In this post I’m looking specifically at Google Analytics reports.
For those who don’t know, Google Analytics is an online suite offered by (erm) Google. It provides reporting and analysis tools to help you understand your web traffic. It’s invaluable for pretty much any website or blog owner since it’s highly detailed and free to use.
In this post, I’m focussing on some of the best but most underused Google Analytics reports. These reports provide the most valuable insights into how people arrive at, and engage with, your site.
I’ve asked a number of bloggers and website owners to highlight the reports they use often, but that many GA users perhaps overlook. Each report provides highly valuable insights that you may not be aware of.
This roundup features the following reports found within Google Analytics:
Table of Contents
- Landing Pages Report
- Interests Report
- Average Document Interactive Time Report
- Conversion Rate by Device Type Report
- Value per Visit Report
- Average Session Duration
- Google Analytics Annotations
- Conversions and Bounce Rate per Device
- Multi-Channel Funnels Report
- Site Search Report
- Benchmarking Reports
- Google Ads Reports
- New vs. Returning Report
- Events Report
- Mobile Performance Report
- Custom Alerts
- In-Market Segments
- Cohort Analysis
- Assisted Conversions Report
- Behavior Flow Report
20 of the Most Underused Google Analytics Reports You Might Not Know
I asked 20 website owners about the most valuable Google Analytics reports they believe are underused, but that offer incredibly useful intelligence.
Each report focuses upon an area that provides detailed insights into how your visitors engage with your site.
Here’s what they said…
If you’re new blogger and haven’t yet set up GA, find out how you can add Google Analytics to WordPress.
Adam Gingery – Majux Marketing
The landing pages report, filtered by traffic type, is one of the most insightful reports in Google Analytics.
Even knowledgeable clients are always impressed when you present this data; for some reason, it’s not as widely used as source/medium reports and others.
The best use case for this report is measuring the impact of your content marketing efforts. Let’s say you measure a month-over-month increase in organic traffic on your website.
Is that simply an increase in branded searches leading to your homepage, or do those visitors really find you through your blog posts and resources?
You can tell by visiting the landing pages report, filtering traffic type to “organic”, and looking at the specific pages driving traffic. Furthermore, you can see conversion data in this report, so you can see which blog posts actually lead to revenue and leads, not just traffic.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.
Janice Wald – Mostly Blogging
The most underappreciated report I can recommend is the Interests report.
Content creators need to create content that appeals to the interests of website visitors. If people come to read the content but are bored by the
topics, they’ll leave. Your bounce rate will worsen and your traffic will
My largest interest demographic is interested in business, advertising, and marketing according to my report. Hence, I make sure to craft content around those topics.
Use the Interests report to see what interests your website visitors have, and craft content around those topics.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Audience > Interests > Overview.
Sebastian Schaeffer – Dofollow.io
I’m a stickler for UX and a firm believer that it is as important for time on page and conversions, than your product or service… if not more so.
I’m always surprised that so many people ignore their site speed reports, especially the Average Document Interactive Time report. This is a metric of paramount importance because it lets you know how long it takes between the time a page is clicked on and a browser allowing a visitor to resume control of their site experience.
If the time it takes for a person to be able to begin navigating, scrolling and clicking on page elements is too long, they will leave and two things will happen.
- Content that you have spent time and money creating will not be seen.
- Your bounce rate will increase, which Google will penalize you for in the search engine results.
If you have started a blog or online business, pay close attention to the Average Document Interactive Time Report and keep people browsing and reading by giving them those fast load times they expect.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Behaviour > Site Speed > Page Timings.
Bryan Clayton – GreenPal
A Google Analytics report that people should use but rarely do is Conversion Rate by Device Type.
Why is this important?
You should break down different devices for each mobile technology and their device browsers and measure the conversion rate across each combination.
For example, once we started drilling into these reports, we realized that on certain Samsung phones, the default browser caused a major bug with our website.
Sadly , our conversion rate on that specific device and browser combination was abysmal, costing us thousands of dollars a month in revenue.
Had we not broken down the device type and browser type report we would’ve never known this and we would’ve been leaving thousands of dollars of revenue on the table.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Audience > Mobile > Devices
Dan Potter – CRAFTD
Value per Visit is by far the most insightful report as it allows us to understand each user’s interactions. It’s calculated as the total number of visits divided by the total value created.
Of course, the purchase of a product would be of the highest-ranking. However, what we’ve learned is the immeasurable worth that is not calculated, such as reviews or comments left, creating another form of value from the visit.
This knowledge allows us to develop new ways to ensure each visit maximizes the potential to further our business regarding purchases or promotion.
Jamie Bainbridge – Mylo Unleather
Assessing the duration of each visit is of high importance. We strive to convey a concise and thorough interpretation of our product. We do this so that companies looking to collaborate can absorb the necessary information needed to take the next step.
The duration reports tell us how long a visitor spends in a session on our site. In analyzing the numbers, we can learn more about our relevance and how to answer customer questions without diverting their attention.
