Google Analytics

Why use Google Analytics?

Google Analytics can help you understand your site’s visitors better, answering pressing questions such as “what makes them click?” and “what makes them stay?” Analytics will enable you to optimize your content for your target audiences, because an audience-oriented site means that visitors are more engaged and feel less frustration when using it.

Actionable Insights

Data leads to insights, and better data leads to better insights. These insights can help you identify opportunities to optimize and market your content.

For example, a content manager with a day of downtime starts her day with the referral report. This report identifies top sources of visitors to her site. She quickly finds that Facebook is the top source of referrals, and Yelp is in the top five (the rest of the top five are other university Web sites). Yelp visitors are far more engaged than Facebook visitors, spending more time on the site and visiting more pages per visit. The content manager prioritizes her limited time to build out their Yelp profile, thereby increasing lead generation.

How do I access Google Analytics?

It’s simple: just email the UIS Web Services team at and we’ll provide you with access. After you’ve created a free account, you can log in to Google Analytics at

Where can I get more information on Google Analytics?

If you would like more information about Analytics, please visit

If you need more help or have additional questions, please contact web services or see Google’s own documentation on Analytics, found at


The following four categories will walk you through the general setup of Google Analytics, how to run and read your own customized reports, and what the data mean:

  • General Information explains what you will encounter upon logging in to your account and walks you through some of Analytics’ default settings and automatic data generation.
  • Custom Reports will explain the types of reports that Analytics offers, and will teach you how to set up, run, and read a custom report.
  • Data Analysis explains the different types of data that Analytics collects (dimensions and metrics), provides common exmples and definitions of each type, and what can be found in Analytics’ more specific default reports (under AcquisitionBehavior, and Conversions).
  • Examples will give you concrete examples of analytics reports and solutions.
  • Helpful Questions will hopefully answer any of your more specific questions directly. If you still need more information, please email Web Services at and we’ll be glad to help you.
  • Training Resources will provide you with additional tutorials and resources to help you get familiar with Google Analytics and use it effectively. 

General Information

The Home Page

The Analytics home page is where you will be taken once you log in to Google Analytics. To access your site, simply open the folders for it and click on the site name. Folders are shown as folders, while sites have a world icon next to them. This will take you to the reporting page for that specific site.



If the options below don’t answer your questions, please check our Helpful Questions or see Google’s own documentation on Analytics’ default audience overview reporting for more information.

Audience Overview

The reporting page has a plethora of options available and may seem daunting at first, but the default setting of Google Analytics is to take you to an overview of your audience.

In the graph at the top of the page, you will see sessions plotted against time. You can add more metrics to this graph by clicking on “Select a metric” in the top left corner of the graph. (To read more about metrics, see the Data Analysis section below).

You can also choose the time period between data points to be hours, days, weeks, or months. To change the time period shown in the graph, click on the date range in the top right of the page and specify your desired date range.

choose time period between data points


To change which metric is shown on the graph without adding a new metric, the audience overview page provides a few smaller graphs beneath the larger one – clicking on any one of these will change the large graph to that metric.

You can also choose to change the graph to any metric vs. any other metric by using the tool at the top left corner of the graph.

There is also a pie chart comparing the amount of new and returning visitors underneath the graph, as well as the top ten languages displayed at the bottom of the default audience overview page. Clicking on any one of the options to the left of the top ten languages table will give you the top ten of that category instead of language.



Audience Breakdowns


On the left-hand side of the reporting page, there is a sidebar with a list of options underneath Audience. These include things like DemographicsGeo, and Technology. Clicking on any one of these will further break down that category (for example, Demographics has Overview, Age, and Gender, as shown in the picture below).

display audience breakdown


The overview page will give you an overview of the subcategories within the larger category. The default setting of Google Analytics is to use sessions to show this data; clicking on the dropdown beside “Key Metric” at the top of the page allows you to change this metric to a different one.

