Answering “Who Are My Users?” With the Google Analytics Audience Reports

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Knowing about your users is more important than ever…

In this episode of Workshop Wednesday, Mercer will walk you through Google Analytics – Audience Reports to show you how you can answer the question, “Who are my users?”

Now we're just going to dive right in and we're going to show Google Analytics. This is the same thing that you're using, right? So let's look at it.

When you come into the home screen, you'll see the general overview.


The Google Analytics reports that are really designed to answer questions are the “historic reports”. 

All these reports under here. 

Now, the Realtime Report is all about “is this thing working?”. It's really good for testing.

The Acquisition Reports is all about where the users are coming from. 

The Behavior Reports is all about what actions the users are taking.

The Conversions Reports are all about what results users are actually leaving behind – all those actions behind “Goals” and “eCommerce”.

The Google Analytics Audience Reports (Deep Dive)

Audience Reports are designed to answer the following questions:

  • Who are these users?
  • What are their demographic details?
  • What are they interested in?
  • What devices are they using?

So, if you're asking a question around who your user is, what they're using where they live, what languages they speak – like English, French, or whatever. All of it is in here.

So, let's take a look at it as we go through.

NOTE: Some of these, as I go through mine, you may not see in yours. I will try to do my best to let you know where that is. I'm going to start with what I think are the useful ones and some of these I don't think are useful especially because this is a Getting Started workshop so we're going to keep it at the beginner level. Some of these are kind of fun to poke around but I wouldn't get too caught up with them.


This one though, I think is useful. I think it's a really good base level of usefulness and here's how you use this report. 

So the Demographics really just tells you two things about your users in Google Analytics: Age and Gender.

This just splits it up either Age or Gender. The Overview report is really nice because it does both. It's one of the few Overview Reports that I really like in Analytics because it's actually pretty useful. 

Have a question that requires an answer?

So at a glance, what I'm about to see, and this is important when you go to analytics, you always want to go into this platform with a question that you're trying to answer. 

Never go into this platform just poking around to see what you can see. It is a surefire way to just get batted around like a cat that's around a mouse or a piece of string.

You don't want analytics doing that to you and the reason that happens is because if you go in unarmed, meaning you go in without a question, it's just going to start showing you a whole bunch of data. 

None of it’s going to make sense and then you end up leaving more confused than when you came into it. 

What kind of Questions do I have to ask?

So, what I’m doing here is I’m actually demonstrating how to use this tool by saying “okay, what should my Demographics be? What should my Age be? Which of my Gender should be? And here's what I expect it should be. I expect that of the users during the time frame”.

The Time Frame

It's going to be the last seven days. It’s what this will do by default. You can always change the ranges if you want but we're going to keep it with the default ranges. 

So over the last seven days, I'm thinking based on what I know, our Audience is roughly 50/50 men and women. Probably a little more men but not much. Maybe 60/40 men, something like that.

And then my age group is let's say 25 to 45. Somewhere in there is probably my main Demographic. 

So that's what I think my users are. That's who I think I'm targeting. That's who I think I'm writing to and that's who I think I'm teaching to – my people just like you.

Let's find out if I'm right.

So we go to Overview and Analytics says “okay, well here is what I know of your users and everything else.” 

I definitely see that they skew younger than I initially thought.

So, I see here, they’re skewing 25 to 30 for the vast majority of my users. I have some 45’s, this other crowd, the older crowd, but really it's you young ‘uns that are out there so thank you. 

We've got everybody coming in a little bit younger which is cool. I like it. It's good. It's something I can learn and I can also go like “okay, what about the older audience? 

Maybe they're not as likely to be in the freelance business. 

Maybe not likely helping clients at this point going on or maybe, just maybe, they are the owners and operators of the businesses and we're training the teams which tend to be a little younger. 

Which also, again, makes sense if you think about it. So I have that as my age group.

Then I've got my male/female split. In this case, 60% male and 40% female.