If the interactions per visit are low and the average session duration is high, it could indicate the page has too much information. When the brand is offering goods or services, the message should be clear, and the call to action straightforward. Through interpreting our visitor’s use, this metric enables us to optimize the experience we provide.
Many reports in Google Analytics show Average Session Duration
Alex Membrillo – Cardinal Digital Marketing
Google Analytics Annotations allow users to annotate – or provide short notes – on any occurrence that may have positively or negatively influenced activity on your website.
While often overlooked as a feature, Annotations can provide highly valuable insights into your data.
Anytime a time-specific factor has occurred that impacts website behavior, this can be captioned, and a small icon will appear below the corresponding data. Examples of things to annotate include:
- Website refreshes
- Site updates
- Site maintenance
- Marketing campaigns
- Press announcements
- Product releases
- Website outages
Why are annotations important to analytics data?
Annotations are important because they provide context. As you are analyzing data, it is important to know the context around what has, or has not, caused a change to occur. Without annotations, it can be easy to misunderstand the correlation of the data.
Find out more about Google Analytics Annotations
Michelle Devani – LoveDevani.com
As a website founder, Google Analytics has made it easier for me to understand my website performance and trends. However, there is still more information it can give over and above that. One of the often neglected reports is Conversions and Bounce Rate per Device.
We are all aware that our audience tends to use different devices when browsing the web. In this report, you can identify which kinds of devices your customers often use to browse your website. As a result, you will be able to optimize your blog effectively, whether on a desktop, tablet, or even mobile, to ensure that you won’t be missing any opportunities each device brings.
You also have to note this during content creation to ensure everything will load and be seen by the audience no matter what device they are using.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Audience > Mobile > Devices
Ruslan Konygin – Triodox
The most overlooked report resides in Multi-Channel Funnels. This report allows business owners to see source/medium paths before a specific conversion.
Why it is valuable?
By default, Google Analytics attributes the conversion based on last-non-direct-click model. The Multi-Channel Funnels reports show you the entire sequence of traffic sources.
Let’s say you have a user who visited a website 3 times and converted:
- 1st Session: google/cpc
- 2nd Session: facebook/cpc
- 3rd Session (conversion): email/newsletter
In regular Google Analytics reports, the conversion will be attributed to the email/newsletter channel. However, Google Ads and Facebook also assisted with the conversion!
In opposition, the Multi-Channel Funnels reports will show (literally) all sources in this chain: google/cpc > facebook/cpc > email/newsletter.
This helps you estimate the real impact of certain traffic sources on conversion.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Multi-Channel Funnels > Top Conversion Paths > Tab: Source/Medium
Darren McManus – Google-Analytics.ie
One of the most under-utilized reports within a standard Google Analytics property is the Site Search report. I believe this is often overlooked because unlike many other reports, it requires a “tiny” bit of extra configuration in your View Settings before it starts gathering data.
It is, however, really easy to set up and can provide really valuable information for business owners in relation to the UX of their website, as well as assisting with content strategy or even product/service offering.
By using the Site Search report, you can identify what users are searching for via the search bar in your website – this can allow you to figure out:
- What products / services / information that users are having difficulty finding (which can assist you in improving your site navigation and UX).
- What products / services / information that users expect to find on your site that are not currently there (which can assist you in your blogging / content creation strategy and even in deciding on what products / services you should consider adding to your current offering).
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Behaviour > Site Search > Search Terms
Zoran Manić – QodeInteractive
Data from Benchmarking reports in Google Analytics allow you to see how your website is performing in comparison to other similar sites in your industry. You can access this report through the audience tab in your Google Analytics account.
In the Benchmarking report you can find three types of filters:
- Industry Vertical
- Size by Daily Session
The “Industry Vertical” filter lets you select an industry that most closely matches your business. As a default, Google Analytics sets the industry that you set in the Analytics Property settings.
The “Country/Region” filter allows you to refine benchmark data by geographic location.
The “Size by Daily Session” filter lets you choose the average number of daily sessions you receive and then shows you businesses that receive a similar average number.
The most useful Benchmarking report is comparing your traffic by channel. It can clearly show you how, for example, your website’s organic traffic is performing compared to other sites in your industry. Or how many visitors are coming to your site from Social or Paid Search, compared to the industry average. This way, you can easily see which traffic channels need improvement.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Audience > Benchmarking
Martina Cooper – Brutally Honest Marketing Reviews
People often overlook how their Google Ad spend is being distributed across all devices.
You can of course check ad performance in Google Ads, but the Google Ads reports also provide data that’s easy to see.
Using the Google Ads reports, I can see underperforming devices and create ads targeted for each one to try to improve them.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Acquisition > Google Ads
Avinash Chandra – BrandLoom Consulting
The New vs. Returning report is highly underrated. Layered into different channels, this metric can provide you with valuable insights.
The New Users metric indicates growth and comparing it with Returning Visitors shows how well your campaigns attract new and existing users.