demographics overview screen


Audience categories and breakdowns

  • Demographics: broken down into age and gender
  • Interests: allows you to see what your audience is interested in
    • Affinity categories: i.e. movie lovers, TV lovers, travel buffs, technophiles, political junkies, etc.
    • In-market segment: who is looking at your site based on desired market/industry (i.e. education, travel, employment, etc.)
    • Other categories: broken down into various interests (i.e. arts & entertainment, travel, news, etc.)
  • Geo: broken down into location and language. Location is superimposed on a world map as well as listed in a table.
  • Behavior:
    • New vs. Returning: compares the number of new visitors and number of returning visitors to your site
    • Frequency & Recency: gives the total sessions and pageviews broken down by number of sessions on the site and days since last session on the site
    • Engagement: gives total sessions and pageviews broken down by session duration and page depth, the number of pages visited in any given session
  • Technology:
    • Browser & OS: broken down based on users’ machines’ characteristics, such as browser or operating system used to access the site. Other options are available as well, such as screen resolution and screen colors.
    • Network: broken down based on the network service provider or hostname
  • Mobile: looks at mobile traffic broken down by type of device used to access the site. You can also see mobile service providers, device branding, operating systems, etc.
  • Custom: This is where you would see any custom variables, if there are custom, user-defined variables available.
  • Benchmarking: The benchmark data for these options is the average number of visits for a site of the same size and industry as your site. Data for these options is shown as a percent relative to the benchmark, and is color-coded based on performance (red is worse, green is better). NOTE: the industry at the top of the page should be the industry that most closely matches the content of your site.
    • Channels: View the data for users based on how they were directed to your site (what channel they used to reach your site).
    • Location: Benchmarked location data.
    • Devices: Benchmarked device data based on category (i.e laptop, desktop, or mobile).

Clicking into any specific dimension category of any table in these reports will allow you to view the traffic for that specific portion of your audience.


Users Flow

The last option under Audience is Users Flow. This page is helpful for determining how users move within the site – which page they started on and where they navigate to after that, as well as where they leave the site. The default setting is for the flowchart to start by country, however this can be changed to a different dimension.

Users Flow screen


A similar Analytics tool to Users Flow is Behavior Flow, which can be found in the Behavior section. The default setting for this flowchart is to start on landing page, though this can be changed. Clicking on any one of the green sections in either flowchart will allow you to highlight that traffic, zoom in on the traffic through that part of the site, or list the top 15 pages included in that group.


Active Users and Cohort Analysis (BETA)

These two options are both still in Beta testing, so Google hasn’t perfected its techniques for producing this data yet.



Active Users (BETA)


Active users is a metric that defines the number of unique users who had at least one session within a set time period. The options for time periods are a day, a week, two weeks, or a month. The Active Users page gives you a graph of this information, but does not provide the data in a tabular format. Hovering over any one of the given data points will show you the date and number of active users for that point.



Cohort Analysis (BETA)


Cohort Analysis screen


This shows an analysis of the data by cohorts, which are subcategories of your audience. Currently, Google only has one option for the dimension of cohort analysis: acquisition date, or the date on which a user first interacts with your site’s content.

  1. The date range gives the number of dates allowed in the report (i.e. how many cohorts will be created based on how far back you want Analytics to gather data from). This corresponds to the rows of the table and also to the number of cohorts included in the report.
  2. The cohort size gives the length of time between data points for the selected metric and corresponds to the columns of the table.
  3. The metric itself is simply whatever metric you would like measured for each cohort.


Other Options

There are some other main sidebar options available for Google Analytics:

other main sidebar options


  1. Real-Time allows you to see the number of users currently on your site and to break down this data by location, referrals, active pages, as well as other dimensions.
  2. Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions all contain data similar to Audience depending on each category’s analysis focus. Acquisition focuses on how users found the site, Behavior on what users do on the site, and Conversions on getting users to complete a specified end goal (Conversions is mostly used for e-commerce). More information on these categories for analysis can be found in the Data Analysis section below.
  3. The other sidebar item that is noteworthy is Shortcuts. Here you can find any custom reports that have been saved as a shortcut. Information on how to create shortcuts is presented in the Custom Reports section below.

Custom Reports

Types of Reports

At the top of the Customization tab, you will be asked to identify which type of report you would like to run and are given three options: Explorer, Flat Table, or Map Overlay.

