you wondering if your site is visited more often by women or by men? Or maybe you would like to find out from which devices or locations your website is most often reached? In today’s article, we will tell you what information about the audiences you can find in the Google Analytics tool!

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What Is the Audiences Report in Google Analytics?

The Audiences report in Google Analytics provides information about users who visit your website. By grouping them according to various attributes, you can get lots of useful information about them, e.g. how many users regularly return to your site, how much time they spend there and who are the visitors to your site in general. These are essential facts that allow you to introduce changes to the website on an ongoing basis and adapt it to your target audience profile.

Basic Metrics Related to Website Visits

What Does Google Know About People?

In order for Google Analytics to correctly identify users while collecting the relevant data, it is necessary to recognize which visits were generated by particular users. For this reason, each of them has a unique and persistent identifier, sent during each of the actions taken, e.g. as a Google Analytics cookie or by using User-ID.

How Does Google See Us?

Google assigns users’ interests, age, and other features, which are displayed later in Google Analytics, based on their account settings, searches, and online activity. On their basis, the search engine also displays Google Ads which are targeted according to their behavior.

To check how Google sees you, all you have to do is go to your Google Account in the Ad Settings section. By clicking on “Ad personalization”, you will see all the information Google has collected about you. You can edit them, delete interests, or add new ones.

google analytics guide ad personalization

Google Analytics and GDPR or CCPA

Google only collects information in accordance with the privacy acts and regulations, such as the European Economic Area’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or California’s California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). By definition, personal data consists of information necessary to identify a specific user. Data such as, for example, age, interests, and country are not enough to identify a particular person unambiguously, therefore they are not considered personal data. What is important, some time ago Google also introduced auto-delete controls in its settings. Remember that if you want to disable Analytics data collection and advertising personalization, Google gives you such a possibility. If you want to discover how to do it, check the privacy controls in Google Analytics.

Audience Overview

The basic data provided in the Audience section related to the users visiting our website are divided into the following parts:

  • Sessions – user activity on your website at a given time. By default, the session time is 30 minutes, if the user is inactive during this time, his/her further actions will be attributed to a new session. If, on the other hand, the visitor returns to your website for half an hour, the session is counted as the original one. For example, if the user visits your website twice in one day (for the first time in the morning, and then again in the afternoon) it will generate altogether 2 sessions, but it will still be counted as 1 user (unless cookies will be deleted in the meantime). The session duration can be changed in the Google Analytics tool, which can be useful e.g. on pages with videos or long-form content, where it can take more than 30 minutes to watch a video or read the whole text.

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  • Users – the number of users who visited your website. This number is identified by cookies. One user can perform multiple sessions.
  • Pageviews – the number of pages viewed. For example: if the user visits 4 different pages during one visit, it will generate 4 pageviews in total but will be counted as 1 user.
  • Average session duration – the amount of time on average users spend on your website.
  • Bounce rate – the number of visits during which users have visited only one page as compared to all visits; this rate is calculated as a percentage. Simply put, bounce rate informs you how many people visited only one page and then left your website.
  • What’s more, in the Overview section, you will see a chart presenting the percentage of returning and new visitors in a given period.

At the very bottom, you will learn more about the location of your visitors. You can find out from which country and city they come from, as well as what browser, operating system, service, provide and screen resolutions they use when browsing your site:

google analytics guide location filter

If you would like to get more precise information, just click “View full report” and you will get all the data you need.

full google analytics report audiences

Active Users

In this section, you can check the number of active, unique users who have reached your website and generated a session. By default, the panel displays a graph of users active during 1 day, however, it is also possible to view a report for 7, 14, or 28 days.

Data on Website Visitors

1. Demographics and Interests

In these reports, you can identify the visitors to your site and learn more about their age, gender, and interests.

The data is available in five dimensions:

  • age: 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64 and 65+,
  • gender: female or male,
  • affinity categories: different types of users divided by their lifestyles, e.g. movie lovers, value shoppers, foodies, beauty mavens,
  • in-market segments: division according to the products-purchase interests,
  • other categories: more specific data on users’ interests.

2. Geographical Data

Geographical data are related to the location of users and show where the visits to your website come from.

geographic data google analytics

Data in this section can be divided into specific primary dimensions, including city, country, continent, or subcontinent, and expanded with secondary dimensions.

3. Behavior

The Behavior section contains information about users: who comes back to your website more often: new or returning visitors, as well as what is the frequency of their visits or engagement (time spent on the site).

behaviour metric google analytics guide

4. Technology

In this section, you will find out more about the technologies used to reach your website.  You can check, among other things, which web browsers and operating systems were used or what is the typical screen resolution of users monitor as well as whether they have active Flash and Java support. This data allows you to better adapt your website to the customers’ needs and even detect errors in some browsers or resolutions, as evidenced by an unusual bounce rate.

5. Mobile

The Mobile section presents web traffic on mobile devices. Here, you can recognize specific models of mobiles from which users visited your website:

how to check mobile traffic google analytics

6. Custom

Using custom variables, you can extend the range of segments in order to gain an even better understanding of our customers and how they react to your website.

Why Do You Need User Data?

Data about the users visiting your site are extremely important and with them, you can come to some valuable conclusions. Analyzing your visitors, you can, first of all, check whether your offer and marketing campaign reaches the relevant target audience, as well as introduce some changes to the website adapted to the age and gender of users interested in your service/product. What’s more, you can detect errors in displaying the website on mobile devices, various screen resolutions, or web browsers and then solve the existing problems. If many visitors of your website come from foreign countries, then maybe you should consider launching new language versions of your website and expanding your online business to other markets.

Summary

The above-listed functionalities of the Google Analytics tool enable you to learn more about your users. Thanks to them, it is possible to adjust the website more accurately to your customers’ needs and remove existing errors, all this can contribute to increasing both web traffic and conversion rate.

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Author
Senior SEO Specialist - Paulina

Senior SEO Specialist

In Delante from October 2017. She approaches her work with passion and commitment, optimizing clients' websites. Lover of active lifestyle, after hours fitness instructor.
Comments (1)
  1. Useful article – for a person already using Google Analytics it may be too basic but I imagine it has to be helpful for those who start the analytics journey.

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