That's pretty good for us and I think it bodes well for the industry which is great because I know some industries are a lot more male dominant and don't have a lot of females coming on board.

Measurement Marketing is not one of them. We have lots of females on board. So thank you for showing up and learning this stuff because it's amazing.

So here we go.

This is kind of what our Demographics are. 

This sort of matched what my expectations were. 

And this one kind of threw me a little bit. 

It said “well this one's a little younger, predominantly younger than I thought. Maybe it's because of the teams. Now, what I am NOT going to do here because this is getting started.

But I want to let you know that what you can do is…

You could create a segment. 

I could create a segment and I could say, well, show me certain segments because maybe people who are buying products are older because those are the buyers. 

And people who are taking courses, actually taking the products and not buying them, but are taking them, are younger.

We can build segments for that just to sort of, what we call TBV, Trust But Verify. That my hypothesis would be correct. 

That I would learn and say “okay, my copy, it should be to the older age group because they're the ones paying for it.” 

But maybe, I should change the copy for the team members saying “hey, here's how to get your boss to pay for these programs” or something along those lines.

So, that's just what I can learn about my users with one report. That's all we've done – one report – Demographics Overview.

This is the disclaimer.

I’ve mentioned earlier, if you click on your Demographics Overview Report and Google Analytics says something like “this is not set up”, you have to set this up. 

It is not that hard to do it. Especially now, it will walk you through how to do it. You just have a series of disclosures and stuff to look at. 

You’ve got to make sure that you're agreeing to all the terms and concepts back there. Then once you do that, once you enable it, then the information flows through. 

Analytics does not collect this information on its own.

It has to be told to do it. It has to be able to allow the permissions to do it and then connect the dots. 

The other question I get is…

Where does this data come from?

It really depends upon how you're connecting it in.

There's a couple of ways to do it.

The old school way of doing it is where you allow double click data to come through. 

That was kind of the original way of doing this and all the ad networks that Google had out there, they're sort of measuring users and stuff like that, the demographic information – age and gender. 

Nothing where you can identify any user. You can't do that and it's not about knowing where an individual user is or anything about an individual user.

It's just users in aggregate, but you had that information coming in.

There’s this new one called Google Signals that's just come out recently over the past few years and that's really kind of the new kid on the block.

That's essentially doing the same thing just a different way where it's Google, it's people logged into their accounts, and so Google knows if they're male/female or what age group they are and Google is sharing some of that data with you.

Again, it does not say anything about individuals nor is that even useful. It doesn't matter if you know about what an individual does, what matters is what most your users are doing most of the time.

That's kind of we're trying to find here.

And this is a perfect report for that.

I can see most of my users during this date range, have been this age group and this gender. Again, it's just asking if that makes sense for me.

Segmenting by Traffic Source

Another little favorite trick I like using is segmenting by traffic source in here.

So, is my Facebook traffic the same as my email traffic? Because maybe email’s an older demographic.

So that's the demographic report.

Take some time with that and play around with it because it is deceptive. It's deceptive because it's so simple.

But before you click on the report, think to yourself “what is this report going to look like? What do I think this report is going to look like?” and then look at the report because that will teach you a lot.

The Interests 

Now the next thing is in the Interest Reports.

Again, the same way that Google Analytics gets to Demographics data is the same way it gets its Interests data.

There are two categories I think are the more useful ones – the “Affinity Categories” and “In-Market Segments”. 

Now these, I don't know how much time I would suggest you spend with these. I think these are kind of interesting to know and less useful. 

But it is interesting and could help if you're looking for ideas of audience targeting.

The Affinity Categories

This is a report where Google Analytics will tell us, in this case, what people that are on the site – what those users like basically. 

That's it. That’s what they have an affinity for. It's what they like and I guess like categories would be way too much like Facebook but I digress.

So Affinity Categories, this is going to show us a report of the different things that our users like. 

Now, I'm going to guess at this point what our users like. I'm going to guess its technical stuff that they like. Mostly, they might be technophiles, into technology.

