A Complete Guide to Web Analytics Reports (+ Examples)
Imagine a situation where one of your many tasks is to compile monthly analytics reports for your client or manager and ensure that these reports carry the right and accurate data.
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Of course, you can always export a few PDF reports from Google Analytics 4 and close the chapter. But here is the challenge...
How to analyze and present data so the report is useful to your client? How to implement data visualization techniques that would make sense to people? There are different reporting tools to choose from and agency reporting tips to follow. We will discuss everything you need to know about web analytics reports and provide a few templates.
What is web analytics?
Web analytics is the process of collecting and evaluating website data. This process could also be used as a tool to help improve website effectiveness. Web analytics help you analyze the source of organic & paid traffic to your web pages, your bounce rate, and overall marketing ROI.
Web analytics is not only useful for measuring traffic, but it is also a valuable tool for conducting business and market research. Optimization of your online presence and marketing efforts requires you to consistently monitor and measure visitor data.
Tracking the user behavior of website visitors allows you to gain insight into how they interact with your site. You can learn how to make a website or hire a professional, but either way, you'd still need to do some tracking. Aside from that, you'll better understand how to improve communication on any eCommerce site with your target audiences. The following section will explain in more depth what web analytics is and how to create a web analytics report or dashboard.
The difference between web analytics reports and dashboards
Web analytics reports or dashboards can be used in a variety of contexts. These include eCommerce, email marketing, social media, UI/UX design, and SEO.
For instance, marketers will always want to ensure that the site generates a healthy inflow of search engine traffic for SEO. On the other hand, eCommerce experts will also want to ensure that the website increases sales and that they avoid a high bounce rate.
What is a web analytics dashboard?
A web analytics dashboard is a reporting interface that displays website performance data derived from monitoring website performance. This is usually done by tracking specific metrics or key performance indicators, such as:
- online conversions,
- engagement rates,
- page views,
- session duration,
referral traffic to your landing pages, etc.
However, unlike a report, a web analytics dashboard is usually brief and showcases the current or recent web analytics metrics data that come from monitoring website performance.
What is a web analytics report?
A web analytics report is a document that provides insights into the data collected from a website. It involves the collection, measuring, and analysis of overall website performance. It usually includes both current and historical data, collects raw data, and displays it in a digestible format. Reports typically contain comments and explanations of different trends and recommendations for the next steps.
You create a web analytics report to:
- Assist with auditing and reviewing projects over a specific time frame,
- Identify what has and hasn't worked in the past,
- Use historical data to create optimized and data-driven strategies.
Why build a web analytics dashboard or report?
When it comes to optimizing a website for conversions, marketers don't just make sure that the website design and copy are above the industry standard. They create digital marketing campaigns for a website, conduct at least one paid search, analyze data from their marketing efforts, and, finally, use this data to create even better marketing campaigns in the future.
Now, we’ll review six cases of how web analytics reports can help you make data-driven decisions.
1. Assess ROI
When it comes to marketing budgets, every dollar counts. Web analytics can help you assess the ROI of your marketing campaigns and optimize your spend.
For example, you’re running a PPC campaign and use web analytics to monitor how many people click on your ads and how many convert them into sales or leads.
2. Get feedback on specific goals
Informed decisions depend on real-time feedback and web analytics reports can help you track progress in key areas and identify opportunities for improvement.
This is important for two reasons. First, you want to create content that people want to consume, and second, you want to avoid wasting time and resources on content that goes unnoticed.
3. Identify site development priorities
Web analytics can also help you decide where to start with your website development.
For example, if the report shows that most of your visitors are mobile users, your priority should be mobile optimization.
On the other hand, if the report shows that people are leaving your site after a few seconds, you may want to check factors like navigation, design, and content.
4. Discover the top sources of traffic
If you are investing your or your client’s money in different channels like social media, email marketing, and PPC, you want to know which one yields the best ROI. Web analytics helps you direct more resources to the channels that are driving results.
5. Monitor user journeys
The user journey doesn’t end when someone clicks on your ad or link, so you need to monitor what happens after that action, too.
Web analysis helps you map the entire journey, from initial click to purchase, so you can identify the bottlenecks and optimize the journey.
6. Save money and increase ROI
Finally, web analytics ensures you are getting the most return on your investment. It reveals where your audience is and what they need while also evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your current strategy.
This web analytics data allows you — and your clients down the road — to make more intelligent decisions.
Let’s consider the following scenarios:
- You work for a company that prioritizes visibility and insight into website performance,
- You are in charge of the performance of a website that receives a large number of monthly visitors,
- You are tasked with combining web analytics data with other sales and marketing data to better understand the performance of your website,
- You are tasked with simplifying critical metrics monitoring without investigating or utilizing common tools such as Google Analytics 4.
In each of these scenarios, you need to build a dashboard or report as a way of measuring and proving that the marketing efforts you’re putting into optimizing your website are showing results.
How to create a web analytics visual report?
