User Explorer: Google Analytics’ New Tool to View Individual Website InteractionsKiri Tamte-Horan
Google has begun releasing a new feature (currently in Beta) which allows website owners the ability to view individual, anonymized, interactions up to the minute. User Explorer, as it’s being called, began showing up in Google Analytics dashboards a few weeks ago and those who have had a chance to really dig into it have given the new tool very positive remarks. So what exactly does it allow us GA users to do? Well here is how Google described the new feature:
User Explorer Reporting: A new set of reporting in Google Analytics that allows customers to anonymously analyze individual interactions to their website. User Explorer utilizes your existing anonymous Google Analytics data to deliver incremental insights [and] helps marketers obtain valuable insights need to improve and optimize their site. The feature is now available in the Audience sections. Anonymous Client ID and User ID will be surfaced in this report as a part of the release.
In layman’s terms, it allows website owners to see exactly what a visitor did on their site. This includes reading articles, clicking links, and purchasing items all while providing a time stamp of when each action occurred and for how long. Now you may be thinking that giving website owner’s information this detailed would be an invasion of the visitor’s privacy, but keep in mind, all of this data is hidden behind an anonymous Client ID which Google gives each visitor. Now let’s take a deeper look at how User Explorer works.
Currently, the User Explorer feature is located under the Audience tab of the Google Analytics dashboard. Most users will have access to the feature, but not everyone does. Keep in mind that it is still in the Beta phase meaning that development is ongoing and changes can/will be made in the future. If you do have access, your next screen should look a little something like this (below).
Here you can get an overall view of each visitor’s visit showing familiar stats such as session duration, bounce rate, and even revenue from each client (if you have an ecommerce portion on your site/app). If you would like to layer in certain segment criteria, you can do that from here as well. From there you can click on each Client ID and view their actions. Google give you even more control by allowing you to filter by Pageview, Goal, Ecommerce, and Event (very handy in identifying trends).
After looking at a few visitors and what kind of actions they are taking, it becomes easy to spot popular content, pages, and products. Google has done a nice job with User Explorer by giving website owners the info and detail they crave at no expense to the client. Here are a few key benefits that owners (and marketers alike) can take advantage of:
- Identify where your die-hard customers are going, what they are buying, and use that data to inform marketing and pricing strategy
- Identify weak points in the customer transaction process
- Identify trends across entire site
Remember, like any single part of Google Analytics, User Explorer should be used in conjunction with other analytics tools to help create a more complete picture before making any decisions. For more info on the basics of Google Analytics, check out this awesome article by Leslye Schumacher on Understanding the insights in the Audience Overview Report.