I was given access to the Google Analytics page for our college’s main website (cochise.edu) and spent a few minutes on the analytics page today. I found some interesting “stuff” while I was crusing around there.
For the 28 days ending Nov 15, we had 27,000 users (that isn’t unique users, but 27,000 visitors on our site). They had a total of 67,000 sessions, or about two different visits for each visitor. The “bounce rate” is the percentage of our visitors who leave the site after viewing only one page, and 69% is a pretty high number. We would like to have our visitors click on at least one other page. finally, the average visitor only stayed on our site for a little under three minutes. I’m not sure if that is a reflection of frustration that they could not quickly find what they were looking for or if they only needed to see one fact that may have been posted for them to see (like the day registration starts). The dips in the graph are for Saturday and Sunday so the number of visits drops significantly over the weekends.
The following graph shows that most of our web traffic is on Monday-Friday between about 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM, with the heaviest concentration during mid-day on Tuesday and Wednesday. Those may be the times that students are working on their class schedule for the upcoming semester and they are accessing our site to look over the schedule. A graph a little lower on this screen indicates that course schedules are one of the more popular pages on our site.
The next two images are where our visitors for the past seven days are located. On the world map it is clear that almost all of them are in the local Cochise County area, but there are a few scattered around the world. The second image shows the number of visitors by the city in which they live. As expected, nearly all are in Sierra Vista, but it may be surprising that a large number are from the Phoenix metroplex (Scottsdale and Phoenix), with a large number from Tucson.
The next image shows where our users came from while surfing the web; that is, how they found our site. The darker blue color at the bottom of each day is “direct,” the greatest percentage. That means that they used a bookmark or entered the URL of the page they wanted to see directly in their browser. The next greatest percentage was for people who found us using Google’s search engine. Next are those who came from the my.cochise portal. A small number found us using the Bing search engine and a smaller number still used other methods to find our site.
Browser and Platform
The next image shows the percentage of people who use a given browser. Most of our visitors use Chrome with Safari next. Internet Explorer is still surprisingly popular, but that may be a reflection of a built-in browser for some program.
Visitors who access our site from a mobile device overwhelmingly use an Apple device of some sort, with Microsoft and Galaxy falling far down on the scale.
By far, the college’s home page (identified by a “/”) is where most people visit. That would be expected. The next two pages, schedule and degrees, seem to indicate that students are looking for information about schedules for the upcoming semester.
Finally, the next image seems complex but it shows the flow of visitor traffic on our site. More than 15,000 of our visitors are from the United States (top left corner) and most of those visitors access the college home page (the large green box near the top center of the image). Of all those visitors, more than 13,000 “drop off” after that page and go no further (indicated by the red stipe angling down on the right side of the box). The single greatest destination for those who go beyond the home page is our schedule page, then about have drop off from there. Also note that the second greatest “first page” people visit is the schedule page (the smaller green box under the “home” box near the center of the screen). This indicates that visitors go to the home page but the schedule is either the first or second target for most of our visitors.
These graphs give us interesting information but, frankly, rather limited for decision-making. After all, what does it matter that some of our visitors live in Phoenix? There are a ton of other analytics available that are much more valuable for decision-making. For example, at one point in the analytics I noticed that the time it takes to deliver the “directory” page increased to about twice the previous month. I’m not sure why that page slowed down but it would discourage visitors from engaging with our site if they were interested in our directory. That would be something for us to evaluate further.
In a future post I’ll look at other Google Analytics graphs and charts to see if I can dig out anything of interest.