Google Analytics Update: Acquisition Channels & Audience Segmentation

Google Analytics (GA) is a useful, free tool that gives website owners and Digital Marketers the insight they need to craft strategies and gain more visibility on their web activity. Aside from tracking the number of visitors, or highest viewed pages, Google Analytics also provides you a breakdown of how people are coming to the site.  

If you have used this tool in the past, you may have recently noticed a slight update to the user experience and data displayed in reports. In this post, I will break down the changes specific to the new reporting features available and how you can use them to your advantage.

Before the update, Google Analytics provided traffic source info which has now been replaced with “Acquisition Reports”. What is nice is the folks at Google kept the format familiar with reports available but tweaked the information enough to provide additional insight into referral traffic.  

With the update, individual traffic sources are now broken down by row into more specific categories including Direct, Organic Search, Social, Email, Referral, Paid Search, Other Advertising, and Display. Keep in mind that these are the Default Channel Groupings available, but GA also gives users the ability to create other groupings with customized rules users can define on their own.

menu.pngOnce you have all your Channel Groupings defined in their rows, the main focus is on the columns which show Acquisition, Behavior and Conversion data specific to each grouping. According to the Loves Data BlogThe idea is that you can quickly compare your numbers to look for overall popularity, if people are engaged and finally if they are actually performing your defined actions (goal conversions and eCommerce transactions”. 

The metrics available help users pull back the curtain to see which channels brought in the most visitors compared to which are leading to the highest percentage of goal conversions. Here, users can gain more insight into where efforts should be focused and how to improve source traffic/page content that is underperforming. Add this to GA’s existing ability to compare time frames, you can target the analytics even further to understand more into the seasonality of your website’s performance.  Lastly, if you click on each individual channel grouping, you can access more information about keywords, inorganic search, and the individual websites in referral or highest viewed direct visit pages. 

Another big change made to GA is the introduction of demographic and interest audience segment reports.  These new reports allow you to better understand who your visitors are.  By knowing the ages and genders of your visitors, you can better refine your ad campaign strategies. 


(Side note: It should be noted that this data isn’t 100% accurate and should be taken with a grain of salt.  For example, if a household has a shared computer with multiple users Google Analytics will not be able to track if it was a parent or a teenager who visited a particular website. That said, if that parent or teenager logs into their personal Google Account on that one computer then GA will be able to accurately track their individual information.) 

In summary, these two reporting features from Google Analytics are useful and can help to gain more valuable insight into the users looking at your website and which medium is most effective.

Is your organization taking advantage of these changes to Google Analytics reports? Let us know on Twitter!

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