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Google Analytics

The basics

Email the digital office: digital@gloucestershire.gov.uk

You will need to have a Gmail address (a Google account). If you don't already have one you can sign up at www.google.co.uk.

Note: you may find access blocked by the GCC firewalls "for your protection". If this is the case raise a call with ICT Service Desk (ictservicedesk@steria.co.uk or 01452 425999) and tell them you need access as part of your web duties - you may have to provide a (simple) business case & your manager may need to confirm this.

Google Analytics menuThis is the most frequently asked question about a page or pages asked by managers.

Lets first clear up what is meant by a "hit" because the common term differs from what Google consider a "Hit".

"Hit" to a normal person = how many times the page is seen by users but not counting multiple views in a single visitor's browsing "session" (otherwise the F5 key would produce a "hit" every time you pressed it).

In Google terminology that is a "Pageview". To exclude repeat visits in a session/visit (the F5 problem) we use "Unique Pageviews".

See Google's glossary for definitions.

The information is found in "Behaviour"→"Site Content"→"All Pages" which shows the "Page Views" over the last 7 days by default.

page views

Switch to "Unique Page Views" at the top left of the graph, then set the date range on the top right. You now have traffic to all pages on the site on the graph & table.

Showing just one page:

Assume you want to see traffic to the "For sale" page on Staffnet Marketplace:

  1. Find the page & copy it's URL (web link), in this case:
    https://staffnet.gloucestershire.gov.uk/marketplace-people-events/for-sale/
    Use the bit after the Staffnet main address to search for the page, ie:
  2. /marketplace-people-events/for-sale/
  3. Paste this into the search box above the table & hit the 🔍
  4. You will see several rows in the table because this search is "dumb" & shows anything containing "/marketplace-people-events/for-sale/"
  5. Note the contents of the top row as this is the first /for-sale/ page
  6. Expand the rows to show all the available data & notice that Google actually shows the follow on pages as
    /marketplace-people-events/for-sale/index.aspx?page=2 (or 3, 4, 5, etc)
    Note: due to a quirk in setup, Google Analytics "adds" the "index.aspx" which is never shown on Umbraco - you can ignore this.
  7. Use the browser find feature (usually [Ctrl]+[F]) to find pages 2-5 by searching for 
    "?page="
  8. Note the contents of each row for "?page="
  9. You now have all your data

You can achieve something similar by walking down the "Behaviour"→"Site Content"→"Content Drilldown" report - experiment with that report to see if you find it easier to use or better suited to your purpose.

This example is deliberately awkward to illustrate that "how many hits" is not always a simple question & you have to be prepared to inspect the data to make sure you get the whole answer & exclude the unwanted - in this case all the /for-sale/ pages but not the individual adverts.

All the pages in section 'X'

This has already been answered above - the results you get in point 4 above answer the question.

If you prefer to work with the data offline you can use the "Export" button top right to offload the results as an Excel file which makes it easier to sort & summarise data like the "page=" rows. See the "Printing, exporting & emailing reports" section below for more help exporting data.

This is the other most frequently asked question about a page or pages asked by managers.

Again lets first clear up what is meant by a "visitor": it's how many different people came to the page. Because Google can't reliably identify a single person we substitute "session" for visitor; a "session" is: The period of time a user is active on your site and if a user is inactive for 30 minutes or more, any future activity is attributed to a new session. Users that leave your site and return within 30 minutes are counted as part of the original session.

Note: you may prefer "Users" which is a bit like "Unique sessions" in that multiple visits by the same person are excluded although in practice identifying users reliably is a problem due to cookie blocking.

You can see sessions in the "audience"→"Overview" section.

Unlike the Pageview report, this gives a simple data graph (by default showing "sessions") & some alternate mini-graphs of other available metrics. Use the drop down top left or just click a min-graph to show a different metric on the graph.

"Filtering" the data to a set of pages

Filtering traffic on the audience reports involves setting up a "segment" rather than entering some simple filter text in a box, although the principle is the same and once created, the segment is avialable for use in other reports. To create a segment hit the "+ Add segment" button.

Then, if you haven't created a segment already: 

This presents you with a complicated looking panel with multiple filtering options.

For the marketplace example we can use the "Advanced"→"Conditions"

Name the segment and set a condition that shows traffic if:

  • the page (URL) exactly matches "/marketplace-people-events/for-sale/index.aspx"
    or
  • the page starts with "/marketplace-people-events/for-sale/index.aspx?page="

Check "Answering 'the KPI question': how many hits?" if you can't see why I suggest using these filters.

Once applied this segment will only display how many sessions have visited the pages specified by the advanced conditions.

Hint: if you are confused about the difference between filters on the Pageview report and segments on the Session report, go to the Pageview report and apply the segment. You will see that it does not filter out traffic to pages other than the /marketplace-people-events/for-sale/ pages you have used in the segment. This is because it is showing pages where someone in a session has visited as well as the /marketplace-people-events/for-sale/ pages.
It's important to grasp the difference!

  1. How much traffic from a mobile?
    Open
    Audience→Mobile→Overview
    (For a bit more detail open Audience→Mobile→Devices)
  2. How much traffic from Google (actually all search engines)
    Open
    Acquisition→Channels
    • Direct: we don't know how they got here
    • Referral: came from another site (clicked a link)
    • Organic: came via search

Printing

Google Analytics has no dedicated print function for reports and printing the web page shows all the menus. Use the PDF export to get a printable report or export the raw data & create your own printable.

Exporting

Export menuYou can export in four formats:

  1. PDF
  2. Google Sheets
  3. Excel (XLSX)
  4. CSV

PDF: A fair copy of the report which is useful for sharing via email or displaying on a presentation.

You have no control over the page size or layout but the PDF does have one very handy feature, a link embedded top right that allows you to open the report again.

Google Sheets: Transfers a copy of tha data direct to your Google Drive as a Google Spreadsheet. Google Sheets have most of the functionality of Excel but the document remains on the Google Drive where it is available for anyone you care to share it with.

You can use Sheets to manipulate data and create custom reports and charts.

Excel (XLSX): Downloads a copy of the data so you can manipulate data and create custom reports and charts.

CSV: This is the raw data with none of the formatting of a spreadsheet making it ideal for systems which do not run the major software suites.

Emailing

Once you have a report that suits your needs, you may wish to see a copy periodically, or send a copy to someone else; you can use the "Share" button top right to do this. The dialogue then offers you the option to enter or select:

  • The email(s) you want to send to: enter a comma-separated list of email addresses.
  • A subject - make this something meaningful (everybody's inbox is full)
  • Attachment format: PDF, Excel & CSV - this is only for emailing physical attachements so you can't send a Google Sheet
  • Frequency: Once, Daily, Weekly, Monthly or Quarterly
    If you select a frequency other than Once, click ADVANCED OPTIONS and select an Active for period.
  • Use the text field to enter a message for the body of your email.
  • "Add to an existing email" allows you to send using existing recipints, frequency and active period

Share dialogue

When you hit send, if you've chosen "Once" the email will go immediately, if you've chosen a frequency it will go on the chosen date (& the same date every 'frequency' for the active period).

Saving

The save button will save a copy of your report in the "Customisation"→"Saved Reports" for later use.

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