How to Read Your Analytics Report

Haden Interactive provides an analytics report for each of our full-service clients on a quarterly basis. We’re getting out the last of the 2017 third quarter reports, and we’re happy to get responses from our clients like this one: “Wow.”

But we also get responses suggesting that some people find their analytics report a little daunting. Therefore we’re providing this quick guide to your Haden Interactive Quarterly Analytics Report.

Google Analytics reports

The new Google Analytics dashboard is attractive and gives a feeling of clarity. But getting actionable data from it is something else again. You can customize your dashboard with the reports that usually tell you what you want to know, but Google Analytics has many, many reports and we find that most of our clients get more out of an explanation than from the charts themselves. We also use more sources than just Google Analytics.

So our reports begin with a summary of the most striking data points: the general overview for primary metrics, the biggest changes since last quarter, the information that might call for action, any concerns.


Next we move on to the basic traffic report — what Google Analytics calls Audience Overview. We give all the basic data you’d find in that report at your Google Analytics report. This is not because we think that our clients’ marketing efforts depend on whether people spent an average of 4 seconds more at the website in Q3. It’s because we believe that you should see the same data in each report. There will be different information further on in the report, but you need to be able to see your progress from one quarter to the next.

This lets you be sure that we’re not cherry picking the good stuff; we’re showing you all the data in a consistent way that lets you track changes

We’ll explain any surprising data, and go into more detail for the different traffic sources, such as Organic Search, Referrals, or Paid Search.

Here’s where we note things that caused a spike in traffic — whether it’s good things like a viral post or bad things like an attack of the bots. We want to identify good things that can be done again to encourage traffic. We also want to make sure we know the reason for any disappointing results. We do the research and explain what’s going on. If we can’t figure out what’s going on, we keep digging until we find something useful, or something we can test. Either way, we report this basic information consistently so you can see the general pattern at your website.

In this section we also report on social media traffic, using analytics from the various client accounts and from our social media tools. Some of the interesting information might include adde3d fans and followers, the kinds of posts that got the greatest reach, specific posts that went viral or received interesting responses, and the blog posts that people shared on their own social media accounts.


Traffic is a good metric or set of metrics for most websites, but just getting large numbers of visitors may not be the most important thing for your website. The next data area we look at is the visitors to the website.

The useful data might include demographics, examination of specific user behavior, where visitors come from and what languages they use to access the site, how visitors behave, and the networks they use.

Depending on your organization, we might explore any of these questions;

  • Which corporate networks sent visitors to your website?
  • What percentage of visitors come from your local service area?
  • Do visitors come back regularly to read your new content?
  • Which groups of visitors are more likely to convert?
  • What devices do people use to visit your website?

We have access to a lot of information and not all of it will be useful to every organization. We look for answers to questions our clients have asked as well as things we know will be useful and actionable.


The content section of our analytics report looks at the most popular pages and posts, sometimes in detail. For example, we may check to see what pages are being visited by a specific company network. This information can be useful to your sales team. We can also see what blog posts are being viewed, so that we’ll see when seasonal concerns begin to show up and be ready to respond to patient questions — often by directing them to helpful blog posts.

If we see types of posts that are particularly successful or questions that aren’t answered thoroughly at the website, we can use this information when we write for our clients, or share it with their writers. Thought leadership sites and social action sites find it valuable to see the kinds of topics people find most engaging at any given time.

This is also where we look at ranking information,  competitor insights, data from Google’s Search Console and Spyfu, and keyword issues. Since we blog and provide web content for most of our clients, this is an area of the report where we’re likely to get very granular with strategy. Sometimes this data has been covered in the Traffic Sources section of our report, too.

Site care

A new addition to our reports is the Site Care report. This is a just a heads up showing what’s been happening at the website, and we know that it’s too geeky for some of our clients.

We’re taking care of your backups and your database optimization, and you probably don’t care how many plugin updates we’ve performed. But for some of our clients, it’s reassuring to see that these maintenance tasks are being taken care of. Too often, when we talk with people who are paying someone for webmaster services or SEO services or site maintenance services, they don’t really know what they’re paying for. This report just provides some basic data on maintenance and upkeep.


We always provide some suggestions for actions clients might choose to take. Sometimes these are things we want to do for our clients, such as a shift in focus for the blog or some new keywords we propose working with. At other times there might be campaigns we recommend, site updates we see are needed, or outside the box ideas we believe will provide additional value.

Sometimes, “Keep doing what you’re doing — we’re getting great results!” is our strongest recommendation, but there are always other steps that could be taken, so we try to be proactive about letting you know some things that would be valuable.


We like full-service clients. We like to work as strategic partners, putting the same amount of devotion into your online goals as we would if we worked in your office. But we also offer analytics reports á la carte. If analytics isn’t your thing, but you’d like to be able to use actionable data to make your digital decisions, we’d be happy to prepare a report for you. Contact us today and get on our calendar.






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