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Google Analytics Audience Reports Guide: Understanding Your Audience

This series on Google Analytics has tried to make it easy for you to use the platform. The key to that is not getting too technical, and instead trying to explain how Analytics relates to real life. It’s no use getting bogged down in data and tech jargon. How best to explain the value of Analytics is by talking about how real businesses can use the platform. This is where Google Analytics audience reports come in.

For businesses of all shapes and sizes, the adage ‘the customer is always right’ still rings true. It’s key to keep customers or clients at the forefront of your mind. To do that, you need to first know exactly who those customers are. With that knowledge, you can better optimize your marketing efforts. Not to mention enhancing the customer experience that your website and, as a result, your business offers. 

That’s not as easy as it sounds, for companies that interact with customers online. At least, not without Google Analytics. Analytics provides a whole host of reports which can tell you about your site’s audience. Read on, and you’ll learn what you can find out, where to find it, and why it matters to your business.

Previous articles in the Google Analytics Guide:

  1. An Introduction to Google Analytics (GA3) Universal Analytics
  2. How to Set up Google Analytics on Your Site the Right Way
  3. A Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics Dashboards
  4. A Simple Guide to Site Search Tracking in Google Analytics
  5. Google Analytics Acquisition: What Content Are Your Visitors Consuming?
  6. How to Find Which Device Users Search For You On: Google Analytics

Quick Jump To:

1. Types of Google Analytics Audience Reports

a. Demographics Overview Report
b. Age Report
c. Gender Report
d. Interests Overview Report

2. What Insights Can You Take From Google Analytics Audience Reports?

a. Insights by Age
b. Insights by gender
c. Tailor Your Content to Your Audience

3. Conclusion

 

Types of Google Analytics Audience Reports

The Google Analytics dashboard has a whole section titled ‘Audience’. It’s where you’ll find the Google Analytics audience reports providing details about users of your site and what they do when they visit your pages. It’s also the home to the reports that tell you about the users themselves.

Demographics Overview Report

The first place where you’ll see crucial info on your audience is in the Demographics Overview report:

demographics overview report google analytics

As you can see above, this report shows you the makeup of your site audience by age and by gender. Understanding your audience will influence the content you produce and how you engage with your visitors. The most important thing about your site content, after all, is that it is optimized for user intent

The practical implications of audience insights from Analytics will be covered in more detail later. First, let’s dig into what else the platform can help you learn about your audience. Starting with the more in-depth data that’s available about age and gender makeup:

Age Report

google analytics age report

The above is an example of the Analytics ‘Age’ report. It’s found within the Demographics section of the Audience tab. It displays data in the form of a variety of metrics about the age group of your site visitors. Through this report, you can learn if there are differences in how diverse age groups interact with your site. 

For instance, the example report shows that those aged 25-34 compose 41.14% of the site’s audience. It also demonstrates that the same age group accounts for over 77% of goal completions. That suggests that the site is great at converting for that particular age group. 

Gender Report

Similar insights are also available to you through the Gender report:

google analytics gender report

Interests Overview Report

It’s not merely simple demographics that Analytics can help you with. The platform also provides you with comprehensive insights into the preferences and lifestyles of site visitors. You can access this information via the ‘Interests’ section of the dashboard:

interests overview google analytics audience report

‘Interests’ data from Analytics categorizes site visitors by the things they’re likely to be interested in. There are three main dimensions:

Affinity Category

The kind of lifestyle site visitors live. Are they fashionistas, technophiles, travel buffs, etc.?

In-Market Segments

What types of products or services are your site visitors most interested in buying?

Other Category

General interests of your visitors, which includes things like an interest in sport, business news or info about celebrities, etc.. 

The Interests Overview report segments visitors by these different categories. This data can be used to provide insights into the kind of content you could be looking to provide them with.

As with the Demographics report, you can then also dig down deeper. Each dimension has its standard report. You’ll find a range of metrics displayed in each of them, as shown below:

affinity categories google analytics audience report

These reports help you to spot differences in how different groups of users interact with your pages. What do all of these audience insights mean for your business, though?

What Insights Can You Take From Google Analytics Audience Reports?

For your marketing to be effective you need to understand your market. Learning the demographic makeup of the audience is the first step. Once you know how your audience splits by age and gender, you can make some sensible content and marketing choices.

Insights by Age

Your audience might be dominated by younger people, for instance. In that case, social media marketing may be a better channel to explore.  An older audience, meanwhile, may be more receptive to marketing via email or even direct mail.  

Insights by gender

Distinct gender bias in your site audience can have numerous implications for the copy you use on your site and the other content you produce. Certain styles of content will chime better with male readers, whilst others are better for female readers. 

You may even take things one step further and use these insights to inform your broader business processes. For example, if your site visitors are primarily female you might make changes to your inventory management system. You’d want to give greater priority to ordering and stocking products that your female customers are more likely to buy.  

Tailor Your Content to Your Audience

Insights from the ‘interests’ reports will help you tailor content and marketing further. The report provides you with information on the things your audience are interested in. That means you can produce content to incorporate in your thought leadership strategy that you know in advance that they’re likely to want to read.

What’s more, knowing their interests suggests other ecommerce websites, blogs, or pages they might frequent. Those sites may prove a great place to try to get guest posts with links to your site. And their audiences, after all, are likely to also be composed of your potential customers. 

You can also use the Demographics and Interests reports to develop and improve a content or marketing strategy. For instance, let’s say you tweaked your content to better suit a younger audience. The Age report can show if younger visitors start to view more pages, spend longer on your site, and complete more conversions.

Conclusion

The beauty of Google Analytics is its application to real-life business operations. The Demographics and Interests reports offered by the platform are a prime example. Once you know where to find them and how to read them, they can deliver useful, actionable insights. 

Those insights will help you improve both your site performance and your marketing. They help you define and understand your site’s audience in an effective yet simple way. That ensures that you can tailor all your content and marketing efforts to appeal to the right people. 

Phil Pearce
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Phil Pearce
Phil Pearce
Phil is an analytics expert, author, and web analyst. He's also the Analytics Director & Founder of Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Ads and CRO agency, MeasureMinds Group. Over the past 20+ years, Phil has helped clients improve their analytics and search engine marketing through the introduction of new tools and disruptive techniques.
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Lisa Sicard
6 months ago

Hi Phil, very interesting as I just went over mine and discovered my audience was younger than I realized. Now to market to the younger set. Thank you.

Will Rice
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Lisa Sicard

Hi Lisa, it’s funny how some quick reminders and checks can make a big difference to your marketing efforts. Glad we could help out in this case! Thanks for reading!
Will.

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