The Google Analytics platform allows you to get detailed insights into how visitors are using your website. Google’s platform allows for everything from a quick overview to an in-depth analysis of your site’s visitor data. Google Analytics is a free application and is automatically included on most public-facing sites managed by IS&T. Our pages on how to use Google Analytics provide instruction on analyzing data for past activity, adding new tracking codes, obtain the Analytics report of the users flow and geographic data.

Data from Google Analytics is often used in making critical business decisions. In Analytics, this data is extracted from “reports.” A number of standard reports come included with every Google Analytics account.

Basic reports have standard metrics including views per page, referring search terms, and visitors by location, among others.Examples:

  • “Which are our top-performing pages?”
  • “How many visitors do we have from MA?”

Google Analytics interface displaying a line graph of pageviews over time.

Google Analytics provides a page view report with seven columns for sorting results: Page, Pageviews, Unique Pageviews, Avg. Time on Page, Entrances, Bounce Rate, and %Exit, which can be viewed by Day, Week, or Month.

Advanced (“Custom”) reports are entirely customizable. These reports can help answer complex questions, and are intended for datasets that are retrieved on a regular basis.Examples:

  • “How have mobile visits from our newsletter changed since last month?”
  • “Are mobile viewers more or less likely to spend time reading our articles?”
  • “When people visit from a link shared on social media, which pages are most likely to result in a conversion (e.g. Information Request, Sign Up, etc)?”
Google Analytics' custom reports allow for easy comparison of multiple points on a line graph which includes a legend above the graph.

This example showcases the user using Google Analytics custom reports to track eight metrics beneath a line graph, utilizing an eight-column chart. Metrics include Mobile Device Info, Sessions, % New Sessions, New Users, Bounce Rate, Pages/Session, Avg. Session Duration and Transactions.


Dashboards are a quick way to check your most business-critical metrics.

Google Analytics' dashboard features the top toolbar and left menu sidebar. The toolbar presents Home, Reporting, Customization, and Admin options, while the sidebar allows for tracking specific metrics such as Audience, Acquisition, Real-Time, and Intelligence Events.

Google Analytics' dashboard features a customizable metrics section in the center. Users can add visual shortcuts like charts or graphs of Total Events, Pageviews, or Event Actions.