  • Explorer: Most similar to Google’s default display settings. Allows the user to create groups of metrics and to list dimensions in a hierarchy.
  • Flat Table: A fairly simple tabular format. Dimensions and metrics are all constrained to the same level.
  • Map Overlay: Overlays metrics on a map. You can choose to use a world, continent, subcontinent, or country map. This format allows the user to create groups of metrics, but the only dimensions allowed are Continent, Subcontinent, Country, or City.

More detail on these report types and examples of each are given in the Examples section.


How to Create a Custom Analytics Report

First, navigate to the Customization tab at the top of the page and click on “New Custom Report.” You will see something like this:

New Custom Report screen


You will need to name your report something descriptive and choose which type of report it should be. From there, you have a few options:

  1. Add report tab: Use this to add another report tab if desired (for instance, if you want one to present the data in tabular format and one to present it over a map of the US)
  2. Metrics/Metric Groups: Use this to specify which metrics you would like included in your report. The Explorer and Map Overlay report types allow for metrics to be grouped, as shown in the example above. A Flat Table report does not allow for metric groups and will simply include them all on the same level. Read more about the different metrics in the Data Analysis section below.
  3. Dimensions/Dimension Drilldowns: Similar to metrics/metric groups. Use this to specify which dimensions you would like included in your report. Explorer reports allow for a hierarchy to be established, as shown in the example. A Flat Table report will simply list the dimensions on the same level, and a Map Overlay report only allows you to choose between 4 dimensions: Continent, Subcontinent, Country, and City. Read more about the different dimensions in the Data Analysis section below.
  4. Views and Filters: These two are not shown on the screen because you will likely not need to use them. “Views” is only useful if you have access to more than one site and “Filters” can be used to filter out unwanted content, usually by URL. Read more about these two options in the Helpful Questions below.

Finally, save your report. The results of your report should now be displayed on the screen, and the report will also be included in the table of custom reports under the Customization tab.


How to Read a Custom Analytics Report

how to read a custom analytics report


The Explorer and Flat Table reports are fairly similar, the main difference being the graph at the top of the Explorer reports. The example above, an Explorer report, shows you how the fields of the custom report align with what we set up:

  1. Report tab: Here is where any other report tabs would appear, had we added any in.
  2. Metric groups: This area allows you to toggle between the two groups of metrics we created.
  3. Dimensions: Here is where our dimensions are displayed. The initial dimension will be the “primary dimension,” or the first level of the hierarchy if dimension drilldowns are allowed for that report. Clicking on any specific dimension category (i.e. clicking on the link in the table above) will allow you to explore the traffic of that portion of your audience using the 2nd dimension; clicking on one of those will allow you to explore the traffic of that portion of your audience using the 3rd dimension, etc.
  4. Metrics: Here is where our metrics are displayed, for whichever group is selected at the top. Selecting a different metric group will change the metrics displayed in the table.

Other things of note: 

  • The time range of the custom reports are changed the same way as the time range of Analytics’ default reports. See the Audience Overview for more information.
  • Unlike in the default reporting format, you can change betwen a line graph and a pie chart in custom reports – to do so, select the corresponding icon in the top right corner of the graph.
  • To edit your custom report, simply select “Edit” at the top left of the report, right underneath the title.
  • If you have access to multiple sites, the report will include the site on which it was run underneath the title. More information on this can be found in the Helpful Questions section below.
  • Google often uses a sample of the data in order to process results faster. If this is the case, your report will include information on the sample size used. More information on this can be found in the Helpful Questions section below.

Search options:

  • There is a search bar in the table that allows you to perform simple searches of the data, for terms such as “research.”
  • The advanced search option allows you to add temporary filters. These filters are very similar to the filters you can embed in custom reports but have more options for setting criteria (exactly matching, contains, begins with, ends with, matching regexp). For more information on how to filter data, see the Helpful Questions section below.

