Google Analytics Video Tutorial 2: Essential Stats

Ian Lurie

This video is out of date. Take a look at the newer version: Google Analytics Tutorial: Basic Stats

Last time, I went over how to set up your Google Analytics account. This time, I’ll discuss the four essential statistics that, no matter what, you must keep an eye on in Google Analytics:

  1. Absolute Unique Visitors are the number of unique individuals who’ve come to your site in a given time period. So, if I come to your site 20 times in a week, I still only count as a single unique visitor. This statistic is important because it tells you your reach, or the total size of the audience coming to your site.
  2. Visits are the number of times folks open your site in their browser. If I come to your site 20 times in a week, I count as 20 visits. This is important, too – a high ratio of visits to visitors means you’ve got a loyal audience.
  3. Page Views tell you how many pages of your site are viewed in a given period. If I come to your site 20 times in a week, viewing 3 pages each time, I count as 60 page views. Page views are an indication of just how interested folks are in your site. A high ratio of page views to visits likely means an interested audience.
  4. Finally, Referring Source, found under Visitor Segment Performance, tells you where folks are coming from. And, you can use the Analysis button to drill further down, viewing keywords searched, etc…

As always, I’ve got video:

For the prettier, high-res version, you can watch it here: Full-size Video: Quicktime Version

I’m keeping these down to short, digestible segments. Next time I’ll talk about interpreting user navigation using the Content Optimization toolset.

Other lessons in this series:
Google Analytics Tutorial 1: Signing Up
Google Analytics Tutorial 3: Digging Deeper
Google Analytics Tutorial 4: Goals
Google Analytics Tutorial 5: Search Analytics

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. This is my first G.A. tutorial, and its great! I look forward to learning how to better understand my blog stats in the upcoming tutorials.
    Thanks so much!

  2. Ian, thanks for the help! Is it possible to rename the “sources” so they have titles like “home page” or “profile”, etc, rather than the URL? sometimes it is hard to quickly see what page the URL refers to because of the numbers/letters/etc…let me know.

  3. Hi Ryan,
    Try right-clicking the link and then click ‘download’ or ‘save file’ or ‘download linked file’, or whatever similar text shows up in the menu.

  4. Hi Ian !
    Thanks for your vid. Very helpful for anyone new to GA.
    But i am just wondering if it is possible to count how many pdf,ppt or other files have been downloaded from the site.
    Thanks !

  5. @John you’ll want to use Google Analytics’ outgoing link tracking or event tracking, even though these aren’t outgoing links. Go into the documentation and search for ‘outgoing links’ and you’ll see what you need.

  6. Hi Ian,
    I’ve been looking for a good analytics tutorial for a while and can’t believe some of the nonsense out there, but these video tutorials are the business – many thanks for taking the time to make them, everyone involved in marketing or web/seo services ought to watch them,

  7. Can you please provide me any PDF tutorial for the Web analytics as i am new to it and want to learn from scratch?
    BTW the videos by you are very useful and simple to understand.

  8. great videos
    curious question.
    how come there are advertisements at the beginning of each video? whats the reasoning behind this?

  9. Ian, I am finding your videos invaluable for my business, I am discovered just how powerful Google Analytics is, I am so glad I use it now, Sally 🙂

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