The Keys to Web Traffic Analytics With Google Analytics 4

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10 min. read

Your website is the entry door to your business. But do you know exactly who visits?

This is the goal of web traffic analysis: understanding how many people visit, and what they do on your website, to hopefully provide the clues you need to attract more visitors and increase your revenue.

Essentially, answering questions like “Who are you?” or “Where do you come from?” among others.

Google Analytics 4 is the go-to web analytics tool you need, and the one we will leverage to guide you through the journey to a deeper understanding of your web traffic.

Because let’s be honest, the number of visitors alone isn’t enough.

You will have to dive into many metrics such as new visitors, returning visitors, engagement rate, click-through rate, etc.

Are you ready to get to the bottom of:

  • Key concepts
  • Traffic sources
  • User engagement, conversion, and behavior
  • Demographics and devices?

Yes? OK, let’s get set!

The Language of Web Traffic

Before diving in, let’s quickly go over some definitions.

Google Analytics 4 uses a lot of unique terms that can be a bit hard to understand at first. Even experienced marketers can be mystified by the subtle differences between these terms or the inconsistency in terminology.

Understanding these terms is essential for building prompts on Blobr that will deliver the best insights.

  • User: Refers to one identified unique visitor. They can explore your website in multiple sessions and complete various events. Do not confuse new visitors with returning visitors, who have completed at least 2 sessions on your website.
  • Session: Refers to one occasion a visitor visits your website. It can be as short as a 1-second bounce on your homepage. A session is a succession of events.
  • Engagement: When a session lasts for more than 10 seconds, Google Analytics considers it an “engaged session.” Other sessions are considered bounced.
  • Event: An action completed by a visitor on your website. It can be a page view, a click, a scroll, a timer… every event is either set by default or configured on Google Tag Manager.
  • Metric: The sum of quantifiable data, it can be any of the ones we just saw, plus additional data like time spent on your website or the engagement rate.
  • Dimension: Segments your audience when you add another layer to your data. It can filter sessions based on some demographic characteristics of your visitors or the traffic source.

Traffic Sources: Where Do They Come From?

This is probably the first question you’ll ask yourself.

Knowing where your visitors are coming from is the direct result of your marketing efforts.

The best way to explore those channels is to ask this question on Blobr:

This will provide you with the top channels bringing traffic to your website.

But what do those types of traffic refer to? Here’s a quick recap:

  • Direct: A mixed bag that includes all the people who access your website by typing your URL directly, those who haven’t had proper tracking, or where the traffic source is unknown.
  • Organic: Refers to all the channels visitors use to come to you without being involved in a paid campaign, referral, marketing email, etc.
    • Organic search: Means SEO, or all the visitors coming from a search engine — usually Google or Bing.
    • Organic social: For social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
    • Organic video: From channels like YouTube.
  • Paid: Refers to all the paid campaigns you set up. Paid is not limited to Google Ads and can refer to all kinds of ads across different channels.
    • Paid search: For AdWords campaigns.
    • Paid social: For campaigns on all types of social networks, like Meta, LinkedIn, and more.
  • Display: For banner ads.
  • Cross-network: For users who saw your ads on various platforms, like Demand Gen, Performance Max, or Smart Shopping.
  • Referral: For people coming from various links leading to your website from all over the web.
  • Email: For people coming from links embedded in emails, mostly from your outbound campaigns.

The result will likely match your overall marketing strategy, each of those channels reflecting a lever you’re using to bring people to your website.

With a request like this one, you’ll be able to see the evolution of your traffic:

While that data will enlighten you on your efforts, it won’t alone get you the insights you need to assess the performance of your strategies.

User Engagement and Behavior: What Do They Do?

Let’s say you’ve just used the first question on Blobr to see that your Paid search ads were the number one channel.

You can be satisfied, after all, you’re spending quite a lot of money to get your ads shown on various keywords.

But here’s the catch; despite your spending, your numbers don’t seem to be up.

Why do you have poor conversion? The answer lies in user engagement metrics.

Let’s see what you need to know about user engagement:

Pageview

Pageview is an event triggered each time a visitor sees one of your pages on your website.

Each page counts as a page view, so someone navigating from your homepage to your pricing page and then back to your homepage will count as 3 page views.

