Audience | Tells You Who Is Reading Your Blog Posts
The Audience section of the Google Analytics dashboard provides information about the people visiting your blog, such as location and language, technical data such as device type, and some basic behavioral data.
Where are my readers coming from?
Understanding where your readers live can be very powerful, especially if you’re targeting people within a specific geographical area.
To find out where in the world your readers are coming from, you can navigate to Audience > Geo > Location
Keep in mind that you’ll almost always see traffic from other countries and cities outside of your geographical location which is normal. Just pay attention to where the bulk of your audience is coming from and also any other areas that are responsible for a significant number of your visitors.
TIP: all of the Analytics reports described in this post can be filtered by Date Range located at the top right of the Dashboard. Unless you are deliberately looking to analyze data for a specific period, you should aim to include the last 30 days of data.
What Devices Are People Accessing My Blog From?
How does your blog perform on mobile devices? That’s extremely important to know now because Google’s most recent core update measures user experience. A component of that user experience is how well your site performs on mobile platforms.
To find how your blog’s traffic is split across desktop, mobile, and tablet users, navigate to Audience > Mobile > Overview
If you click into each of the Devices sections you’ll be able to see the top devices by brand/model that readers are using. Why is this useful?
If a large amount of your audience is reading your blog on iPad tablets, it would be wise to check what your blog looks like on that specific platform.
If a significant number of your readers are accessing your blog from their phones, you’ll want to make sure your blog visuals scale correctly on a small screen. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to simulate your site’s performance on mobile and find out.
You can easily find clues that your blog is not mobile-friendly by using the Device report. Look at the following metrics:
- Bounce rate: The percentage of single-page visits (visits where the person arrived at your blog and left again without further interaction)
- Average session duration: How long a reader stays on your site before leaving
- Pages per session: The average number of pages viewed during a session
These metrics should remain pretty consistent across device types. If you’re getting a significantly higher bounce rate for one particular device type, or a lower session duration or pages per session, you’ll want to do some investigation to find out why.
How many readers are returning to my blog?
Bloggers talk a lot about creating content that fosters loyalty and repeat visitors.
The Audience section of the Google Analytics dashboard distinguishes two types of visitors; new visitors and returning visitors.
There is a fine line between needing to consistently attract new readers to expand your audience and making sure your existing audience continues to return for more.
The easiest way is to navigate to Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning, where you’ll see a chart showing New Visitor versus Returning Visitor.
If your blog is new, you’ll most likely see a high percentage of new visitors. Over time as your audience grows you’ll see those numbers balance out.
How long are readers sticking around on my blog?
Google Analytics has a metric (Session Duration) that you can directly correlate to how engaging your content is to your readers by seeing how long they are sticking around.
This is simply a measure of how much time readers are spending on your content before bouncing away. The less time people are spending on your blog, the less engaged they are.
You can get a high-level view of session duration by navigating to Audience > Behavior > Engagement
If you don’t have on average 10% of your sessions lasting 60 seconds or more, you may have an issue with your content not being engaging to the readers. This will vary from niche to niche, but 10% is a good baseline to start with until you get a solid understanding of your audience.