A quick analysis of who’s sending you quality website visitors

I find it surprising how many companies have a decent visitor analytics application running on their website, but don’t have the interest or the knowledge to actually use the information. So today I’m going to give you Google Analytics users one report which you can create, right now, which might really open your eyes. We’re going to look at who’s been sending you decent quality visitors over the past few months. A warning though: you might find that one or more websites which you’re spending money to appear on are actually producing no results whatsoever.

Right, here goes. Sign in to Google Analytics and go to the “dashboard” screen for your website. We’re going to look at just the “quality” visitors, so click on “Advanced Segments” on the left and “Create new custom segment”. Click “Visitors” under “Dimensions” and drag the “Visitor Type” box over to the dotted panel. Choose “New Visitor” in the “Value” box. Add an “and” statement; drag over “Visit Duration”, select “greater than” and enter “20” (seconds) in the box. Add an “or” statement; drag over “Page Depth”, select “greater than” and enter “1” (page) in the box. If your company is only interested in visitors from certain countries (e.g the UK), add one more “and” statement; drag over “Country” and select what you want in “value”. Give the segment a name (e.g “Quality Visitors”) and click “Create Segment”.

We now have our filter set up to only show the segment of quality visitors: those who were new to the site, who spent some time with you, and optionally who were from the UK (or wherever).

Now we’re going to look at who sent these good people. Click on “Traffic Sources” and then “All Traffic Sources”. Under “Advanced Segments” top right, check your new segment, and uncheck “All visitors”. You’re now looking at just the quality visitors. It’ll be a lot fewer than the normal “all visitors” figure. Now set the date selector to a decent period, such as the last 3 months, or 12 months, or since 1 January. Select a lot more rows than the default 10.

Click “Export”, and save your report as a PDF (or if you really want to study the figures, an Excel file). I think the resulting report should give you some very interesting food for thought.

Discussion

  1. Iain Thornton

    Thanks Chris – interesting results; using the measures suggested it showed that just 21% of our total traffic met the quality criteria.

    I struggled at first to set this up because the new GA interface is different but found that if I reverted to the old version to create the custom segment following your instructions when I switched back to the new one the custom segment was retained for use.

  2. Chris Rand Post author

    Hi Ian – I wouldn’t worry about whether 21% is a low figure or not, as it’s a bit of an arbitrary benchmark. The key is to see the difference in the distribution of traffic sources, as some sites send you much better quality traffic than others.

    And it’s a good point that I was describing the old GA interface!

  3. Kim Harris

    Useful article, Chris, thanks. Interestingly our page depth and time on site is, on average, >4 pages and >1 minute. More than 75% stay more than 20 seconds and visit more than 1 page.
    It was interesting to confirm our general observations that most visitors come from Google CPC and Google organic and then from manufacturer’s websites. We currently only pay for one directory entry but that didn’t even appear on the quality list!

  4. Gary Aspinall

    Hi Chris, a very good article as always. This really shows you how well and BAD some directories can be and makes you think is it worth spending £X signing up to that directory if your only after increasing traffic.

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