See How Understanding Google Acquisition Reports Grows Your Business
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See How Understanding Google Acquisition Reports Grows Your Business
Kate Gingold
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See How Understanding Google Acquisition Reports Grows Your Business

In our walk-through of the new GA4 reports, the most useful reports were saved for last. Today’s focus, the Acquisition report, is important to all kinds of businesses and deserves a closer look.

The Acquisition report is found under the Life Cycle dropdown menu. When you open that dropdown menu, you will find several individual Acquisition reports, including User Acquisition and Traffic Acquisition, with pre-made Summary Cards. Your data in each report may be similar, so explaining the differences between them will help you understand what’s going on in the different reports.

Simply, the two reports collect data from different times of a User’s journey. If the journey goes from awareness to purchase, then knowing information from specific points along the path helps you fine-tune how you map that journey. This would include updating any marketing campaigns you run outside of your website as well as improving the content within your website.

The User Acquisition report has a default to “First user primary channel group.” That means these are new visitors going to your website for the first time. A line graph on the left shows the number of new Users on each day within the last 28 days, as well as what traffic source brought them to your website. The bar graph on the right shows you the traffic sources and the number of new Users that used each. Below, the traffic sources are broken down by New Users, Engaged Sessions, and Average Engagement Time, among others.

The Traffic Acquisition report default is “Session primary channel group,” which means this was the most recent visit these Users made to your website, whether it was their first or fiftieth.

You will see another line graph showing the number of Users and the traffic source that brought them to your website as well as another bar graph ranking which traffic source brought the most Users. And, like the User Acquisition report, there is further breakdown in the table below the graphs.

So how does this information business help your business?

All businesses need a steady stream of new customers and they use marketing to get people aware of their brand. By looking at the User Acquisition report, you can see where your First Users are coming from, including Paid Search, Referral, Organic Social, and so on. If you maintain an active social media presence, you can track how well people respond to your efforts. If you are running a paid advertising campaign, you can track any activity it promotes.

You can also see at a glance which traffic sources are not very successful. That can help you decide whether certain traffic sources are just not profitable for your brand or whether you need to really up your game on those traffic sources.

All businesses also need to re-engage visitors throughout their customer journey. The Point of Purchase is usually some distance from Awareness and it is important to keep visitors engaged until they are ready to make that purchase decision. The Traffic Acquisition report shows you where returning Users come from, not just new Users. Check also which traffic sources are more likely to bring them back and get them engaged on your website.

If your data on the User Acquisition report and the Traffic Acquisition report is practically the same, that tells you something, too. If your marketing efforts are successfully bringing new Users to your website, but they are not returning, it might be time to rethink the customer journey map.

A marketing team might find it fascinating to explore the data in each report, but if your team is limited, you can get a quick summary in the Acquisition Overview report. It’s the first one listed under the Acquisition dropdown menu and it includes both the User and Traffic data on individual cards, along with some other useful information.

That’s a lot to digest, but we aren’t quite done yet. Next time, we’ll take a look at the Engagement report, but if you want to know more about using GA4 for your business before then, just give us a call to find out how we can help.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

Other posts by Kate Gingold
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Full biography

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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