Returning Visitors provides in-depth knowledge of user behaviour. You can look at the number of New Users and their bounce rate to identify possible issues with their website.
You can also get to know from which device new users are accessing the website and from which channel they are landing on your pages. This is useful as it helps you understand which channels to focus upon to provide a better user experience.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Audience > Behaviour > New vs. Returning
Dawid Zimny – Nerd Cow
I think the most underused report in Google Analytics has to be the Events report.
From our experience, there are many reports that people rarely use – mostly because of the clunky GA interface. What makes Events stand out is that they require additional setup, either in Google Tag Manager or in the code of your website.
While there are many helpful reports in Analytics, the Events take the platform to the next level. You can easily gain insights that you wouldn’t be able to find in any other report.
One of many examples would be tracking clicks to the outbound links, which can give you a great idea of whether your usage of external links helps your visitors or drives them away from your website.
This was especially useful for one of our clients, who experienced the latter and wasn’t able to identify the root cause of a problem using standard Google Analytics reports.
Other notable benefits include being able to track clicks on specific buttons (especially those that do not take the user to a different page), tracking video plays and how long people watch them.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Audience > Behaviour > Events
Devin Ahern – Mid Florida Material Handling
The one Google Analytics report that you definitely need to be using is the Mobile Performance Report.
This report has become more and more critical as Google has moved to Mobile-First Indexing. Not only that, but every year a higher and higher number of consumers choose to use their phone over a desktop. If you’re not focusing on your mobile users, you’re going to be left behind.
This report allows you to look at how many users are using mobile devices to browse your site, their bounce rate, pages/session and more. If you enter the device report, you can even see which devices are most commonly being used on your site. You can use these insights to improve mobile performance on certain devices and make more informed decisions on the direction of your mobile site.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Audience > Mobile > Overview & Audience > Mobile > Devices
Kaelum Ross – What in Tech
For me, the most underrated reporting feature in GA is easily the Custom Alerts capabilities.
What this tool enables you to do is set parameters for which Google will e-mail you reports detailing when your site meets the criteria you set.
For example, instead of checking your Analytics every day to check your site is still running as normal, you can set an alert to e-mail you a report if your traffic drops by 40% compared to the previous day.
You could also set a report trigger for page speed, bounce rate, and many more factors. I see too many users manually check to ensure vitality in such areas where the custom alerts in Google allow such reports to be completed automated; this time-save can really add up over longer periods.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Customization > Custom Alerts
Katelyn Perez – Tandem Interactive
In-Market Segments is a reporting area that most marketers don’t use but should definitely know about.
The data found here shows you what products or services your target audience is ready to purchase. It also includes geographics, interests, lifestyle, age, and gender.
By including more research on target audience and their interests based on Google Analytics, it improves content research, writing for more specific target audiences and how to develop content genuinely interests your visitors.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Audience > Interests > In-Market Segments
Yulia Garanok – datarockets
Many Google Analytics users are co charmed by vanity metrics and reports like visitors or page views so that they may overlook a powerful tool like Cohort Analysis.
With Cohort Analysis, you can analyze users grouped by the acquisition date, which helps you isolate marketing campaign impact on users. By running different experiments one by one, you can compare them in separate cohorts and see how your website activities influenced user behavior over the long-term.
Based on this report, you can make real data-driven decisions rather than just looking at numbers and thinking about what they all mean. This a completely underrated Google Analytics report and it demans attention.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Audience > Cohort Analysis
Sam Underwood – Futurety
One of the most overlooked Google Analytics reports is the Assisted Conversions report, under the Conversions section.
An assisted conversion occurs when a user visits a site from one channel, doesn’t convert, but then visits from another channel and converts at that time. The first channel in this situation gets credit for that assisted conversion.
We often find this is especially important to monitor for big-ticket items or for purchases that require research or consideration. For example, automotive, jewellery, credit cards, and other larger decisions will often have extensive assisted conversions data that can tell us how users originally became interested in the product or service, which is at least as important as the channel that finally turned them into a customer.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions
Nikola Roza – NikolaRoza.com
One Google Analytics report most marketers hardly use is Behavior Flow report. And it’s no wonder why.
It looks like a mess when you first see it, and you really don’t know what you’re looking at, unless you know what the report does.
Behavior Flow is a very valuable GA feature because it shows you how users behave when they’re on your site, specifically whether or not they’re clicking on your internal links.
The value of this report is twofold. If you see people engage and click around your site, first pat yourself on the back, and then keep doing what’s obviously working for you. If you see hardly anyone is clicking on internal links, and bounce rate is really high, then you know you have some work to do.
To find this report in Google Analytics, follow this path: Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions
When you’ve used Google Analytics for a while it’s easy to get stuck using the same reports. Of course, there will always be certain things you want to look at as the markers for improvements or to monitor for deterioration.
However, by digging deeper into perhaps more underused Google Analytics reports, you can gain a more valuable appreciation of how your visitors engage with your site.
Does your favorite GA report feature in this list? What do you feel is the most underused report in Google Analytics? Let me know in a comment below.