Despite the tool you choose to generate reports with, here is a checklist to remember when doing so.
Step 1: Identify the top web analytics metrics and KPIs you need to monitor
- Sources of incoming traffic: This refers to the source or origin of your website traffic. For instance, people can visit your site through search engines or email links.
- Page views: Just as the name suggests, a page view means how website visitors view your pages and the number of pages the average individual visits before leaving your site. This metric considers the pattern of page views of a single user.
- Average time on page: This refers to website users' average time on a single page. The longer a visitor stays on your pages, the more of an indication it is that your website is filled with engaging and high-quality content.
- Bounce rate: This metric refers to the number of people who visit a page on your website and leave immediately without interacting further. In Google Analytics 4, this metric is called a negative engagement rate.
- Device usage: No matter how your website is built, it should be responsive and look great on all devices. So this metric is particularly important as it shows what type of devices people use to browse your content.
Step 2: Identify the sources you need to pull data from
These include Google Analytics 4, PPC and eCommerce platforms, SEO tools, etc. The choice of these sources will ultimately determine the choice of the marketing reporting tool you’re going to use to pull and visualize data from these sources.
Step 3: Determine your preferred choice of presentation of your report
Your web analytics report should be easy to present, share, and understand. The best option is to use a web-based marketing reporting solution that works well across devices and systems.
Step 4: Determine and assess the reporting software vendor
When choosing marketing reporting software, you need to take several factors into account. For example, it needs to:
- Be simple to set up and use with a minimal learning curve.
- Connect data from all the channels you or your clients use, preferably through built-in integrations and not third-party connectors.
- Let you easily build the marketing report through an intuitive drag-and-drop interface.
- Enable effortless cross-channel reporting.
- Set widget filters and perform advanced analytics such as data blending and aggregation, create new metrics, and add calculations such as agency markup.
- Ideally, have the white-label option to replace the vendor’s domain and branding with your own.
- Allow easy and automated report sharing with minimal human intervention.
Step 5: Pull data from all your data sources into the report.
If you choose a marketing reporting software such as Whatagraph, this step will take a few clicks. Once you add your sources, each report you create around them will get populated with the source data automatically.
Step 6: Build visualizations for your web analytics report
How much time it will take to visualize your marketing data also depends on the marketing reporting software you choose. With Whatagraph, this doesn’t take much time, as all the visualizations and other widgets are already in the library. You only need to drag and drop them on the report page and, if needed, apply a filter.
Step 7: Share the web analytics report with your team or clients
This is becoming a repeating pattern, but again, so much depends on the marketing reporting solution you choose. You can either attach each report individually and send a bunch of emails at the end of the day or use Whatagraph’s automated report-sharing workflow, which we’ll explain in a minute.
Whatagraph helps you take many unknowns from the equation by giving you marketing reporting software to pull data from your or your client’s sources, easily create visualizations on the relevant metrics, and automate report sharing.
8 elements of a professional web analytics report
- Cover page: This is where you can upload a custom image that matches your agency’s brand. The cover page sets the context for the following in-depth analysis and introduces your agency’s expertise that gives credibility and nurtures a positive client relationship. In Whatagraph, you can save this page as a template and use it for future reports.
- Monthly summary: Give your client a monthly summary of what is happening on their website. This is where you discuss goals, deliverables, and results in the most simple way. Say what you did during the past month and how it impacts the overall strategy. Show real-world data and examples.
- All channels overview: This section displays all the metrics related to different traffic sources, like organic search, direct links, referrals, and social media. This section of the report can get overwhelming for some viewers, so make sure to give an explanation of what is presented.
- Location: This section of the report gives your client a look into the demographics of the website visitors. You can also show how often people from different locations visit the website and how many of them convert.
- Devices: Display a list of devices your customers use to navigate the client’s website, as well as the average session duration, bounce rate, and the number of goal completions.
- Organic search: This is where you present the metrics related to organic traffic, such as which keywords perform the best in terms of conversion. This section can also set grounds for an SEO strategy you drive with your client. One of the best ways to prove the value of your SEO services is to show them direct conversions from organic traffic.
- Paid search: The PPC section gives your client a deeper understanding of your PPC campaign's performance. Show how much traffic each campaign drives and what conversion goals are coming from each.
- eCommerce: Present all the relevant metrics for your client’s online store. Tell which products are selling the best and what kind of revenue your client earns from each product. This can be a starting point for discussions about focusing on specific products for future ad campaigns.
4 web analytics report templates
While creating reports from scratch, make sure you're being thorough, as you can save plenty of time by using web analytics report templates. These come pre-filled with certain widgets, and you can just connect your data sources to complete the report in a matter of minutes rather than hours.
Here are some of the most helpful web analytics report templates to try out.