Data Analysis


Dimensions are ways of splitting up the data into different categories to be analyzed. Some, like Landing Page break down your audience by the pages of your site, while others, like Operating System, break down your audience by some characteristic on the users’ end. Some common dimensions and their descriptions are listed here:

  • Age - Age of users given in ranges of about 10 years each.
  • Gender  - Male or female.
  • Landing Page - The first page a visitor views during a session; also known as the entrance page.
  • Exit Page - The last page a visitor views during a session.
  • Search Term - Term that was entered into the search box that led to site traffic.
  • Operating System - The operating systems (i.e. Mac, Windows, OS, etc) of your site’s visitors. 
  • Referral Path - The URLs that referred traffic to your site. A “/” with or without the rest of a URL behind it indicates that those visitors came to your site directly.
  • Source - Source from which a user accessed your site or page. Examples are Google or Bing. “(direct)” indicates that those visitors came directly to your site via URL.
  • Language - Language in which a user viewed a page or site.
  • Page Depth - Number of pages viewed by your site visitors.



Metrics are units of measurement reported in your analytics reports. Most are reported as either numbers or percentages of people. Some common metrics and their descriptions are listed here:

  • Unique Pageviews - The number of unique pageviews generated by visitors during a session. Excludes page reloads and visitors returning to this page during the same visit.
  • Pageviews - The total number of times a page is viewed, including page reloads and revisits.
  • Visits - The number of times visitors came to your page. This metric includes multiple visits from an individual visitor.
  • Avg. Time on Page - The average time visitors spent on this page.
  • Sessions - A session is a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame. By default, a session lasts until there’s 30 minutes of inactivity, but you can adjust this length so a session lasts a few seconds or several hours. Learn more about Google’s definition of a session here.
  • Entrances – The number of page visits that serve as a user’s first access (entry) to your entire site.  For example, if a user searches “intramural sports georgetown” and arrives at the intramurals page, this pageview is marked as a visitor’s entrance to the Yates site.
  • Bounce Rate - A bounce is when a user visits an initial page then leaves your site without visiting any other pages on your site. Bounce rate = Bounce visits / All visits.
  • Pages/Visit - The average number of pages viewed per visit to your site.
  • % Exit - Percent of visitors that viewed this page then left your site (this is the last page visited).
  • % New Visits - Percent of visits from first time visitors.
  • % New Sessions - Percent of sessions from first time visitors.
  • Avg. Visit Duration - The average session time for a site visit.
  • Organic Searches  - Organic traffic is traffic from visitors who come to your site from unpaid organic or natural search engine results. Organic Searches refers to the number of searches that led to organic site traffic.


Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions

These 3 categories correspond to different ways of looking at the data presented by Analytics. All are included by default in the left-hand sidebar of Analytics and all focus on one specific aspect of the data.

  • Acquisition focuses on how users were brought to the site – what were the pages they first landed on, what URLs directed them to the site, what terms they searched for if brought from a search engine, etc. It also looks at Google’s AdWords if available and search engine optimization.
  • Behavior focuses on how users behave – what they look at and do on the site - once they are already on the site. This includes things like the time spent on the site or on specific pages and how they moved through the site. Behavior Flow is a good way of visualizing how users move through your site, like Users Flow under Audience.
  • Conversions focuses on what gets users to complete a pre-specified task. This is used most often for commercial sites (i.e. for determining what it is that pushes users to make a purchase).


What do each of the 3 report types look like?


sample analytics reports


These reports look like what Analytics presents as its default reports, with a graph and a table below. You can toggle between metric groups in the top left corner (under the “Report Tabs”) and view categories of the primary dimension broken down by the second dimension in the report drilldown by clicking on them in the table.


Flat Table

Flat Table report


Flat Table reports are the most concise way to view the data, though they lack certain capabilities found in Explorer reports. The dimensions are included in the same table (here you can see each page split into two subcategories, one for each gender). There are no metric groups to toggle between, no ability to add secondary dimensions or to click into a specific category, and no graphs given in these reports.


Map Overlay

Map Overlay report


As the name suggests, the Map Overlay reports provide you with a visualization of metrics by location. The example above is a world map, but there are also options for continent, subcontinent, and country maps. The data is also presented in tabular form underneath the map, and clicking on one of the categories takes you to a new map of that region or country specifically. You can toggle between metric groups in the top left corner of the map, add secondary dimensions to the table, and look at other dimensions as primary dimensions similar to Explorer reports.



