Google Analytics – Understanding Visitor Reports

Make the time you spend promoting more worthwhile by understanding google analytics

Under the Sea Buttons 100g
Hello Folksy Shopkeepers! As promised we’re back with some tips on how to make good use of google analytics with your Folksy shop. Google Analytics is a free service that generates detailed statistics and information about web pages. There are some details here on how to add google analytics to your folksy shop.

Once you have it up and running what next? What do these graphs and figures tell you? It can be a bit overwhelming.  If you are struggling for sales it’s important to identify whether the right people (the ones that buy) are seeing your Folksy shop.   Using analytics will help you understand your visitors more.

We will kick off this series of posts with alook at analysing the types of visits to your Folksy shop and we will also talk about  customising your ‘dashboard’. We’ll be looking at the Content and Traffic Sources areas of google analytics over the next few weeks.

You can begin to use this information to make sure that the time you are spending promoting online through social media (facebook, twitter etc) or blogging is having a positive effect and make some changes if it is not.  The most useful links on the page are the ‘help resources’  links on the bottom left of the screen , they really do help if you are confused by a particular report you have clicked on.

Dashboard Basics – Customisable Stats at a glance

The fabulous thing about analytics is that you can customise the dashboard, to make the information displayed relevant to you at a glance.  Apart from the opening graph and initial ‘Site Usage’ stats, each of the boxes (report modules) displayed on that first ‘default’ opening page of your Folksy shop report can be moved or removed and replaced.  Through exploration you will find the graphs and reports that help you analyse your visitors and promotions best.

All these reports are available by clicking on the left hand side navigation links. Go to ‘Visitors’ for example and then you will see on the main page a list of links to these reports. Click through each report, and take a look at the results displayed. You can then decide to ‘add to dashboard’  The next time you take a look at your analytics this information will be readily available on the opening page.

Date Range

The date range defaults to the last month of activity.  Looking at different dates and using the ‘compare to past’ option becomes more relevant once you have had analytics installed for some time.  You can then use it to look at your month on month or year on year performance at a glance as it will show two figures or lines on the graph, one for each date range.  So you can see instantly whether your new business cards or new Folksy facebook shop have had any effect on visitors to your shop.

You can focus on a particular day, week or even a season or maybe the school holidays.   Changing this date range effects all the reports on the dashboard and if you use the compare to past option (a tick box just below where you edit the dates) you will see the % increases and decreases shown in each dashboard report module.  Now these reports start to really mean something, through the comparrisons you can start to see the effects.

The Main Graph

The default view for this is ‘visits’. You should hopefully see the spikes from here where you have listed and promoted new items, run giveaways or been featured/linked to on another website (a referral) – it’s a very quick visualisation of your promotional activity.  You can use the dropdown box at the top right of the graph to add a further ‘metric’, (another line to compare against) or to analyse the different kinds of visits.


  • Visits – The number of clicks through to your page, this can record multiple visits from the same computer. It’s a quick way of checking how things are going.
  • Absolute Unique Visitors – This means it ignores repeat visits and gives you the number of actual people who have visited.
  • Page Views – Within your folksy shop you have many pages with your different listings. This report adds up all of these page views within the date range selected.  Page views as a whole aren’t that relevant, you need to know which pages are being viewed and then to analyse why.  We’ll look at ‘Content’ reports soon.
  • Average Page Views – More useful than seeing how many page views in total is to see how many page views per visit. This helps to show how deeply people are interested in your products.  It’s also a good reflection of how any links within a website work.  Could your shop sections be reorganised to entice people that land on your page to click, or could you add links within your item descriptions such as ‘If you like this you’ll love the ‘icelandic felt berries I have listed’ (how to add links to your descriptions)
  • Time on Site – Visits that last less than 10 seconds usually reflect that a visit has been a waste of time, the user has not found the page interesting enough to linger on the content. This is a very useful report when used to analyse a specific promotion or referral.  If all the visits are under 10 seconds then is it worthwhile?  It’s not as simple as all that as many promotions can indirectly increase search engine traffic – we’ll look at this next time.
  • Bounce Rate – This reflects the number of visitors that view just one page befor clicking away or timing out (usually around 30 minutes of nothing being touched on the page), it doesn’t represent the time they spent on the page so is often misleading. If your bounce rate seems high, check your avg. time on site and pages per visit reports to see if people are clicking away instantly rather than having a good nose through your listings.  Sites like Stumble Upon are all about whizzing through web content so although they can generate enormous views they may increase your bounce rate.
  • % New Visits – This displays the percentage of visitors that have come to your site for the very first time.  It’s a useful report to see if your promotions are starting to widen your audience, outside of say just the folksy forums or your loyal blog readers.  Promotions are all about bringing new customers to your shop and getting existing customers, online friends/followers to share your links.  If that hasn’t happened you need to think about changing what you are doing so that you aren’t wasting money or time.  Remember that it can take time to build up online networks of friends that will help with promotions.
  • Map Overlay – Find out where in the world your visitors are from, down to the city.  This is useful for analysing your physical promotional activities.  For example, promo leaflets you handed out at a craft fair in Aberdeen.  If these cost you £10 to print 200 (not including the time to design them) and they resulted in just 4 visits to your folksy shop from Aberdeen, very simplistically, that’s a cost of £2.50 per person – you could advertise on a really popular blog or website for a month with that sort of money.

We’ll be back with more on the content and traffic sources areas, analysing keywords and using this information to improve your search engine rankings and focus your promotional activity.  If you are determined for your Folksy shop to be a success, understanding how to increase quality traffic to your shop is vital.



  • December 20, 2010

    Kate @elinorjenkins

    Thank you- that has helped me understand it so much more! I look forward to the next installment

  • December 20, 2010


    This is really informative. Cant wait to learn more.

  • December 20, 2010

    heather aka NiftyKnits

    People like me can get very silly when analysing the data – for instance, whenever I spot a visit from Estonia I wave to my friend Silja – cos it’ll be her! GA is very useful though – if you are finding you spend your life on the forum or facebook or wherever and it isn’t producing sales, then you have to ask yourself why bother?

  • December 20, 2010

    Pam @Lovesagoodyarn

    Having finally got GA installed properly, thanks for making it easier to understand, look forward to further installments.

  • December 20, 2010

    Cinnamon Jewellery

    Some great info, thank you! Looking forward to the next installment.

  • December 20, 2010

    Astrid Weigel

    Thanks for this I’ve been a bit mystified by GA so I’m sure this will help ! I’ve printed this out so I can take my time and study it.

  • December 20, 2010


    Wow, thanks for this. Reading all the stats has always been a bit hit and miss for me so this is really helpful. Elaine

  • December 20, 2010


    Thank you…this is so useful. Looking forward to reading more.

  • December 20, 2010


    Time on the computer is time away from doing my art work at the mo, although this is really helpful so thank you, i can get caught up in cyber land- time for the Chirstmas holidays me thinks and will tackle GA with new inspiration in the New Year! Happy hols everyone :)

  • December 23, 2010

    red road design

    Really helpful information – I’m going back now to have an informed look at my stats in the hope that it’ll make more sense! Thank you!

  • December 24, 2010


    Very useful and interesting, thank you! I found out that the day my site was visited the most was 22nd October and 9th November… now I’ve got to try and remember what I was promoting about on those days! Lol!

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