Mining For Gold in Your Campaigns Using Google Analytics Channels Report

pan_oz_cal_gold_bIn my last article, “Digging For Gold in Your Channels Using Google Analytics New Acquisition Overview Report”, I covered how analyzing your campaigns using the new Overview Report uncovers some quick and surprising results about the differences between channels. This week we discuss the Channel Report, and take our analysis to a higher level using Google Analytics’ flexible new report.


Acquisition Channels

The new Acquisition Channels report, by default, provides a three panel view much like the Overview Report. The Channels Report takes a more data heavy column approach that provides the same series of three sections of data broken down into Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions (eCommerce or Goals).  The true value of this report only comes in when coupling the standard report with a series of secondary dimensions. Applying different Primary and/or Secondary Dimensions to the Channels reports slices to the meat of your campaigns performance, and helps you trim out all the unnecessary fat you’ve tried to avoid.

In our previous article, we looked at the relative performance of channels compared to each other. In the Channels Report, we dig a lot deeper to understand what channels perform the best on a regional basis, with different Operating Systems or Browsers. Gathering a broad understanding of where your campaigns perform the best, under what operating systems or what browsers gives you a wider range of information to check your assumptions about your visitors. Flip the report data and see what your bounce rate is for paid search on each browsers version. Significant variance in bounce rate between Browser Version could indicate a poorly designed landing page in that Browser turning off your visitors before they are exposed to your message. Look in depth at any large volume visits that have unusual negative performance characteristics like low conversion rates, high bounce rates or low Pages / Visit. You might find the problem resides in your user experience rather than hitting the wrong demographic.


Looking at Medium while considering new vs. returning visitors opens your eyes to the value of each visit. In the screen shot below, we show paid search visitors over a three month period. The data shows what you might logically assume, that visitors who take the time to return to your site convert at a dramatically higher rate than the initial visitors. You should ask yourself, how can I increase the number of people who pick my products on the first visit? Perhaps your improved numbers in returning visitors comes from Remarketing efforts. You should check your Returning Visitors contributions to revenue by Campaign as a Secondary Dimension to really know how these visitors are returning. Changes in the Ecommerce Conversion Rate for New Visitors over time might mean you are not as effective as you once were in reaching your target demographic, you are not giving visitors enough information on their first visit to make a decision or greater competition moved into your space.


It is impossible in a single article to cover all the different ways you might want to manipulate your Google Analytics Channels.  I recommend digging around in the data periodically even if you’re not sure what you seek. The side by side visit verses performance data of the Channels Report provides the easiest way to kick over a few rocks and see what gold or horrors hide underneath.