How do I find the top 10 most visited pages on my site?


You have a number of options when it comes to finding the top 10 most visited pages on my site. The best one for you will depend on what exactly you want to know – whether you simply want to quickly get a sense of your site’s most important pages, for instance, and using which metrics.

To view the top 10 most visited pages by pageviews, Analytics has default reports already available for you. The

Behavior Overview gives you a quick overview of the top 10 pages, while the Site Content report on all pages gives you much more detailed data.


To view the top 10 most visited pages by session, you will need to create your own report.

Below are your 3 options and instructions to help you find the data.

NOTE: There are two dimensions you can use to view this data – Page (or URL) and Page Title. While URLs are unique to each page, a page title is not necessarily unique, and traffic across a number of pages may be displayed if you click on a page title in the top 10 list.


Using Analytics’ Behavior Overview:

  1. Go to Behavior > Overview in the left-hand sidebar.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. You should see a table that has a list of the top 10 pages (URLs) on your site by pageviews. Below is an example of what it looks like.
  3. You can access a list of the top 10 pages by pageviews but listed by page title by clicking on where it says “Page Title” to the left of the table, under “Site Content”.
  4. You can see traffic for one page specifically by clicking on that page’s URL or page title, depending on how you’re viewing the data, in the top 10 list. From there, you can further split up the traffic by specifying a secondary dimension (for instance, by gender), which may be done via the dropdown at the top left of the table. Further instruction on adding a secondary dimension may be found in the Helpful Questions section.
  5. Clicking on “View full report” at the bottom right of the table will take you to the full Site Content report (see below for description).

sample report of top 10 visited site pages by URL


Using Analytics’ Site Content:

  1. Go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
  2. This should pull up a full report on your site’s pages, initially listed in order of decreasing pageviews. Below is an example of what it looks like.
  3. While this report by default has only 10 rows in it, allowing you to easily see the top 10 pages of your site, it actually includes all pages of your site. To view more data, either increase the number of rows on one page of the table, navigate to the other pages, or search the table using the search bar.
  4. This report automatically has 2 primary dimensions available – Page and Page Title. You can toggle between the two at the very top left of the table (above the secondary dimension dropdown). The default is Page.
  5. Since it is a default table, you can also add a secondary dimension to further split up the data. Further instruction on adding a secondary dimension may be found in the Helpful Questions section.

sample report of all site pages


Using a Custom Report:

  1. Create a new report (either an Explorer or Flat Table report).
  2. Include the metric Sessions as your first metric. In the example below, I’ve also added in % New Sessions and New Users.
  3. Use the dimension Page to have the pages listed as URLs; use the dimension Page Title to have the pages listed with their titles. If you want to set up one report to do both, add another report tab for Page Title. See the example below:
  4. Scroll to the bottom and click “Save” to run the report.

generating a custom report


How do I find the traffic for only one page?

To find the traffic for a specific page, you can run your own report and use filters.

  1. Create a custom report (either an Explorer or a Flat Table report).
  2. Fill out the report form with the title, dimensions, and metrics you would like to view for that page.
  3. Click on “add filter.” You will be prompted to enter a dimension.
  4. Type in Page, and find and select the dimension Page (there will be multiple that come up when you search).
  5. Make sure the filter is set on “Include” and “Exact.” Analytics should default to this.
  6. Type in the URL of the page you would like to see the traffic for, EXCLUDING the protocol (i.e. http:// or https://) at the beginning but INCLUDING the trailing slash. For example, if you want to view the traffic for, you would type in “” – Analytics should prompt you with available pages when you start to type in the text box; clicking on the appropriate page will ensure it is input correctly. An example filter is given below.
  7. Scroll to the bottom and click save to run the report.

finding traffic for a single site page


More information on filters can be found in the Helpful Questions section below.


Who are my top referrers?

