This post will cover the information typically included within a website activity report, which really depends on the level of activity and the type of digital marketing your company is doing. Below is a list of the measurements a standard monthly report could cover…
- Visits/sessions to the website
- Channel of traffic
- Visits/sessions via Organic search
- Keyword analysis – Organic and/or paid search (if required)
- Number of goal completions
- Campaign traffic – email/PR/advertising
- Key insights – on site searches/bounce rates
Monthly activity reports can be created using a combination of the data from Google Analytics, 3rd party measurements tools and any other software such as email software or the website CMS itself. You can also input these figures into standard analytical tools such as Excel, to create graphs to compare measurements month on month such as visits and goal conversions.
Here is a step by step guide to producing a meaningful and useful activity report.
The first step to creating your website activity report is to log into your Google Analytics account:
Once you are logged in, you should automatically be taken to the reporting tab on your account; this is where you can find all your data to create your report.
You will need to select the correct date range for the month you would like to report on:
Visits/sessions to the website
Go to the Acquisition option on the left hand side and select ‘All traffic’, then ‘Channels’.
From this screen, you can report on number of visits/sessions and the channels those visits have come from. It is also worth noting that this is where you can identify how many of those visits were ‘new users’ – people who have never visited your site before. This gives you a good indication of how successful you are being at marketing to the unaware. You can read more about positioning and marketing to the unaware here.
From this data, you can create a graph in excel to note the traffic to your website month on month and make an overall comparison year by year. Find out more about creating and uploading graphs from Excel to your Activity Report.
Visits/sessions via Organic Search
Traffic via organic search engines such as Google, Yahoo & Bing can also be found in the same Acquisition area as overall traffic. This data can also be placed into Excel and a graph created.
To go one step further though, take a look at the organic keywords that are driving traffic to the website. Do this by clicking on ‘Organic Search’. You will now see a long list of organic keywords (these are what users are typing into search engines in order to find your website).
You will always see at the top of your organic keyword list ‘(not provided)’. Not provided refers to users that are logged into one of google’s products (such as gmail, youtube, etc), whilst on your site.
The remaining list shows branded and non branded keywords used to find your site. We are most interested in non branded terms. These can be used to identify potential content topics and identify areas of your that are lacking in certain information, such as regulations/product info/brochures etc.
To filter out the branded keywords, you can create a bespoke filtered report within the dashboard area of Google Analytics, or simply add a filter within this page.
Keyword analysis – Organic and/or paid search (if required)
Staying in the Acquisition area, go to – ‘Campaigns’, then ‘Organic Keywords’.
This is another area where you can report on the organic keywords users are using in search engines to find your website. From this information you can also find out the landing page users landed on for a particular search term – are users landing on the correct pages for that search query?
If you are running any PPC adverts, by connecting your Adwords and Analytics accounts, you can see top level Adwords performance directly within Analytics, as well as in your Adwords account. Specifically, here is how to view Paid Keywords:
From this screen you can now report back on the ‘keywords’ users are using in search engines to find your PPC advert. An important column to make note of is ‘Goal Completions’. If you have ‘Goals’ set up on your website, from here you can see what keywords are converting into goals.
Although you can now report back on the paid keywords that are driving traffic to your site, you cannot immediately see which PPC campaigns these keywords are from.
To do this, add a secondary dimension, by selecting secondary dimension at the top of your data table and type in ‘campaign’.
A new column will now appear in your paid keywords table. You can now report back on the keyword and the campaign.
Number of goal completions
Goals in Analytics are set up to track CTA’s on a website such as brochure downloads, sample requests, contact form submissions etc. To report back on the number of goals that have been completed, go to Conversions on the left menu and select ‘Goals’, then ‘Overview’.
This will give you an overview of the goal completions for the date range you have selected.
You will also see a breakdown of the goal completion location (the page where the goal was completed)…
For a further breakdown, you can click on Source/Medium, this will enable you to report back on the Source of the goal – whether Organic/Direct/Referral … etc
If you want to know the source for a particular goal, filter the results by selecting the goal at the top of the screen, under Goal Option. This will now show the same data but just for the goal you have selected.
