Google Analytics

Strategic Communications is currently using Google Analytics to provide Columbia Business School site administrators with web analytics — reports on how visitors use the School’s websites.

Google Analytics reports on the number of visitors to your site, where they came from, what they visited most, and how much time they spent on each page. This information will help you better understand your site’s users so that you can create content and navigation with their experience in mind.

You should begin thinking about site analytics early in the process of launching a new site, undertaking a marketing effort, or setting long-term strategic goals.

Analyzing Reports

The Dashboard

The default view for Google Analytics is the dashboard, which provides a top-level overview of traffic statistics for your site. To drill down on any set of data from the dashboard, simply click the “view this report” link. You can also access all reports by using the navigation menu on the upper left portion of the page.

In the dashboard view, you will see beginning and end dates on the upper right hand section of the page.

  • This chart will only give you data from the time your site’s analytics profile was created.
  • To adjust the dates, click on the arrow next to dates on the upper right corner. Click on specific days in the calendar or manually type in new dates. Note: The default time span is one month.
  • To compare traffic over two different periods of time, select the first date range then use the comparison menu to select a custom date range or the same time the year previous.


This section shows how many people visited your site and how extensively they interacted with your content. Here you can analyze the different factors that make up visit quality and engagement (i.e., average pageviews, time on site, and bounce rate).


This section provides an overview of the different kinds of sources that send traffic to your site. See the glossary below to differentiate between referred, direct, and search engine traffic. This section will provide breakdowns on where your site’s visitors are coming from and what keywords they have entered in search engines to arrive at the site.


This report provides an overview of pageview volume and lists the pages that were most responsible for driving pageviews. Click “view full report” under “top content” to access a table listing all of the pages that were viewed on your site. Here you may also apply filtering (using the field below the “top content” list) to include or exclude pages from your analysis.

Back to Top

E-mailing and Downloading Reports

For any report, you have the option of scheduling e-mail reports to be sent daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. These reports may be sent to multiple e-mail addresses in a variety of formats (PDF, Excel, etc.). Use the “e-mail” button at the top of each report page to schedule reports; use the “e-mail” button in the left navigation to manage already scheduled e-mails.

Using the “export” button at the top of each report page, you may also download reports as PDFs or as raw data in Excel. Excel reports are useful in conducting additional custom analysis.

Best Practice: Schedule regular e-mail reports to monitor and identify site traffic trends.

Back to Top

Glossary of Commonly Used Terms

Average Pageviews: Number of pageviews per visit; one way of measuring visit quality. A high average pageviews number suggests that visitors interact extensively with the site.

Bounce Rate: The percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left the site from the entrance (landing) page. This metric is often used to measure visit quality—a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages are not relevant to your visitors.

Content Drilldown: Allows you to drill into the site’s directory structure.

Content by Title: Commonly viewed groups of pages on your site (grouped by title); this report provides the same information that is in the “Top Content” report, but aggregated by title tag value.

Direct Traffic: Direct traffic can include visitors recruited through offline campaigns (i.e., print, television) as well as users who clicked a bookmarked link or typed your site URL directly into their browser.

Entrance Path: Indicates where people went when they first landed on your page, from a search engine or some other Web site linking to your page.

Exit Page: The last page viewed on a visitor’s path through a site.

Keyword: Terms entered into the search field of a web search engine.

Landing Page: The first page that a user views during a session. This is also known as the “entrance page.”

Navigation Summary: Displays the most common pages that were viewed before your page, followed by information about which pages where most commonly viewed after your page.

New and Returning Visitor: Google Analytics records a visitor as “new” when any page on your site has been accessed for the first time by a web browser. Google Analytics records a visitor as “returning” when a cookie for your domain exists on the web browser accessing your site.

Pageviews: Total number of pages viewed on the site; a general measure of how much the site is used.

Profile: A profile is a set of rules that dictate the data to be used for your Google Analytics reports. Profile information includes, but is not limited to, the domain or subdomain to be tracked, whether data should be collected for certain pages or directories only, user access levels, and funnel and goal configurations.

Referred Traffic: Visitors referred from other sites.

Search Traffic: Overall trends from search engines.

Time on Site: This number can be misleading, as visitors often leave browser windows open when they are not actually viewing or using a site.

Top Content: All of the pages that were viewed on your site.

Unique Visitors: The number of unduplicated (counted only once) visitors to the website over the course of the specified time period.

Visits: The number of individual sessions initiated by all the visitors to the site.

Back to Top

Additional Resources

To learn more about gaining access to your site’s analytics account or to request regularly scheduled e-mail reports, please contact Strategic Communications at 212-854-8567 or [email protected].

Back to Top