Referrers are URLs that direct traffic to your site. To determine what your top referrers are, you can look at Analytics’ default report or run a custom report. The default report uses Source as the primary dimension and thus isn’t very different from Analytics’ Source/Medium report (discussed in the next question), while a custom report can look directly at the Full Referrer, or the full URL that referred traffic to your site.


Using Analytics’ default report:

  1. Navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic and click on Referrals. This will take you to Analytics’ default report on your site’s referrals.
  2. This report gives you two primary dimensions – Source and Landing Page. Because of this, it is not that much better than the Source/Medium report Analytics also provides you with (see the question below for more detail).


Using a custom report:

  1. Create a new report using the Flat Table layout (you can also use Explorer layout, but this is not necessary and Flat Table is simpler).
  2. For dimensions, add in Full Referrer. Feel free to add other dimensions as well if you want the traffic from each referrer further broken down.
  3. Add in the metrics you would like to view. Use Sessions” or Pageviews for overall numbers of the traffic coming from each referrer, but feel free to add other metrics in as well.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom and click “Save” to run your report. The default Analytics setting is to display 10 results per page in a table, sorted by the first metric. If you want to change how the table is sorted, click on the metric name in the header.


How are people getting to my site?

There are two ways to measure how people are getting to your site: Full Referrers and Sources. Full Referrers are URLs that referred traffic to your site, while Sources are not specifically URLs. Both are useful, depending on what you want to know. The main difference between Full Referrer and Source is that Full Referrer is the exact URL that directed traffic to your site, while Source is either the parent site or the name of the company. For instance, “google” and ”” are both Sources; their corresponding Full Referrers are “google” and “” As you may have noticed, search engines appear the same in both dimensions.


To set up a report to view the top referrers for your site, see the above question.

To use Analytics’ default report on sources:

  1. Navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic in the left-hand sidebar and click on Source/Medium. This will take you to Analytics’ default report on the sources of your site’s traffic.
  2. You have a few primary dimensions to choose from:
    • Source/Medium describes the exact source and the medium of that source from which your site is receiving traffic. For example, the category “Google/organic” comprises of traffic that came from Google and was organic (i.e. unpaid)
    • Source is the source portion of Source/Medium.
    • Medium is the medium portion – organic indicates that the traffic was not paid.
    • Keyword gives you information about any keywords used to find your site’s content.
  3. This report is also set up to give you an overview of the ABC framework of data analysis (see the Data Analysis section for more information). Because of this, the first group of metrics in the table has the overall header “Acquisition,” the second “Behavior,” and the third “Conversions.”


To set up your own report to view your site’s top sources:

  1. Create a new report using the Flat Table layout (you can also use Explorer layout, but this is not necessary and Flat Table is simpler).
  2. For dimensions, add in Source. Feel free to add other dimensions as well if you want the traffic from each referrer further broken down.
  3. Add in the metrics you would like to view. Use Sessions or Pageviews for overall numbers of the traffic coming from each referrer, but feel free to add other metrics in as well.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom and click “Save” to run your report. The default Analytics setting is to display 10 results per page in a table, sorted by the first metric. If you want to change how the table is sorted, click on the metric name in the header.


How are people getting to my home page?

  1. Set up a report in the exact same way you would to determine how people are getting to your site in general (see the example above for step-by-step instruction of how to do this).
  2. Add a filter. The dimension for this filter should be Page.
  3. Make sure the filter has ”Include” and “Exact” selected.
  4. In the text box, type in the home page URL of your site EXCLUDING the protocol (i.e. http:// or https://) but INCLUDING the trailing slash. For more help with filters, see the third example in this section.
  5. Scroll down to the bottom and click “Save.” This will run your report and you should be able to see the traffic for your home page.
  6. Alternatively, you could navigate to one of Analytics’ default reports that includes Source as a dimension (see the above question for more detail) and add a filter to that report – the same way as you would in a custom report – using the “advanced” button next to the search bar. You can also search for a specific page. However, you cannot do this if you would like information about Full Referrers since Analytics doesn’t have any default reports with Full Referrers

generating report for how users are getting to your home page


How long are people staying on my site?