While this data point will give you an interesting view of the most visited pages on your website, it won’t be a reliable indicator of the number of unique visitors.

Session Duration

Remember sessions? One of the most pertinent ways to look at them is by checking their duration.

A long session duration means that your marketing strategies align with your message on your website: i.e. you’re targeting the right audience.

This is why adding another dimension is useful for understanding the effectiveness of your efforts. In the following question, we’ll add the acquisition channels to the mix and compare them with the previous month.

Going back to our example about Paid ads, you could start to see why your Ads campaign isn’t converting here: it may rank lower than other channels in terms of average session time.

Bounce

Another point of view around that notion of duration is the bounce rate.

In GA4, it has been replaced by the more positive notion of Engagement, which is the opposite of bounce.

Bounce stands for all the sessions lasting less than 10 seconds and consisting of only one page view.

Benchmarks of a good engagement rate vary between 62% for B2B websites and 71% for B2C websites.

Bounce is a more significant signal than a weak average session duration because it indicates that the message is directly at odds with what your visitors were looking for in the first place.

Continuing with our example, we could say that the engagement rate of Paid ads is in the website average, indicating that if people don’t spend much time on the landing page, they don’t bounce right away either. This means the message isn’t too far off the target.

User Flow

Unlike Universal Analytics, Google Analytics 4 doesn’t have user flows.

To access that same data, you have to create a personalized report using Path exploration.

Compared to the previous version, getting your hands on this data is more arduous in GA4.

Yet, understanding the paths followed by your visitors gives you invaluable data on how visitors interact with your website.

With Blobr, in a prompt, you can access that same data:

New and Returning Visitors

The difference here is pretty basic: new visitors are those visiting your website for the first time, compared to visitors who have already visited your website.

Depending on the website, the share of returning visitors varies from 33% to 80%. A low percentage means that you are succeeding in attracting people but failing to either convert them or make them come back.

On the contrary, 80%+ of returning visitors means that while your business is well-established, you fail to attract new visitors.

Here’s how you can get the balance:

Geographics & Devices: The Way to a Deeper Understanding

Demographics and devices are sometimes seen as afterthoughts, yet they can bring you a deeper level of detail about who’s visiting your website, compare with the profile of people converting, and even check for possible bugs and UI mismatches on various devices or browsers.

Geographic Insights

The internet is global, and so probably is your business.

That’s why keeping an eye on the geographical distribution of users is important.

There once was a business from Germany, with its website in German, that wanted to expand operations in neighboring France. To do so, they quickly translated some of their pages into French.

Yet, no one converted.

They spent countless hours scratching their heads to understand why. Was the value proposition not aligned with the French market? Why would such a successful business in Germany fail in France?

The answer was in the translation. They did a poor job translating the page into French, using Google Translate. It killed credibility in France and lost them thousands of euros.

This is the prompt on Blobr that could have avoided this mishap:

That would have shown an important discrepancy in engagement and session time, providing important clues about the root causes.

Another prompt like the following one will give you a complete tour of your marketing efforts, and how your business is faring around the world.

Device and Browser Breakdown

Users of Safari will tell you: they often experience another version of the internet — a more broken one.

Not all browsers are the same, and some tend to display websites differently.

The same can be said with mobile, as some businesses bet all on one device, leaving a poor experience on either mobile or desktop.

But quick wins are not far, and you can very easily find ways to improve your website just by looking at the numbers.

Because it can lose you substantial revenue.

You can first try to run this question on Blobr:

It will give you the essential numbers about desktop vs. mobile, and from them, you should be able to identify quick ways to get the most out of your traffic on the weaker device, with just a few tweaks.

It is the same with browsers.

You can start with this question:

And then iterate with user engagement and other relevant data.

That way, you will be able to spot possible discrepancies on some browsers, and if it’s the case, reproduce the behavior to check for problems and solve them.

With only a dozen questions, you can take a deeper dive into your web traffic and unearth hidden gems about your business.

And this is not the end.

Google Analytics 4, allied with Tag Manager, is much more customizable. It means that you can set numerous and varied events across your website to track your users’ behaviors any way you want.

With solid tracking, and the help of Blobr, web traffic on your website will no longer have secrets for you.

Ready to give Blobr a try?

Connect your tools now, and start chatting with your data.

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