1. Web Traffic Report
The web analytics report pulls information from any site online and provides easy access to objective traffic data. Connect your client’s Google Analytics 4 account and see how many people land on their website or get insights into website user experience You can either track organic or paid traffic. The best thing about Whatagraph's reports is that you can easily compare these two metrics. This is necessary if you want to show:
- Which device performs better with which traffic (paid or from organic search),
- What countries bring in which traffic (paid or organic), and where to double the focus,
How paid and organic traffic work and complement each other.
Moreover, there are other key metrics that you can track and evaluate, such as:
- Traffic acquisition,
- Unique visitors,
- Total visitors,
- Returning and new visitors,
- Conversion rates.
And many others.
2. SEO Report
Probably the most comprehensive web analytics report template is the SEO report. This is what SEO specialists and marketers generate when they want to look at the overall website's SEO performance. This report shows:
- Bounce rate,
- Keyword rankings,
- Goal completions successes (exclusively on Whatagraph),
The sources you want to track here are your client’s Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or Semrush accounts.
3. eCommerce Report
This type of report is slightly more specific than the other two mentioned, as it focuses on the sales part and paid and organic advertising performance. You want to generate an eCommerce report to get all the necessary data about:
- Shopping cart data,
- Best selling products,
- Conversion rate,
- Checkout process.
Connect Shopify (or BigCommerce, Woocommerce), Google Ads, social media channels, and/or Google Analytics accounts and other integrations and track the following KPIs and metrics:
- Bounce rate,
- Pages per session,
- Goal conversions,
- Total revenue.
4. PPC Campaigns Report
The last report to always have handy is the PPC campaigns report. Use our reporting platform to get the best and the most detailed performance reports that are also visually appealing. Paid search and paid traffic will be readily displayed on one page, even though the data source is not one. Connect Google Ads, Microsoft Ads (aka Bing Ads), Facebook Ads, Linkedin Ads, or any other preferred source, and track key PPC KPIs:
- Conversion rate,
- Spent on Ads,
- Overall campaign costs.
With this report, you'll have a significant advantage because you can easily optimize your PPC campaigns. There's also this aspect of budgeting to consider. Because PPC is all about spending money in the hopes of generating leads, sales, or impressions, you must ensure that you:
- Don't overspend,
- Spend enough money to acquire a single customer,
- Establish your own benchmark, allowing you to identify the lowest CPA (cost per acquisition).
Whatagraph can help with web analytics reporting
Depending on the type and purpose of your client’s website, you will use different web analytics tools to extract actionable insights and provide decision-makers with accurate and timely information.
Whatagraph can be of a huge help in this scenario.
Whatagraph is a marketing data platform to connect, visualize, and share data from different marketing sources through engaging reports and dashboards.
In other words, it helps you aggregate insights from website analytics tools like Google Analytics 4, SEO insights from Ahrefs, Semrush, and Google Search Console, eCommerce tools like Shopify and Big Commerce, PPC platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and 40 other popular marketing tools.
So, instead of sending separate reports on different website functionalities, Whatagraph allows you to connect data from all the channels you need into one consolidated web analytics report.
Once you connect your client’s accounts, you’re the boss — you decide how the report looks and what information it presents.
Starting from the cover image, messaging, and branding over to visualization, you have total control:
- Drag and drop widgets for every channel you connected and arrange them any way you like,
- Set filters at source and widget level, change dimensions and metrics for each widget,
- Use custom formulas to create new metrics or ad agency markup for paid ads,
- Blend related metrics from different sources,
- Compare cross-channel performance in multi-source widgets,
- Get an Overview of all campaigns/pages/channels with selected metrics,
If you’re an agency and manage a large number of reports for your clients, you’d be happy to hear about other Whatagraph features designed especially for large enterprise and client reporting such as:
- Linked templates: Edit even hundreds of reports at once instead of one by one. Link them to one master template, and any changes you make to it will also impact the linked reports.
- Report folders: Neatly organize the reports and dashboards you create in folders — by client, campaign, sources, accounts, you name it. Here’s a case study of how this feature helped one client organize reporting on a vast network of brands and venues.
- Automated send-outs: Schedule the time, frequency, and addresses, and each client gets their report at a specified time. You can add a review step for you to take a final look before the report goes out.
- Live report sharing: Adds more transparency to your reports and dashboards with live links for on-demand access. Speed up client-agency communication and let them see their data whenever they want.
Having a quick and easy way to build web analytics reports with relevant and accurate data means your reaction time improves. You can get insights before the decision-makers much sooner and re-align your marketing strategy accordingly.
Whatagraph gives you that ability by offering a way to consolidate data coming from multiple web analytics platforms and track the metrics that make the most impact
Sign up for a free 7-day trial and start generating custom web analytics reports of the highest value.
Published on Jul 07 2020
WRITTEN BYDominyka Vaičiūnaitė
Dominyka is a copywriter at Whatagraph with a background in product marketing and customer success. Her degree in Mass Communications/Media Studies helps her to use simple words to explain complex ideas. In addition to adding value to our landing pages, you can find her name behind numerous product releases, in-app notifications, and guides in our help center.
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