For our monthly analytics report for the month of September, we are making some changes in the format. We will be providing slightly less information because some of that information will be reported in the Social Media: September 2020 article. What’s more, we will answer the question How to Understand Google Analytics’ Acquisitions Data — in other words, the sources of your traffic — and show you how to best use this information. All the while showing and comparing our metrics to explain how it applies to our context.
But first, the basics.
Wonderful Machine users increased by +7.7% during the month of September, from 9,821 in August to 10,562. Both new and returning users jumped up 7% between August and September. The site also observed improvements in the number of pageviews, sessions, pageviews per session, and even the bounce rate: +6.8%, +5.3%, +1.4%, and -1.6%.
Average session duration and the numbers of session per user saw nominal declines. In relation to the non-plague year of 2019, all of these categories have seen dramatic declines around -15%, but, in the words of on savvy commentator, “it is what it is.”
Users clicked-through 3,531 times during the month of September. This category describes when users follow the links from member photographers’ profiles to their respective websites. That number is up by +15.9%% since August. Users searched photographers according to specialties 7,020 times during September, which constitutes an increase of +13.8% over August 2020 and a decrease of -24.9% over September 2019 respectively. Profile views (8,506) rose by +6.6% since August and fell by -25.9% since September 2019. Photographer searches (3,330) increased by +9.5% since August but decreased by -27.1% since September 2019.
So in relation to last year, back before COVID and the corresponding effects to the economy, the numbers are disappointing, but in relation to August and the quite different economic outlook, these numbers are good news indeed.
WonderfulMachine.com has two different blogs. The number of visitors to our client blog — the blog featuring spotlight articles on recent projects by member photographers — decrease -9.3% since last month. The member blog — the blog devoted to issues of interest to member photographers (not necessarily clients) — saw an increase of +10.8% since July.
The most popular member blog posts were
Now we can get to the fun stuff!
The Acquisitions Data is really just an account of the traffic sources, telling us where our users are coming from (in the location sense, not the existential sense). GA (Google Analytics) gives us more than six different “channels” that it can come from. Each channel has its own individual data to help us see what is happening with our website. To get to our traffic sources we need to go to our analytics page and find “Acquisition” on the left-hand menu (1). Then “All Traffic” (2) and finally “Channels” (3).
From here we can see our traffic sources. Here’s what they mean.
Depending on how you are using your website, certain channels may be less used (or not show up).
Let’s take a look at Wonderful Machine’s traffic sources for the month of September.
“Organic Search” makes up a majority — that is, 55.9% — of our traffic. That has been the case for years now. In fact, most of these channels have fallen in the same order throughout the history of Wonderful Machine. What’s more important is to look at how many of each and what percentage changes you see across time periods. To do that, all we need to do is go to the top right of the page
Here we can click and find our range that we wish to analyze. By choosing to compare to and selecting last year, we can see this September’s data to that of last year.
To look more closely at the types of organic traffic we have, we first click on “Source/Medium” in the left menu.
This shows us both the channel, here called the “Medium,” and where each of those comes from. The first result is “google / organic,” meaning that of the Organic Search traffic, Google is the largest source.
To compare the different sources of Organic Search, I will type “organic” into the search box. That just tells me something I already knew, namely, that Google directs much more traffic than does Bing or others. If I type “referral” into the search box, I have a lot more interesting information.
Now I can compare the different “referral” traffic (in which social media is included), and that is valuable information. First, I see that Facebook and Pinterest direct more traffic to our site than Instagram. If I want to know precisely how much traffic comes from Facebook, guess what I need to type into the search box. That’s right, “Facebook.” That way, I’ll see the mobile traffic (“m.facebook.com”) and compare that to the desktop version “facebook.com”); I see the former is significantly larger than the latter. And this doesn’t include all of the different forms of Facebook traffic (to know what “l.facebook.com” means, follow this link)
Hopefully, this demonstration helped you get a better understanding of what Acquisition, or traffic sources, is and how it can help you make decisions about your SEO strategy
Check back next month to see what changes we’ve seen in our monthly analytics report.
To learn more about SEO strategy, watch our Member Open House in which we did a real-time SEO review of three photographers’ websites.
Questions about interpreting your analytics? Reach out and let us help