To run a report to determine how long people are staying on your site on average:

  1. Create a new report using the Flat Table layout (you can also use Explorer layout, but this is not necessary and Flat Table is simpler).
  2. Add whatever dimension you would like to test (such as Age or Location).
  3. Add in Average Session Duration as a metric. You can add other metrics here as well.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom and click “Save” to run your report.

The following example shows how to create a report of average session duration by city in the US. (The filter used in the example causes the report to only include data for traffic in the United States.)

generating report of how long users are staying on your site


What are people doing on my site?

This question can have a variety of answers. You can look at the Users Flow or Behavior Flow to determine how users are moving through your site; you can run a report with Page Depth as the primary dimension to determine how many pages users visit before exiting your site; or you can run a report with Average Session Duration as a metric to determine how long users are on your site on average. For the first example, see the question below; for the last example, see the above question.

For the second example, Page Depth, you will need to set up a custom report:

  1. Create a new report using the Flat Table layout (you can also use Explorer layout, but this is not necessary and Flat Table is simpler).
  2. For dimensions, add in Page Depth. Feel free to add other dimensions as well if you want the traffic from each referrer further broken down.
  3. Add in Sessions as a metric. You can use others here as well.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom and click “Save” to run your report.


What pages were people on when they left my site?

Analytics has a simple, default way of looking at exit pages. Navigate to Behavior > Site Content and click on Exit Pages. This default report will show you the list of top exit pages for your site, ranked by total exits from that page. This report also provides Pageviews and % Exit as metrics.

To create a report with different metrics:

  1. At the top right of the Exit Pages report, click on “Customize.” This will take you to a custom report that is already set up like the current default report.
  2. Edit the metrics as you would like.
  3. Click “Save” at the bottom of the page to run your custom report.


Where did the people that stayed on my site go next on my site?

To see how users move through your site, use one of the flowcharts: Users Flow under Audience or Behavior Flow under Behavior. To access them, simply click on Users Flow or Behavior Flow under the corresponding section in the left-hand sidebar. More detail on these flowcharts can be found in the General Information section above.

Helpful Questions

How do I limit the data to specific sections of my audience?

You have two options when trying to access data on a specific portion of your audience – segments and filters. Segments allow you to filter through your audience based on dimensions like Organic Searches while filters are more useful for including or excluding pages with specific URLs. Segments can be added or removed in Analytics’ default reports as well as in custom reports, while you can only set up filters for custom reports. Usage of these tools is explained below.



Near the top of all of these pages, there is a tab labeled “All Sessions” next to another tab that says “Add Segment:”

option to add an audience segment


A segment is one way of filtering the content of the site – adding a segment will allow you to look at two different portions of your audience simultaneously and will allow you to easily toggle between the two segments. Adding a segment will give you the option of turning off any other available segments.

sample report with added segment



Filters can be added to custom reports, as well as to pre-existing tables. They allow you to specify which portion of the audience should be included or excluded based on dimensions. To add filters to pre-existing tables, click on “advanced” beside the search bar in the top right corner of the table. To add filters to custom reports, do so from the editing window. Some examples are below:

  • Exclude users aged 18-30
  • Include only site pages with /research/ in their URLs

The example below shows you how to set up filters

setting up filters


  1. Choose whether or not you want your filter to include or exclude something.
  2. Choose the dimension based on which you would like to filter your audience.
  3. Choose whether or not the dimension should be set to equal something exactly or not (Regex indicates that you will put in a regular expression in the text box. See Google’s documentation on how to write regular expressions or contact the web services team for help.)
  4. Add in the criteria based on the dimension.

The above example sets up a filter that will exclude all users who are between 18 and 24 years old; another example can be seen in the Examples section above. You can also add in more filters underneath the first one.


How do I save a report for easy future access?

There are two options for doing this – you can save a report as a shortcut (accessible via Shortcuts in the left-hand sidebar of Analytics) or you can set up automated emailing of reports after a specified period of time (i.e. weekly reports).



To set up a shortcut for your report, access the report in Analytics and simply click on ”Shortcut” underneath the report title. Analytics will prompt you to enter a name for the shortcut – do so and then click “Ok” for your shortcut to be created.