Maybe they are looking for jobs, kind of bouncing around looking for jobs, trying to improve their skills. It could be things like that.

Maybe traveling if they're freelancers, though I would imagine based upon recent world events as of this recording that maybe traveling is not such a big deal anymore.

So, let's find out what are the categories that our users at, users like yourself, are interested in and what are the other things that they like.

Here I come back down. 

I can say the Shoppers/Value Shoppers makes sense” – the shopping for stuff.

Media and Entertainment – I did not realize that. So y'all like Media and Entertainment. So do I. Binge-watching Netflix all the time and Hulu and Amazon Prime and way too much other stuff. 

There's our technophile. So we've got technology in place.

Travel/Business travelers – so traveling around a little bit. 

Media an Entertainment – again for the win. Music lovers, movie lovers, good on both counts there.

Lifestyles and Hobbies/Business Professionals is interesting because that's almost like that individual freelancer, the work on the beach type person.

Maybe it’s kind of what that is saying like it's a lifestyle, a hobby but I’m a business, right? 

And then there's the Lifestyle and Hobbies/Shutterbugs. This is photojournalism. So you have people taking lots of pictures there. Again, explains the travel thing.

Of course you've got Food and Dining. 

So, Green Living Enthusiasts, I didn't realize that would be a thing.

And there's 68 others.

What’s nice about this report is it’s a little different, not as simple as what the Demographic Reports are, but at a pretty quick glance, I can see of the users I have, how many are in these different categories. 

I can see that right away.

I got about 68 categories to go through here but then I can kind of get an idea of how many of those users do I have, what's the engagement rate for those users.

This is only a way I would use this report.

If my average is 3.6 Pages/Session, if my average is 14 almost 15 minutes on a Session Duration, I look at these numbers and say “is there anything that's abnormal here, that sticks out?” 

Because that's all I'm looking for. 

We have a saying here at

The truth is in the trend, the power is in the pattern. 

That's what we're looking for here. 

Basically, my Pages/Session, I don't see a huge difference between them to be honest. 

But Session Duration, I kind of do see that my music lovers spend less time than what the rest of them do by a pretty decent chunk if you think about it from a percentage standpoint.

That's 10 minutes versus 16 minutes. That's a pretty good clip that they're missing there – 60% of the time roughly.

So, if I'm going from an audience targeting perspective, I'm not necessarily going to target everybody who's listening to Garth Brooks right now. 

Let's assume that he's out there still and people still love his music, but I'm not necessarily using that as a targeting.

Instead, I might target some of these other categories because they have higher levels of engagement. 

Now, the other thing that I can look at is our results.

Here you see there's the eCommerce results but I could flip it over to whatever goal I'm measuring for.

I can see my goal completion rates. 

Is there something that's there to complete a certain goal? Is there something in there that you saw? Maybe a sale and technophiles are buying so maybe I should target more technophiles.

It can help other platforms like Facebook and Google Ads with that because I'm learning more about my users – who these users are, who my users are at 

In-Market Segments 

The next one In-Market Segments and it is exactly what it

sounds like. 

It is telling you these are the things that not just that they like because that's more kind of psychographic stuff. 

In-market, this is the stuff they are currently looking to buy. 

So in addition to buying services, hopefully from, in training or wherever else, here's other things that they are interested in buying. 

So I would imagine here when I click on this report, I'm going to see things like software, business development tools, professional training, that's the sort of thing I would expect for my users.

Let's go see if we have any surprises because that's really where we learn 

Business Services/Advertising and Marketing makes total sense.

Employment – looking for a job. That was interesting. I didn't see the affinity category looking for a job but it did show under In-Market.

They are currently in the market for a job which makes sense because you're looking to improve your training and maybe get a raise so you've got that. 

More Business Services under Advertising: SEO, SEM.

Web Dev. makes total sense. 

Staffing and Recruiting Services – interesting

Career Consulting Services – improving job skills 

And Software. 

