How to Find Gold in Your Google Analytics

If you find yourself wondering how to use your Google Analytics (GA), you are not alone. Many marketers feel overwhelmed by the potential wormhole of GA. However, simple monthly tracking can be a game changer for understanding your website, audience, and successes. Let’s get started by teaching you how to login and change your date range.

How to log into Google Analytics

  • Go to
  • Select the “Sign In” pull down menu in the top right
  • Select analytics
  • If you are not taken to your website’s analytic’s page – contact your web developer.

How to change the date range in Google Analytics

  • Select “Audience Overview”
  • Adjust the calendar on the right hand side to your desired dates
  • You can also compare different periods of time by clicking the “Compare to” box
  • Click “Apply”
  • If this is your first time in Google Analytics, we recommend taking a look at a week, month, and year’s worth of data.

How to benchmark your data

What is a high bounce rate? How many pages per session is healthy?

  • Bounce Rate: We like to see bounce rates under 50%
  • Pages per session: We like to see 2+ pages per session
  • Time on site: We like to see 90 seconds+ on site

The Basics

These basic measurements give you key insights to the overall effectiveness of your website. Before we get started, log into your Google Analytics, and click “Audience Overview” to see all of these basic measurements.


WHAT: How many people visit your website.

HOW: Audience Overview Page > Sessions

WHY: The number of website visitors is a great indicator to the effectiveness of a CVB. It’s important to not only know how many people visit your website, but to also compare it year-over-year.


WHAT: How many pages are viewed on your website.

HOW: Audience Overview Page > Pageviews

WHY: This number provides a grand total of the number of pages that were viewed on your website within a certain time frame. This can be a much more impressive number to share, and can highlight an effective website for inspiration.

Average session duration*

WHAT: How long people spend on your website.

HOW: Audience Overview Page > Avg. Session Duration

WHY: The longer people stay on your site, the more likely they are to convert. If you are seeing session durations under 90 seconds, it’s time to make your site more engaging.

Pages per session*

WHAT: The average number of pages people visit on your website.

HOW: Audience Overview Page > Pages / Session

WHY: This metric helps determine if your website inspires people to click around, or leave from the homepage. We like to see websites with 3+ pages per session.

Bounce rate*

WHAT: Percentage of people who “bounce out” of your website.

HOW: Audience Overview Page > Bounce Rate

WHY: High bounce rates can indicate a couple things: 1) Your content does not match the promise of what they hoped to find. 2) Your page took too long to load. 3) The content was unappealing (bad imagery, useless information, too much information, etc.) 4) The content was so useful that people did not linger on the page because they found what they needed. Keep these things in mind when evaluating a page with high bounce rates!

*These metrics are also tracked for individual pages on your website. The majority of this data can be found on the left side bar under Behavior > Site Content.


Google Analytics provides thorough insights on the users visiting your website.

Where they live

WHAT: Where your audience lives based on countries, states, and/or cities

HOW: Audience (on the left sidebar) > Geo > Location > Click on the countries to see states/regions > Click on states to see cities

WHY: TwoSix Digital works exclusively in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry. When we view a DMO’s analytics, we try to determine if their traffic comes from their local audience or potential visitors. While most DMO’s have a strong local following (which is not necessarily a bad thing), we want to find other high potential areas for conversions. Try to identify states and/or cities with high sessions, time on site, pages per session, and low bounce rates. You could uncover an entirely new market!


What devices they use

WHAT: Determine the type of device used by the majority of your audience.

HOW: Audience (on the left sidebar) > Mobile > Overview

WHY: Marketers do a really great job of creating content for desktop audiences because we tend to create content on desktop computers. A key part of your content creation is viewing it on mobile devices to make sure it’s formatted properly. Why is this so important? Take a look at your analytics! We bet nearly half (or more) of your audience is using mobile!


How they found you

WHAT: Referrals and sources show where your audience was before they entered your website.

HOW: Acquisition (on left sidebar) > All Traffic > Source/Medium or Referrals

WHY: It’s important to determine from where you are effectively drawing traffic. Typically Google and Facebook are high on the list. Check out the engagement metrics (bounce rate, time on site, pages per session) for insights on how your content resonates with different sources.


When used properly, Google Analytics can provide some amazing insight on the type of content that is resonating with your audience.

Top pages

WHAT: View your top landing pages based on sessions. Then determine your most effective content by identifying pages with high time on site, high pages per sessions, and low bounce rates.

HOW: Behavior (on left sidebar) > Site Content > All Pages

WHY: This can provide amazing insights on the type of content that is resonating with your audience. Sometimes we are surprised by a particular attraction or page that draws serious engagement. This can help inspire future content (blogs, social media posts, even campaigns).


Particular page data

WHAT: The sessions and engagement metrics of a particular page.

HOW: Behavior (on left sidebar) > Site Content > All Pages > Copy and paste the URL path in the search bar

WHY: If you have a page that is important to you, take a look at the metrics to make sure it’s resonating with your audience!


Behavior flow

WHAT: This diagram shows how people move throughout your website.

HOW: Behavior (on left sidebar) > Behavior Flow

WHY: This provides a literal picture of your website’s user experience. You can see the most common starting pages, and where your audiences goes from there. Take notice of strong behavior flows from one page to another. Also pay attention to pages with high drop-off rates.


Keywords (Organic and Paid)

WHAT: Words and phrases searched by your audience that led them to your website.

HOW: Acquisition (on left sidebar) > Campaigns > Paid Keywords or Organic Keywords

WHY: It’s important to identify keyword searches for your website. This will help inspire future content. It will also help determine if you are providing the information demanded by your audience.


Search data

WHAT: What people are searching for on your website.

HOW: Behavior (on left sidebar) > Site Search > Search terms*

WHY: By reviewing this data, you can determine if you website was effective in creating deeper engagement once your audience performed a search. Additionally, this will provide insights as to what type of content your audience was hoping to find on your website. Make sure you are delivering!

*If there is no data, contact your web developer. Have them set up site search on Google Analytics.

Other things you should know

  • How to exclude IP address: Make sure you exclude your IP address from your Google Analytics to make sure you are not tracking data from your personal sessions on your website. Check out this video to learn how to do this!
  • How to custom sort in excel: You can export your data from Google Analytics and play around with it in excel! You can custom sort the data, which will help you identify pages with high engagement rates. Watch this video to learn how to export your Google Analytics and custom sort the data in excel!
  • Google Analytics Certification: Want to dig deeper? You can become certified in Google Analytics by completing the Google Analytics Academy. It’s a great achievement to add to your resume (and it’s free)!

Wow! You are reading this sentence, which hopefully means you learned some stuff about Google Analytics. If you are still reading, send us a tweet and let us know you made it to the end! For more insights on analytics and digital marketing, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter.