The Aquisitions Overview in Google Analytics helps give you a general idea of where your web traffic is coming from. You can use it to see where your digital marketing efforts are working and where they aren’t.
Fortunately, reading the Acquisitions Overview isn’t terribly challenging. However, before you get started make sure to acquaint yourself with some Analytics terminology if you haven’t already.
Once you’re ready, here’s how to read the Acquisitions Overview.
Acquisition Overview Key Terms
In addition to standard Analytics terminology, acquisition reports have their own set of terms for traffic sources that are critical to understand. Here are the ones you need to know:
Organic Search—Visitors who reach your site from a search engine, such as Google or DuckDuckGo.
Paid Search—Visitors who clicked on an advertisement embedded in a search, such as Google Search Ads.
Direct—Visitors who got to your website without following a third-party source. Usually this means that they typed your URL into their browser.
Referral—Visitors who come to your website from another site after clicking a link.
Social—Visitors who get to your website by clicking a link on a social media.
Other—This traffic only appears if you’ve set up additional ways to track traffic. Most beginners don’t need to worry about this.
Pie Charts and Line Graphs
At the top of the Acquisitions Overview, you’ll see one pie chart and two line graphs. The pie chart, labeled Top Channels shows you which sources account for what percentage of your traffic.
The first line graph, Users, shows you a historical representation of the amount of users that come to your site over time. Moving your mouse over a specific point will give you a date and the number of users for that date.
If you’re tracking conversions, you’ll see the historical data for those on the second line graph. We’ll get more into conversions later, as they are a world of their own. However, unless you’ve set these up, you’ll simply see a straight, meaningless line.
Acquisition, Behavior, and (Maybe) Conversions Bar Graphs
The next section of the Acquisitions Overview gives you a more detailed breakdown of your traffic sources.
In the Acquisitions section, you can see the Users, New Users, and Sessions data for each source. If you click on a source, you’ll be taken to the Channels tab where you’ll get another, similar breakdown of your traffic sources.
Under the Behavior section, you’ll see data for Bounce Rate, Pages per Session, and Average Session Duration. Analytics generates bar graphs for this data to make it easier to compare.
Depending on whether or not you’ve started tracking conversions, you might not see any data under that tab.
What You Can Learn From Acquisitions Overview
The Acquisitions Overview is pretty generalized, but it can tell you quite a lot. It’s not just about the amount of traffic you’re receiving, either.
For example, if you notice that one of your social media outlets is generating higher quality traffic than others, you can retool your social media strategy to invest more money and energy into the better-performing channels.
Similarly, if you find that your efforts in one area, such as paid search, aren’t yielding the type of results you’re looking for, you’ll know to divert those resources elsewhere.