Now, if you click on Shortcuts in the left-hand sidebar, you will see your report listed underneath.


Automated emailing of reports

To set up automated emailing of reports to yourself or others, access the report in Analytics and click on “Email” underneath the report title. Analytics will prompt you to enter the email you would like the report sent to, the subject line, the type of attachment you would like the report emailed as, the frequency of emailed reports (i.e. once, weekly, daily, etc.), and the day of the week or month on which you’d like your report emailed. It will also let you type in a message if you so desire. After you’ve completed the email form, hit “Send” at the bottom to email or schedule your report. NOTE: The report will appear as if emailed by the account you use to access Analytics.


How do I share a report with others?

You can email a report to someone else by selecting “Email” underneath the report title, filling out the email form (select “Once” for the frequency of the report) and sending it.

Alternatively, you can share a report template with others via a template link – this does not share the actual data of the report but the setup of the report. This can be found on the Custom > Overview page under Customization.

If the recipient has the same access as you, they should be able to run a template report on the same site and obtain the same data set as you, but emailing the report is a much better option.


Can I export a report’s data to Excel or to a PDF?

Yes. Select “Export” underneath the report title and then select the desired file type – for Excel, select “Excel (XLSX)” or “TSV for Excel” if the first option doesn’t work. You can also export the data into a Google sheet or a PDF file.


How do I toggle between multiple sites on Analytics?

If you have access to multiple sites, this will appear in a few places. On the Home page, Analytics will list the sites you have access to in folder form – some sites are grouped together in folders, others are not. You can also choose to list the sites without any hierarchy to them. Clicking into a site will take you to that site’s Audience > Overview page under Reporting.

The other place where you can toggle between sites is in the upper right-hand corner of Analytics. There is a dropdown menu of the sites for which you have access and from which you can select another site. When the menu is closed, it will have your email address at the top with the folder and site name of the site on which you’re currently working underneath your email.


How do I create reports across multiple sites?

To do this, you will need a new view that pools the data across these sites – please contact web services if you would like this set up.


How does having access to multiple sites affect custom reports?

If you have access to multiple sites, you can create custom reports the same way as you would if you only had access to one site. The one thing to check is what is called the “view,” which is essentially the site name (except for some views that pool site data). At the bottom of the “Create a Report” page, you will be able to choose which view to use for the report – make sure the correct view is selected.

When you run the report, the view should appear underneath the report title.


Why is there a message that reads, “This report is based on {x} amount of sessions?”

Quite frequently when using Analytics, you’ll get a message that says something like ”This report is based on {x} amount of sessions ({y}% of total sessions).” Messages like this one appear because of Google’s sampling methods. Instead of running every report based on all of the data available, Analytics will sometimes only use a sample of the data and extrapolate from there. These reports are equally as valuable and valid as reports based on the entire data set – the sampled values are usually very close to the actual values.


How can I split data up by more than one category at a time?

If you are looking at one of Analytics’ default reports:

Add a secondary dimension. Having two dimensions means the traffic you’re looking at will be separated out first by the primary dimension, and then by the secondary dimension. For example, if your primary dimension is Page and your secondary dimension is Gender, the data would look something like this:

adding a secondary dimension


For each category of the primary dimension (in this example, for each page), Analytics will split up the traffic into subcategories, which would be the categories of the secondary dimension (in this example, for each gender).


If you are creating your own custom report:

Use the Flat Table layout. This layout will let you split the data over multiple dimensions at the same time.

You can also use an Explorer layout (if you want to still have dimension drilldowns) and add a secondary dimension after running the report like you would for an Analytics default report.


How can I compare two time periods?

For any report, the dropdown in the top right corner allows you not only to choose the time period, but also to compare two different time periods by checking the box that says “Compare to” next to it and choosing the time period.

The setup looks like this:

comparing two time periods


And the resulting report will have two data sets – one for each time period – as well as a percent change between the two periods:

sample report of two time periods


How can I get help setting up filters, segments or reports?

The UIS web services team is glad to help you – please do not hesitate to email with any questions you may have.

Training Resources