The New GA: Acquisition

The new Google Analytics interface, G4, has a whole new set of Acquisition reports. 

Acquisition is all about where your website’s traffic comes from. This report shows how many of your visitors find you through Organic Search, how many are referred by links from other websites, what proportion find you through social media, how many come directly by typing in your web address, and what kind of traffic comes from Google ads or email marketing.

This set of reports helps you see what’s working and what needs work, when it comes to bringing visitors to your website. 

Here’s a reminder of the current Google Analytics Acquisition Overview report, showing a week of data from our lab site:

Starting at top left, we see the channels that bring us traffic, a line graph showing how our users drop our the weekend and peak Monday, no e-commerce sales, and then in the second row details about the different sources of traffic, including engagement.

We can click through to see more details about the different traffic sources, including the web pages that sent referrals, details of social media, and more.

This report shows that organic search brings most of our traffic. As a SEO experiment, the lab site is doing well. However, we could certainly get more out of social media and referrals. 

The new Acquisitions Overview

Here’s the Acquisitions Overview report, top row:

This shows a brand-new website. We can see that most of the visitors have come directly, by typing in the URL. Two visits came from referrals, and we can click on “Traffic acquisition” to see which web sites sent those visits. We see the line graph, as in the classic view.

Traffic Acquisition and User Acquisition

If we scroll down, we can access the Traffic Acquisition and User Acquisition reports.

Traffic Acquisition shows us details of the sources of traffic, with line graphs and bar graphs. We can see engagement, conversions, and events for all the sources. We can easily compare, for example, the average engagement rate for Facebook visitors with the average engagement rate for visitors referred by Wikipedia. We can easily see which source of traffic sends us the people who shop or fill out a form.

User Acquisition shows us new and returning users and their levels of engagement, including events, conversions, and revenue. With one click, we can see that visits arrived from the Netherlands, Australia, and the United States. We can also check demographics like age, language used to access the website, and whether visitors were signed in or not.

We can easily toggle between the Traffic Acquisition and User Acquisition reports at any time using the menu in the lefthand sidebar.

The Acquisitions Overview also shows us a Lifetime Values pane, which is not accessible from the sidebar.

Ecommerce data

Ecommerce data is available in both the classic and the G4 interface if you keep track of it. While our lab site is not really an ecommerce site, we do have a few products for sale there, so we can collect the e-commerce data. Our G4 example does not have this information.

At first glance, the new interface seems to highlight transactions a bit more than the classic view. However, the same information is available in both views. 

At this point, the classic view has a lot of options for Acquisition that are not available in the new Google Analytics view. For example, we can link the Search Console with Google Analytics. We can check treemaps and see the pages other people have shared on their own social media platforms. 

Do you like to have lots of information to delve into, or do you find it distracting to have all that data? The new interface could be a better experience if you’re mostly a “show me the money” user of the Acquisitions report. 

The new Realtime report


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