So I see a lot of services which is exactly right for us.

It makes sense that because we offer training to help companies learn how to use these tools. These are companies out there looking for other things that they need and I have 52 others.

What I would do is the exact same thing – come through, look at Pages/Session. Does anything really stand out? 

Does anything stand out on time? So I got 16 minutes, you know this one. Employment stands out a little bit, a little bit here, though I don't know if I would go for this one.

But look at this…

Business Services/Enterprise Software/Collaboration Conferencing Tools – 6 minutes.

So enterprise, corporations, these are the large companies like Best Buy, that sort of stuff. They may not find what they need here but we're not developed for them.

We're developed for people like you, people that are just trying to figure how to use these tools and get answers to certain questions. 

We're not providing enterprise level software or support so it makes sense that they're coming in here, they're seeing a bunch of pages, but they're not sticking through. Which means they're seeing those pages faster. 

I could come through here and do additional reports and show me what pages are seeing, things like that, but you get the idea already of how powerful analytics is because it can teach us about our users.

We already know about demographic details. 

Now I know a lot more about the psychographics – kind of what they're looking for, other things that they like doing

And then what they're in the market for right now – other buying signals that Google sees that they're willing to share with us. 

As marketers, we say “okay your users are also into this” and of course we can tie it all the way down to goals and see which type of target is better for achieving a certain goal. 

Maybe it's a tool box, a membership, or creating another paid membership.

Something along those lines.

So that's pretty powerful reports right there – Demographics and Interests. 

Again, if you don't see data back there, there will be a message here from Google saying “hey you just got to hook this stuff up”. 

Follow the directions, make sure you go slow and read everything, but follow the directions and then hook it up. And once you do you should see the information coming through.

The Geo

Now let's talk about Geo. 

So, a couple things in geo, you've got the ability to say “okay, is there a certain language that they're speaking or do they live in a certain place.


I personally expect most people to be speaking English that are on our site. Doesn’t mean that everybody will, but most will and you can mostly “en” here.

So lots of English.

Why would I want a report like this? Because there could be a trend that I might see of another language coming in that I might want to support. 

Maybe I see a bunch of different languages back here and that the traffic starts really building from those languages. Right now, this is what I would expect. It's predominantly English users.

Of the users I have, most of them are speaking English so I don't necessarily have a need to set up a translator into the site itself. It's not what the site’s designed for. It doesn't necessarily need that but as the traffic grows, maybe I will one day, and I will see it in my numbers. 

I'll make the numbers make that decision for me. 


Same thing when it comes to location. 

I would expect most I could be in the US or the English speaking countries like Australia, Canada, Britain, etc.

And so we see that same thing here. The vast majority of our users are these primary countries. We're all on the English end of things.

But again, here's my international audience. Thank you very much international audience. I love having you guys here.

As we come through, we see all these different countries that are logging in

they're representing around the world.

Now, if I saw a bunch more coming through, maybe at a certain point I have to say “well, we're going to start building out a site for French, or German, or whatever else if that starts picking up. 

But right now, I can see that this is fine. 

Incidentally, you can drill down into these. 

You can click on this report. 

In the US right now, not a lot of people up here are learning about analytics.

Nobody in Maine right now cares but the rest of the country we're doing pretty good.

You will notice that California, Texas, and New York just because the population tend to be high in these states. It doesn't necessarily mean anything. 

Those states have more people so you tend to have more viewers from those and we are based in Austin Texas so this is probably why we have people here.

So there's our geographic ports and again.

You can use them in the same way. So it's a number of users, how engaged they are from certain areas coming through, and then what the goals are that they achieved.

I have a lot more people from Texas achieving goals, people working from California achieving goals, and from New York achieving goals.

And then you look at New Jersey, huge percentage in terms of the goals achieved, just lower traffic from New Jersey and Colorado. 

So, kind of gives you, again, maybe for audience targeting. We might be able to set that stuff up for the ad targeting.