You may also find it useful to log all goal completions month by month in a table within Excel – this will enable you to identify any trends/spikes in completions throughout the year and compare month on month.
Campaign traffic – email/PR/advertising
To report back on all marketing campaign traffic such as email, PR and advertising campaigns (with the correct UTM tags), go to Acquisition on the left menu and select ‘Campaigns’, then ‘All Campaigns’. You will now see a list of all tagged campaigns for the selected data range and how many visits came via that campaign.
You can also report back on how many goals were completed as a result of a campaign.
Key insights – on site searches/bounce rates
From most data tables above you will be able to see the bounce rate percentage – how many visited your site, either from a PPC Ad, Organic search or from a campaign, and then left straight away. It is always worth noting the bounce rate percentage and spotting anything out of the ordinary. If a bounce rate is high from a product page, is there anything that can be tweaked on the page to keep the user engaged? Is there blog content or any case studies that have a lot of views but the bounce rate is also high? Are there clear CTA’s on the page for the user to navigate elsewhere? These are all considerations to take into account when analysing bounce rates.
You may also want to include other key insights from user behaviour in your monthly web report.
Within the Behaviour menu on the left hand side there are lots of different things you can report on. ‘Site search’ and ‘site Content’ are two that Pauley Creative use quite regularly.
The site search area within Behaviour presents you with all the searches users have entered in your on site search box.
The results shown in this area can give you an indication of what people are looking for on your site; the results can flag up any new content that perhaps you haven’t covered on your site, or information that isn’t obvious enough to the user. Report back on any interesting searches that can help content creation or web development changes.
The site content area within behaviour can help report back on the most popular pages of your website and enables you to drilldown on visits and behaviour for a particular page, whether it be a product page or blog post…all can be revealed in this section of Google Analytics.
Once you have clicked on ‘All Pages‘ within the Site Content you we will be shown a list of the most popular pages on the site by number of page views. You will find that usually, but not always, the most popular page is the home page. This is indicated on the above image by the / symbol.
The data is automatically defaulted to show the page URL – you can change the view so that the page title is shown instead of page URL by selecting ‘Page Title’ at the top of your data table. You can also include a Secondary Dimension (shown below) to show where the traffic has come from or where the user went next on your website.
Content drilldown is another area useful for your monthly Activity Report. From here you can ‘drilldown’ to any page of your website and report back on the number of page views that a particular page has had. Work your way through the menu structure to find your page:
You can also report back on the most popular landing pages by number of visits and how many goals were generated from those landing pages:
If you have event tracking set up on your website to track PDF downloads or clicks on certain buttons/CTA’s, you can report back on the number via the Events area in Behaviour.
Within ‘Behaviour’ on the left menu go to ‘Event’ and then ‘Overview’; you will now see an overview of all the events you are tracking on your website.
These can be viewed by the category and action of label. I tend to use ‘Event label’ first to drill down on the event tracking. From here you can identify the number of PDF’s that have been downloaded on your website and which ones are most popular.
Click on ‘PDF’ then ‘Event Label’ at the top of your data table – you can now see a list of the PDF’s and the number of downloads they have had. Always go by unique downloads to exclude users who may have downloaded the same document several times.
A useful tip – You can download this report or any report in fact to present to your team by clicking on the export option at the top of the page.
So now you have all your figures and data to present a monthly website activity report to your Marketing Peers….
You can take all the data found in the above reports and place it into an easy to read work document. Any key insights you have noted during your reporting in Analytics can be added to your word document as annotations next to your data. The word doc is where you can drop in any graphs/tables you created earlier in Excel to support your findings in Analytics.
Figures and data are not always the most interesting things to talk about, so try and back up your findings by presenting the data in visual formats.
Lastly…what have you learnt from your reporting? What can you take away and action for next month?
Always include atleast 3 recommendations for your team to implement from the findings that will help drive even more traffic and increase good quality leads to your building materials website.
For more advice on using Google Analytics give us a call on +44 (0) 1908 671707, or download our Digital Profit Hunter Program.