Google Analytics Basics


What is Google Analytics?

Long story short, Google Analytics (or commonly referred to as "GA") is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Their slogan is "Turn Insights Into Action," which is a pretty concise description of how we at DoStuff use GA. More on that later.

Brief Overview of Google Analytics

GA can do a lot of things for your website. This awesome blog entry from Moz, titled "The Absolute Beginners Guide To Google Analytics," is not only a more in depth place to start on the basics of GA, but also provides the following list as a quick overview of what GA can provide for you and your team:
  • How many people visit my website?
  • Where do my visitors live?
  • What websites send traffic to my website?
  • What marketing tactics drive the most traffic to my website?
  • Which pages on my website are the most popular?
  • What blog content do my visitors like the most?

GA does all of this via a tracking code that is installed on your metro's site by the development team here at DoStuff. If you have any questions, concerns, or need any additional insight on your site's GA tracking code(s), shoot an email over to Support and we'll help you get it figure out!
Some of the most valuable uses of GA for the DoStuff Network are finding the overall number of page views/user visits to individual metro websites, what the source of those page views/visits is, which pages on our websites are the most popular, as well as what features of metro's websites users engage with the most (or don't engage with at all). These are only some of the uses of GA for our websites, and virtually any insight provided by GA is or can be useful to truly understanding what aspects of your site users enjoy and engage with, how they arrive to your website and, most importantly, what parts of your website are the least engaging and therefore not useful. 

So, how does one find this info? GA can be pretty intimidating at first glance, as it offers a very robust overview of your website content and provides a lot of high-level info that you may not need to know. We're here to guide you in the most essential aspects of GA for you and your metro:
As we mentioned earlier, there are an almost infinite amount of uses for GA in regards to your website. But, for this article, we are merely trying to teach you the essential uses for everyday operations in the DoStuff Network. 

Each time you login into GA, you will see your Google Analytics Homepage that provides a quick overview of your how your site is performing. Keep in mind, the GA Homepage is pre-set to show you data from the past 7 days, as well as real-time data on your site. The Homepage should look like this:
(pictured: Do312's GA Home Page. Click image to enlarge)

Pretty much all of the metrics featured on the homepage are important to you and your site, but some are more important or actionable than others. For instance, the "Users Right Now" (located in the red box) numbers aren't very relevant and really would only matter if your site was running a time-sensitive ticket giveaway or similar promotion. Conversely, the "Users vs last 7 days" (located in the orange box) metric is a metric that not only provides a valuable comparison of user traffic over the past week, but can also be considered an actionable metric.

User Acquisition
Scrolling down, you will see a User Acquisition chart based on the last 7 days. This chart is very valuable as it gives you an easily digestable overview and visual of where your site's traffic is coming from. You can also toggle between "Traffic Channel", "Source / Medium", and "Referrals" (located in the orange box) to see specifically where that traffic is coming for. For example, in the "Traffic Channel" view, GA shows us the traffic from overall social, while the "Source / Medium" view breaks down Facebook vs. Twitter vs. Instagram, etc.  You can scroll over the chart for a numerical breakdown of this traffic, or you can find more granule data in your site's Behavior section (more on that later). 
  • Traffic Channel: The channel from which your users arrived to your site from (ex: email, organic search, social)
  • Source / Medium: The specific source from which your users arrived to your site from (ex: Email List, Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram)
  • Referrals: More granular breakdown of your Source / Medium (ex: Facebook Mobile (, Facebook Desktop (
(pictured: Do312's GA User Acquisition Chart. Click image to enlarge)

Pages Report 

Scrolling down further, you'll find your site's Pages Report for the last 7 days. This view ranks your site's pages on a scale from 1-10 based on pageviews over the last 7 days. For a more granular breakdown of traffic, as well as to see an increased date rage, you can click through to your site's "PAGES REPORT" (located in the red box). For more information on how to further organize and analyze your Pages Report, read on!

(pictured: Do312's GA Pages Chart. Click image to enlarge)

User Info

Last we have our User Info, of which the most important to pay attention to are the "Users by time of day" chart  (located in the red box) and the "What are your top devices?" chart (located in the orange box). The "Users by time of day" chart can be used to determine things like "When is the best time of day to send out my email newsletter or post an engaging social post?" The "What are your top devices?" chart, while will almost always be a majority mobile, is essential to understanding how users are viewing your site, and drives home the importance of optimizing things like lists and /p/ pages to be viewed on a mobile device or tablet.

(pictured: Do312's User Info. Click image to enlarge)

This section is aimed to serve as both a walk-through of how we use GA at DoStuff in a day-to-day basis (for instance, we are pulling our Weekly KPI reports) as well as provide some examples of FAQ's from metros that can be answered with GA. 

