How To Read Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool that provides invaluable insights about your website’s traffic, audience demographics, and user behaviors. But for new users, it can be quite overwhelming due to the sheer volume of data presented. Here, we’ll break down the basics of how to read Google Analytics to help you get started.

Accessing Google Analytics

Before we can begin analyzing data, you first need access to Google Analytics. This necessitates having setup Google Analytics on your website. If you haven’t done so, follow these basic steps:

First, create a Google Analytics account at After signing up, you’ll be provided with a unique ‘Tracking ID’.

Then, add the tracking code to your website. The code should be placed in the <head> section of each webpage you want to track.

<script async src=""></script>
  window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
  function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
  gtag('js', new Date());

  gtag('config', 'YOUR_TRACKING_ID');

Understanding the Dashboard

When you first log into your Google Analytics account, you’ll be directed to your dashboard. Here, you’ll find a variety of standard reports grouped into five main categories:

  • Realtime: shows what’s happening on your site right now
  • Audience: provides information about who is visiting your site
  • Acquisition: shows you where your website traffic is coming from
  • Behavior: provides insights into what visitors are doing on your site
  • Conversions: tracks how often users complete specific actions

Navigating the Reports

Each report in Google Analytics provides a wealth of information. Let’s take a brief look at what information you can find in each category.

Audience Reports

The Audience reports give you an overview of who your users are. You can see demographic information (like age and gender), geographical information (like country and city), and even what devices they use to access your site.

Acquisition Reports

The Acquisition reports provide data on how users get to your site. This includes traffic from organic search, paid search, social media, direct visits, and referrals from other websites.

Behavior Reports

The Behavior reports show what users do once they’re on your site. It includes information like which pages they visit, how long they stay, and what they click on. This is particularly useful for understanding the effectiveness of your site’s content.

Conversions Reports

The Conversions reports track how often users complete specific actions, such as filling out a form, making a purchase, or subscribing to a newsletter. This data can help you understand if your website is effectively driving users to complete desired actions.


While Google Analytics can seem daunting at first, with a little bit of practice, it becomes an invaluable tool for understanding your website’s performance. Start with the basics, and gradually delve deeper into the data as your comfort level increases. Over time, you’ll be able to make data-driven decisions that can dramatically improve your website’s results.