Creatively Using Google Analytics

Your Questions Answered: a quick, easy way that your charity can use Google Analytics to shape your digital communications tactics.

Ab Brightman
3 min readFeb 3, 2019

The Question:

“I’m using google analytics to look at figures for our site and currently it looks like our returning visitors account for only around 15% of overall traffic.

On the one hand, we’re always trying to reach new donors and volunteers, so the proportion of new visitors is good news in that respect. On the other, I feel that we should maybe be aiming for more repeat visits.”
— Clare, Youth Homelessness Charity

So I’ve never really found this aspect of google analytics dead helpful by itself. Because it uses percentages rather rather than raw numbers, in actual fact you could be increasing your repeat visitors — but just absolutely smashing your expectations in attracting new ones.

However by adding some of the segments Analytics allows, the new and returning visitor function can become quite helpful — I would suggest adding a segment (at the top of the audience page) in order to see the different channels that your visitors (both new and returning) are coming from.

Lets work through an example as to how this new pie chart would be useful.

In this example imagine that although overall 15% of visitors are returning (as per the question at the start) you find that:

  • From traffic to your website from email marketing (mailchimp etc) 50% are returning;
  • From Facebook 40% are returning;
  • but only 5% are returning from search engines.
Breakdown segment of returning visitor channels.

From this, two action points would come if the goal is increasing returning visitors:

  1. Increase the amount of effort you are putting into optimising your facebook and email content, as these are the channels driving you the most loyalty. You may want to decrease time spent on SEO as this mostly seems to be getting you new users.
  2. Add things to the site which increase the likelihood new users will then join the channels you’ve seen are delivering repeat users. In this case, with email and facebook, I would consider having a more prominent sign up form or perhaps a popup! and a more obvious ‘like us on facebook’ button. Then over the next month or so keep an eye on whether you are getting more email sign-ups or facebook likes as a result.

I expect that in your organisation’s case it may not be those exact channels and percentage balance, but I hope that this example helps get your creativity going on the many potentials of Google Analytics!

If this is helpful to you then just let me know and I can make a series on more ways to use Google Analytics.

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If you’d like to learn much more, or feel you need additional support, then the Small Charities Coalition will soon be running training on the matter, or you can get in touch with me using