By Gabi Degen-Nosek, Paid Media Specialist at Speakeasy Co.
Since its start back in 2005, Google Analytics has undergone a lot of changes and has gotten a lot more sophisticated with its reporting over the years and yet has remained one of the most invaluable sources of information for digital insight amongst businesses.
By examining the right data, businesses can get an in-depth snapshot of how their website is performing and what aspects of their digital footprint need tweaking. The data collected from Google Analytics will help in everything from developing content strategies to marketing campaigns and has been a godsend for e-commerce business owners.
Learning how to read all of the free reports available will impact how your site develops so let's take a look at the Top 5 Best Reports in Google Analytics.
1. Acquisition Overview
Acquisition > Overview >Channels
The Overview of Acquisitions may be one of the more important Analytics reports for marketers. It breaks down what channels are the most efficient when it comes to getting people to visit the site. This will be broken down into a variety of components depending on how people find your content.
For instance, most websites may see the majority of their traffic coming from organic search or direct links. However, the report will also show things like referrals from other sites and social user visits. From here, you can see whether certain types of marketing campaigns are working or not.
2. Behavior Flow
Behavior > Behavior Flow
Google Analytics’ behavior flow visualizes the path a user travels on the business’s website. It’s critical to understand what your average visitor’s journey is like. You want to know the path they’re taking from the moment they land on your e-commerce site all the way until they ultimately make a purchase. Or if they drop off, you want to know which factors contributed to them leaving so that you can make the necessary corrections.
The green boxes represent pages the user opened. The gray lines between the boxes are connections, demonstrating how users flow from one page to another. The red lines flowing away from the green pages are bounces — the people who left the site at some point. Each page is grouped into columns based on what stage of the process a user processes, with a user’s point of entry on the left and a progression moving toward the right side.
3. Device Category / Mobile Overview
Audience > Mobile > Overview
In today’s day and age, nearly everyone uses a mobile device to quickly lookup reliable information or buy products; if the website is slow or hard to use, people will find a different place to look.
The Mobile Overview Report is an important Google Analytics report that helps website owners see where pain points are on their mobile sites. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, users won’t stay long to read about your company or offerings. Not only that, but Google will penalize you by lowing your ranking if your website is not mobile-compatible.
Another interesting aspect of this report is that Google Analytics gives you the ability to see what kind of device people are using to view your mobile site, as well as what channel they’re entering from. The mobile overview report will show you mobile improvement opportunities, which may lead to increased traffic and ranking.
4. All Subcategories in Site Speed
Reports > Select Behavior > Site Speed
Approximately 47% of consumers expect a website to load within two seconds. Site speed is an incredibly important aspect for both engaging visitors as well as scoring well in search results. The Site Speed reports offer valuable insights into how to improve this part of your site.
Site Speed is located within the Behavior category of Google Analytics. Perhaps one of the most important sections is that of “Speed Suggestions.” Google will analyze your website for both mobile and desktop devices while giving you tips on how to make it faster for either platform.
The scoring system provided by Google is based on a scale from one to 100. The higher the score, the better off your pages will be. Think of it kind of like a teacher grading your homework. Scoring a 65 would rate the page a “D” while something as high as 92 would be the equivalent of an “A-.”
5. Social Network Landing Pages
Acquisition > Social > Landing Pages
Social media users worldwide are said to increase to almost 4.41 billion in 2025. This is an incredible statistic given this also includes children too young to even read.
So, what pages do you have that are the most engaged on platforms like Facebook or Twitter? That’s where the Social Landing Pages report under Acquisition comes into play. In this report, you can see what URLs are shared the most including the number of visits. If you’re launching a marketing campaign for specific landing pages in social media, this is the report you want to use to track its progress. Even if you don’t, it’s still interesting to see what content is the most relevant to fans and followers.
These important Google Analytics reports are vital tools in today’s technological age. They will help you gain knowledge on areas such as how your mobile website is performing, where your users are coming from, and how many goal conversions certain pages are driving. All this information will give you a great start on learning how to improve your website.