The Google Analytics Homepage can answer a lot of questions needed on a day-to-day basis, but we recommend diving a little deeper into your site's additional reports, like Behavior Reports (located in the red box) as there are more capabilities and options for analysis. For instance, one of the most used report for our purposes at DoStuff is the Site Content>All Pages view (located in the orange box>green box).
(pictured: Do312's Behavior>Site Content>All Pages Report. Click image to enlarge)

The workflow to access these reports from your homepage is Homepage>Behavior>Site Content>All Pages. Do312's All Pages Report. Click image to enlarge)

Glad you asked. In the All Pages Report view, the generic date range is typically set to the last 7 days. When looking at the image above, the date range (located in the red box) is set to Oct 17, 2017-Oct 23, 2017. To change the date range, simply click on the down arrow (located in the red box within the red box) and select your desired date range. For this purpose we will select Sep 1, 2017 - Sep 30, 2017 (or you may simply select Date Range: Previous Month, Previous Year, etc.), and select "Apply." This view is pictured below (located in the red box)
(pictured: Do312's All Pages Report. Click image to enlarge)

Once you've selected "Apply," you'll now see the screen in the image below. Your site's overall pageviews (located in the red box) are shown, as well as the individual pages and their performance, ranked in order based on those pageviews.
(pictured: Do312's All Pages Report. Click image to enlarge)

You can then "Save," "Export," or "Share" this info in various forms (located in the orange box) and save it to your records for reporting or to share with your team!

From the homepage, you will select Behavior>Site Content>All Pages (located in the red box) from which you will select Content Grouping>Page Type (located in the orange box). The metrics shown are as follows:
  • Event: Event Pages
  • Other: Home Pages, Listings Pages, ECP Pages, general pages like Sign In, Feed, Search, etc
  • User: User Lists (Just Announced, Free Events, etc.)
  • Editorial: Almost always /p/ pages
  • Venue: Venue Pages
  • Artist: Artist Pages

Once you have selected your preferred date range for your metro, you can then customize your "Secondary Dimension" in GA. This feature is especially useful for finding not only what your highest individual source of traffic to your site was for that date range, but also your highest source of traffic on a specific page. This information can help you distinguish how best to prioritize promotion on pages moving forward (Ex: if email is 50% of traffic to a page vs 5% from Facebook, you can than prioritize which piece of content needs attention in future campaigns).
(pictured: Do312's All Pages Report. Click image to enlarge)

To add your Secondary Dimension, locate the Secondary Dimension drop-down menu in your Behavior>Site Content>All Pages report (located in the red box), select "Acquisition" (located in the green box), then select either "Source" or "Source / Medium." Source will show you where your traffic came from (Ex: Email, Google, Social), while "Source / Medium" will show you the specific medium of the Source (Ex: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). After selecting your Secondary Dimension, your page should look like this:
(pictured: Do312's Secondary Dimension "Source / Medium" view. Click image to enlarge)

So as you can see, Do312's highest source of individual traffic for the selected date range was Do312 Main List / email traffic to their page (located in the red box)

From the homepage, you will select Behavior>Site Content>All Pages (located in the red box), from which you will locate your preferred date range (located in the orange box). After you have selected your date range, you will locate the "Search" bar (located in the green box) and type in "/p/" This will locate all of your /p/ pages on the site and list them in order of performance. 

You can do this from almost any screen, but for this example we will show you how to compare date ranges in the Behavior>Site Content>All Pages view.

Select your date range (located in the red box), select the "Compare to:" checkbox, then you can choose to compare to a Custom Date Range, Previous Period, or the same date range for the Previous Year.

From the homepage, you will select Behavior>Site Content> Landing Pages (located in the red box).  You can investigate further into how users are finding these landing pages by applying the same method used in this section.

From the homepage, you will select Behavior>Site Content>Landing Pages (located in the red box), select your desired Landing Page.

From there you will select Secondary Dimension>Acquisition>Source (located in the orange box). Your screen should look like this:

This information is located in what is referred to as "Events." To find your Events from your GA homepage, you will go to Behavior>Events>Top Events.
(pictured: Do312's Homepage. Click image to enlarge)

From there, you will be taken to your site's Events view (screenshot below).

From the above screenshot, you will need to select the MAIN_NAV Category (located in the red box) , typically in the 4th or 5th ranking.

Once you select the MAIN_NAV category (screenshot below), you will need to select the FEATURED_LINK Event Action (located in the red box)

After you have selected the FEATURED_LINK Event Action, your screen will look like the image below. This view will list out your Main Nav links in order of performance.

  • How many users...
    • registered?
    • logged in?
    • clicked the ‘Buy’ button?
    • upvoted events?
    • clicked the ‘Add Event’ link?
    • followed bands from giveaways?
    • clicked the ‘View in App’ banner (on mobile)
  • When users open the Category dropdown, which links are they clicking?
  • When users opened the search popup, how many of them clicked Featured Links?

From the homepage, you will select  Audience>Overview (located in the red box). The metrics shown are as follows:
  • Sessions (located in orange box): groups of user interactions with your website that take place within a given time frame
  • Users (located in green box): how many users engaged with our site (with unique browsers on unique devices)
  • Pageviews (located in blue box): the total number of pages viewed

From the homepage, you will select Audience>Mobile>Overview (located in the red box). Your screen should look like this:

From the homepage, you will select Acquisition>Overview (located in the orange box). The metrics shown as as follows:
  • Direct Traffic (located in the red box): any sessions for which Google Analytics cannot determine another referrer
    • Typing a domain name in the browser, clicking a link in an email, clicking certain types of shortened links, browser hiccups
  • Referral Traffic (located in the green box): the segment of traffic that arrives on your website through another source, like through a link on another domain
  • (Other) Traffic (located in the teal box): referral traffic with manual campaign tagging, traffic that Google doesn’t know how to identify