Understand changes in user behavior during times of uncertainty

In uncertain times when markets are dynamic and your business may experience change, you need to be able to measure and understand changes in customer behavior and quickly access important insights from your business data. Google Analytics has a variety of reports and reporting options to help you measure critical business metrics so you can take immediate action to drive outcomes that matter today.

Here are some helpful shortcuts for Google Analytics reports that can quickly surface metrics like site traffic, user behavior and revenue, so you can navigate disruptions to your business faster and be helpful to your customers.

This is not an exhaustive list of shortcuts to reports and metrics, and the shortcuts listed here are applicable for web properties only.

Date range

Select the date range for the time period you are interested in seeing site performance for. This date range will be applied to all reports in your view.

If a major event causes a sudden change in the market and your business could be affected, you can analyze what these changes mean for you by comparing site behavior before the event occurred to site behavior after the event. To do so, check the “Compare to” box in the date picker and select a date range that has the same number of days and days of the week. A minimum of 1-2 weeks of data is optimal when doing a comparison in your reports.

Audience impact

To see topline changes in number of users, new users, sessions, pageviews and user behavior on your site, go to Audience > Overview. Pay attention to the percent change of users and sessions for a relative understanding of traffic, as these metrics may be the best indicators of sudden changes to your online business.

For example, if you’re a restaurant offering delivery service, you may be experiencing an uptick in users to your site. More users may mean a higher rate of orders being placed than before. It’s important that you get this insight to ensure your site reflects any changes in your business offering, that your customers’ needs are being met, and that your business is equipped to handle the extra volume.

Revenue impact

If you have Ecommerce tracking set up for your property, you can see changes in revenue, Ecommerce conversion rate, and average order value in Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview. This will help you assess if revenue from your site has changed notably in the time period you’ve selected.

 

If you are a retailer trying to optimize online sales, this report can help you monitor how your sales are trending and if there are sudden dips or spikes that you need to address. If Ecommerce conversion rate and revenue are down for example, you’ll want to dive deeper and see if it’s due to less traffic to your site (in which case you may want to run a promotion), or if traffic hasn’t dropped, you can explore optimizing your product offering or checkout flow to better meet customer demand.

Product impact

To dive deeper into changes from the Ecommerce overview report and determine what you can do to boost or optimize sales, go to Conversions > Ecommerce > Product Performance. See changes in revenue by product and product category or select “Shopping Behavior” in the explorer at the top left of the report to see how users engaged with product pages with actions like product list views, add to cart, remove from cart, and checkout. You can select product SKU, product category and product brand as dimensions to further analyze trends by product offering and optimize your site based on what users are or are not engaging with.

 

For example, if you are a home goods retailer seeing a drop in overall revenue, but after diving deeper into product performance you see an uptick in your kitchenware product category, you can take steps to optimize that product category by surfacing it on the homepage of your site, running a promotion, or highlighting it in a marketing campaign.

Goal impact

If you have goals set up in your Analytics property, you can see changes in goal performance by going to Conversions > Goals > Overview and looking at the change in total goal completions. From there you can dive deeper to see changes in specific goals. For example, perhaps store locator usage is down but product page views and purchases are up. This could provide a relevant insight that your customers are purchasing more online than in store.

 

To further analyze how users are moving through the purchase funnel, go to Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualization. There you can see if there’s been any notable change in goal completion and/or site conversions. Maybe the number of users visiting your site is up, but fewer users are making it fully through the funnel to purchase. You can determine where users may be dropping off and if the percentage of users dropping off at that step is higher than before.

Geography impact

To see changes in activity based on geographic location, go to Audience > Geo > Location and see where traffic and/or revenue has changed disproportionately globally, from the country level down to city. In the example below, New York’s percent change of users is nearly double that of California so you may decide to offer a promotion to users in New York as a result.

Traffic-source impact

To see changes in what channels users are reaching your site from, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium. You can get insight into which marketing channel is driving the most users to your site and use that insight to evaluate which channels you should be investing more or less in.

 

For example, if you see the majority of users coming from search and email, you may decide to invest more of your marketing resources into search ads or email campaigns. Or, if the number of users visiting your site from all channels are down compared to other periods, you may decide to invest in changes to your site or offer a promotion to drive more traffic and conversions.

Benchmark against your industry

To see trends in site performance in your industry vertical or sub-vertical, go to Audience > Benchmarking > Channels and select your industry vertical in the top left of the report. This will help give you an idea of whether the behavior you’ve seen on your site is an anomaly or a macro trend for your industry, and see other helpful insights like general consumer trends.

 

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