Next up, I'm gonna skip through some of these because I want to really focus on the useful ones for this particular workshop

Technology: Browser & OS

If you ever wanted to see if there's an issue with a browser, you can come into Technology and you can see it.

Are they using Safari? Are they even using Firefox? It shows them all here. 

You can see our traffic. Chrome is almost 80% of our traffic, Safari barely above 10%, Firefox barely at a 5, Edge – poor Edge. Microsoft just can't catch your break; it doesn't have really any market share – barely a percentage.

Then there's a bunch of other ones that'll come through. Some of these will be mobile browsers and things like that. 

So this is how you can tell if you really need to radically overhaul your site for 10% of users – maybe, maybe not. If something doesn't work on Edge, is it killing business? Probably not.

Again, depending upon what you expect. 

Some of you might be more corporate or business to business oriented. We have a lot of businesses using Edge and they're not using chrome and you would see something different back here.

In this case, it's exactly what I would expect.

So under Technology Browser & OS, you start learning about the tech that the users are using. 

Again, you can use the same thing – number of pages that they're seeing, goals that they're making it through. So you have that as well.


Next up, and this is where we're going to end this particular one, is under Mobile.

I'm going to click on Overview because I think this is the more useful Report. This is a very easy way to do this. 

Of course, there's a lot of other reports back here that kind of help you understand who your users are but this one is what I want to leave you with because this is the one where it talks about mobile devices.

It makes sense that the majority of our users are on desktop. 

Now, this has been slowly creeping down but ever so slowly. I do not expect us to switch to mobile-only training anytime soon.

I know the trends are there when it comes to mobile but for our particular topics, we're training Google Analytics and Tag Manager, chances are, you are following along with an instructor.

You're probably on a desktop working at your Tag Manager. You're probably not doing it on a mobile phone.

Same thing with Analytics. You’re probably not doing any major setups on a mobile device. 

You might be looking at a report on a mobile device but you're probably not actually setting things up properly, setting up a custom dimension or something like that. 

So, this is what I would expect. We're going to have predominantly desktop, which we do. 

We have some mobile, which of course we do. 

And the tablet is always pulling up the rear. It's right there with Microsoft Edge, about 1% of the traffic.

But tablet really is desktop. The way that we think about this, this is the environment that we're in. 

So there's either desktop environment which is for the most part stable. A tablet is kind of like a laptop. You're typically sitting down, you're typically not walking and reading your tablet and swiping your tablet.

You don't see that very often. Occasionally you do. Those people walk into walls.

But mobile devices, you see it all the time. 

People walking, using their thumb to get around. They’re in Starbucks trying to get a coffee or whatever it is. Highly distracted environments. This is how we look at it.

Desktop is more of the stable environment where we know we're having a more focused conversation with an individual.

Mobile is the design that switches more to short and sweet because I know the attention is highly distracted and we have seconds of attention and that's really it.

So we don't personally do a lot of that in our Members Area. In fact, this report helped us to save a ton of money a few years back when we redesigned our Members Area.

Initially, we had our Members design and one of the conversations was “do we need to go invest in a mobile-friendly design?”

Mobile first is what the big thing was back then, so we took a look at this

report and said “no we don't” because back then, I think it was 20%, whereas mobile now is at 22%.

It creeps up slowly but that's just because the nature of our particular business and how we're training the tools. 

Our tools are really desktop tools so we trained them on a desktop. You see them on a desktop monitor.

That said, of course, when we do the new member site, which we'll be releasing shortly, we'll have even more mobile friendliness to it, so it'll still have that for those that want to learn on mobile. 

But we still predominantly expect most to be desktop. This fits what we expect.

Your site might be totally different because your users are different and that's what I love about this mobile overview report. It's because it shows you at a glance which devices they're using.

Again, you could dive into these reports, you can use secondary dimensions, you can learn a ton of cool stuff coming through here to figure out even more about your users.

But I wanted you to at least have this little tidbit of information so you knew how to answer that particular question.

End of Transcription…

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