A successful website means knowing your visitors. How are they getting to your site? What are they doing once they are there? When and why are they leaving? Are they satisfied with the results of their visit? We have already seen some of the reports available in Google Analytics that help you answer these questions: the visitor overview, benchmarking, and map overlay. But wait…there is still more! In the Visitor Reports section you will find the Visitor Trending reports. This section contains 6 additional reports – Visits, Absolute Unique Visitors, Pageviews, Average Pageviews, Time on Site, and Bounce Rate – to help you find insightful bits of information about your visitors. They may not be the flashiest GA reports, but they are necessary nonetheless.
These reports also provide one added feature that the reports we have discussed so far do not – the ability to view data by hour. I’ll show where this can be useful in a bit.
Visits is the first of the Visitor Trending reports. Navigate to it from the menu on the left under the Visitors/Visitor Trending heading. Your default view is going to be visits by day for the last 30 days (not counting today remember). This can be useful to see how different days of the week impact visits. Are Mondays your big days? Or does a good portion of your traffic come over the weekends? Look for patterns and insights and tailor your site to how your visitors are using it. If Wednesday consistently sees large numbers maybe that is the day to announce new products or offer that blowout special. Remember to use the date comparison feature and when making comparisons be sure you are looking at the same day of the week (Wednesday vs. Wednesday).
As I mentioned earlier, one unique feature in the Visitor Trending reports is the ability to view data by hour. Select the clock icon in the “Graph by:” section just above your top graph. This breaks your visits/day view down hour by hour allowing you to determine which times of day are most active on your site. Why would you want to know this? It can be useful for several purposes.
• Find your lowest traffic times to schedule site maintenance and upgrades.
• Optimize your ad budget by determining when are the best times to start and stop ads.
• Plan promotions around the busiest times of day.
One thing to keep in mind however, is where are your visitors coming from. Are you pretty consistent in one region or time zone or are you receiving considerable visitors from various time zones, the US and Australia for example? The map overlay report can be helpful here and segmenting visitors by region into separate profiles can be beneficial.
Something to keep in mind: A Google Analytics session lasts 30 minutes. So if a visitor walks away from their computer for 31 minutes or more or closes the browser, and comes back to your site they start a new visit.