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Top 5 Most Useful Reports in Google Analytics

Published: April 4, 2016

Author: Leslie To

Digging into Google Analytics? These 5 reports can really have an impact on your business. You’ll learn how to view multi-channel performance, ID page speed issues, learn which queries are driving your traffic, see differences in mobile vs. desktop behavior, and check out which terms people are searching for on your internal site search.
Without further ado:

  1. Default Channels Grouping Report under Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels

How it helps:

  • You can see unsampled reports after you drill down into specific channels; helpful for those who get more than 500K sessions per reporting period
  • Gives you high-level performance of all internet channels


  1. Page Timings under Behavior > Site Speed > Page Timings

How it helps:

  • You can measure page speed, an important aspect of UX and technical SEO. Slow-loading pages tend to rank worse and produce poorer results. The page timings report allows you to see all your best and poorest performing pages in terms of page load time. This lets you see where you can quickly make gains by optimizing pages that are negatively impacting the largest number of users
  • You can also splice the report by device type to see if Responsive Design is dramatically slowing down performance. If it is, you can talk to developers about how to compress more CSS/HTML to improve page speed


  1. Organic Search Query Report under Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries

How it helps:

  • Organic keyword data is a relic, but at least with the Organic Search Query Report we can get some kind of idea of what types of queries are driving traffic to the site
  • Don’t take clicks and impressions as your single point of truth. Instead, look at this from a directionality standpoint – are your brand queries trending upwards over time? What does the distribution of non-brand queries look like? Do you have a healthy split between commercial and informational queries?
  • Also gives you an idea of where your low-hanging fruit are
  • Limitation: can only look at the last 90 days. We recommend either accessing the API so you can store this on your own server or having someone on your team continuously mine this so you can look at historical performance


  1. Device Report under Audience > Mobile > Overview

How it helps:

  • Are you having a hard time convincing your team to finally move to responsive? Or are your teammates not convinced that mobile users behave differently on site? Device report can help dispel some of those hesitations around mobile
  • You can also see how differently/similarly users across various devices are converting – maybe you’ll glean insights into how differently people are converting on various devices and can more easily delve into why


  1. Search Terms Report under Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms

Currently, 3Q does not have internal site search so we don’t have data on this, but those who do have internal site search can:

  • See what are the most commonly searched term in your internal site search
  • Help you determine whether or not your global navigation is as intuitive as you thought. Are people searching a term that is in fact available in your global nav but not finding it easily? Or perhaps there’s a term they always search and you’d never think of putting it in your global nav. Those insights and more can be found here


  1. Bonus: Landing Pages Report under Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages


  • Also available as a drill-down dimension of your default channel groupings report
  • By far, my most commonly used report!

How it helps:

  • Determine your top traffic-driving content and your poorest-performing content (content with a bounce rate > 90% or low pages/session metric)
  • You can also see what content is most likely to drive towards a conversion…and what content is more apt to drive new users to your site content more commonly associated with return/repeat visits

Which report do you find most useful in Google Analytics? Let us know in the comments!

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