How to Read Google Analytics Data

Google Analytics is, without doubt, one of the best web analytics tools that can be found out there. However, for most people the service remains mysterious and forbidding. Part of the challenge stems from the fact that you get so much information on your fingertips that the whole thing can become rather intimidating. After setting up Google Analytics, how then do you read the data that is provided with regard to your website(s). Here is how to read Google Analytics data;

How to interpret Google Analytics Data

In spite of the forebodings that you may have had, the truth of the matter is that it is not that difficult to read the data that is provided in your Google Analytics dashboard.

Understanding the Google Analytics Dashboard

Once you sign into your Google Analytics account, you are immediately taken to the G.A dashboard. So, what does your Google Analytics dashboard tell you?


These are the number of people who have visited your website during the course of the week. Below the number of users, you will see the percentage increase or decrease in the number of users when compared to the previous 7 days.


This represents the number of sessions that the people who visited your site had over the past week. The thing to understand is that it is quite possible for a visitor to have a number of sessions on your site. The fact that our own sessions are more than our users, as can be seen in the above screenshot, is testimony to this fact. Having a few loyal users is, in any case, always welcome.

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is one of the most important metrics that are provided in the Google Analytics dashboard. Google itself defines the bounce rate as the number of sessions in which users only open a single page divided by the totality of sessions on your site.

What this means is that if a person only opens one page on your website, then that is regarded as a bounce. Google Analytics assigns a session duration of 0 seconds to each bounce. This applies even where an individual spends several minutes reading through a web page. That’s because Analytics does not get subsequent data from another page being opened to allow it to come up with an estimate of the duration of the original session.

A lower bounce rate is better

When it comes to running your website, a lower bounce rate will always be better. If people are opening a number of pages on your site after arriving there via a search engine or through any other means, then it means that your content is engaging and useful.

What’s the ideal bounce rate

The ideal bounce rate is 0, meaning everyone who is visiting your site is subsequently opening other pages. However, in reality, you will be lucky to get a bounce rate that’s below 50%.

That’s all, of course, going to depend on the nature of your site. News websites, as an example, can expect to have very low bounce rates, for the simple reason that people will spend time browsing through a wide range of articles.

Our Bounce Rate

Our own bounce rate is, as you can see in the above screenshot, 71.48%, which is actually an improvement of 5.7% from the previous week. Feel free to check out this article on how you can lower the bounce rate on your own website.

How to lower your bounce rate

There are several things that you can do to lower your website’s bounce rate. One of the things that we recommend is the use of exit intent popups to capture the interest of some of the people who would otherwise have left your site without taking any action. One of the companies that we recommend, with regard to Exit intent popups, is Exit Mist. Feel free to click on the banner above to check out Exit Mist free of charge.

Session Duration

So, how much time are people spending on each session on your site? This is another bit of information that you get in your G.A dashboard. So, how do you read this piece of Google Analytics data?

The higher the session duration the better

In general, what you want is to have people spend as much time on your website as is possible. Doing so means that all that work that you have put into carrying out keyword research has yielded fruit, and you are providing your audience with information that is both relevant and useful.

As you can see, our own Session Duration stands at 1 minute 31 seconds, which is an improvement of 20.7% from the previous week. Another advantage of having a higher session duration is that people are much more likely to click on some more of your pages, thus contributing to the lowering of your bounce rate.

Active Users Right Now

It’s always gratifying to know that people are reading your content at this very moment! This is where the Active Users Right Now in your Google Analytics dashboard comes into play. As you can see, when we took the above screenshot, there were no active users. Oh well!

Additional Information in your Google Analysis Dashboard

Here, we have just provided you with a summary of the useful information that you get in your Google Analysis dashboard. As you can see, it’s not that difficult to read Google Analytics data. That’s because most of it is simple and straightforward. Other than the information that we have explained in this article, Google analytics also gives you the following useful data;

  • Analytics audience overview
  • Analytics real time report
  • Analytics Acquisition report
  • Active Users Report
  • Cohort Analysis Report
  • Users by time of day
  • Location Overview
  • Mobile Overview
  • Pages Report

The Dashboard provides you with a simple glimpse of each of the above pieces of data. We are going to, on this blog, to deep into each in order to provide you with everything that you need in order to read Google Analytics Data.

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