How to Run a Cohort Analysis in Google Analytics to Better Segment Your Traffic

How to Run a Cohort Analysis in Google Analytics to Better Segment Your Traffic

What is a cohort analysis? A cohort analysis, then, is the process of analyzing the behavior of groups of users. For example, cohorts in Google Analytics are grouped based on Acquisition Date, or the users’ first visit to your site. Below this chart, the report will also display a table showing your site’s user retention, divided into groups based on the date of users’ first visits. The “Per User” set of metrics will show the average number of actions each member of a cohort took on your site, including: Goal Completions per user Pageviews per user Revenue per user Session Duration per user Sessions per user Transactions per user So instead of analyzing your cohorts based on whether they consistently return to your site, you can focus on the actions that have an impact on your most important goals. In fact, Analytics currently allows for up to four segments in the cohort analysis report. This means you can use the cohort analysis report to access data on sets of users you’ve already identified as valuable for your site. As long as you use UTM tracking for your campaigns, you can do this by creating a new segment within the cohort analysis report, and selecting “Traffic Sources” from the left column. You can use it to learn more about segments you’ve already created and see how their behavior differs from other segments, as well as your site’s traffic as a whole. How do you use the Cohort Analysis report for your site?

3 Crucial Metrics to Measure When You Advertise In 2018
Digital Marketing News: Online Ad Spend’s Speedy Growth, Google’s Podcast Transcriptions, & Adobe’s LinkedIn Push
Why Meta Tags Are So Important for Your Online Marketing Efforts
cohort-analysis-google-analytics

Google Analytics is a staple in every experienced digital marketer’s set of tools.

That’s primarily because it provides a wealth of data, covering virtually everything you might want to know about how visitors interact with your site.

But it’s only useful to your business if you can use that data to draw actionable conclusions about your audience.

One of the best ways to do that is by using the Cohort Analysis report in Google Analytics.

The Cohort Analysis report tells you how well your website is performing. And, it gives you in-depth insights into user behavior on your site.

If you’re unfamiliar with this report, you’re not alone.

Cohort Analysis is an underrated report but one that analyzes trends and patterns in user behavior to help you understand who is converting and who is not.

What is a cohort analysis?

To understand what a cohort analysis is, it’s necessary to define a “cohort” first.

This term refers to a subset of people grouped together because of a shared value.

Google defines it as a group of users who share a common characteristic, identified by an Analytics dimension.

Screen Shot 2018 05 10 at 9.09.40 PM

A cohort analysis, then, is the process of analyzing the behavior of groups of users.

You can compare groups to one another and look for differences and trends.

If you identify any patterns, it can help you determine which changes and behavioral differences led to different results.

To be clear, this process is not unique to digital marketing. You can run a cohort analysis to compare many different types of groups.

In fact, the term originates from medical studies, in which researchers compare groups of people like smokers and non-smokers to identify differences between the two.

When it comes to your site, however, the cohort possibilities are limited to the data you can collect from your visitors while they browse.

For example, cohorts in Google Analytics are grouped based on Acquisition Date, or the users’ first visit to your site.

And this cohort type can be extremely helpful in giving context to data.

Analyzing specific segments, instead of your audience as a whole, will give you a clearer idea of what makes a great customer for your business.

A cohort analysis also goes beyond basic data points to suggest the reasons for changes in your site visitors’ behavior.

As a result, comparing cohorts can help you learn more about what influences specific behaviors and the impact your marketing campaigns and strategies have.

For example, when the children’s online clothing store Spearmint LOVE wanted to identify trends on their site, they created several cohort analysis reports based on first purchase date.

Using this analysis, they were able to determine how long the average visitor would continue to return to their site, as well as the average time between purchases.

They also used this insight to break their cohorts into “custom windows” based on the different purchasing behaviors of moms during pregnancy and the first few years of their children’s lives.

This way, they could more accurately predict what the cohorts’ next purchase might be, then base their ad campaign content and timing on those predictions.

And while this was only one of several strategies Spearmint LOVE used to improve their marketing, the end result was 991% YoY growth from 2015 to 2016.

How to run a cohort analysis in Google Analytics

Running a cohort analysis in Google Analytics is a fairly simple process.

Under the Audience Tab, select Cohort Analysis.

By default, the main dashboard for this report will show a graph with your site’s Acquisition Date cohorts by User Retention.

In this case, Day 0 represents each user’s first visit to your site, and the subsequent days show whether they returned.

If you notice a decline in this chart, don’t be alarmed.

Cohorts inevitably drop over time as users stop returning to your site.

Maintaining a steady flow of return visitors is challenging for even the most experienced marketers — so don’t be surprised if this number gradually declines for most of your cohorts.

Below this chart, the report will also display a table showing your site’s user retention, divided into groups based on the date of users’ first visits.

In this case, each row represents a different cohort of users by Acquisition Date.

If you notice that any rows show significantly different retention rates from the rest, this can be a great starting point for analysis.

This is especially true if you run any major marketing campaigns.

For example, a high-performing cohort can indicate that the campaign you ran that day was particularly effective at attracting engaged traffic.

Then, at the top of this dashboard, you can adjust the data included in your report.

Right now, the only Cohort Type available is Acquisition Date or the date of a user’s first visit to your site.

But you can adjust the Cohort Size to reflect groups of users by day, week, or month.

This is especially helpful if you launch and run new campaigns on a timeline that meets one of these durations.

Next, you can choose from a few different metrics by which to analyze your cohort.

The default metric is user retention, which shows the percentage of a cohort that returns on subsequent days following their original visit.

If one of your primary goals is increasing your overall traffic and maintaining a steady flow of return visitors, this report can be extremely…

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 0
DISQUS: 0