Getting started with analytics tools can get confusing. Geographic reports offer a simple, yet impactful place to start. When Google updated Google Analytics to the current GA4 version, it made some subtle updates to its geographic report which improved the insights budding analytics teams can derive.
How to Use Geographic Reports in GA4
Geographic reports are helpful for conducting a quick analysis based on specific knowledge of your digital media and operations. If your business operates primarily within a particular region of the United States and you are running digital campaigns aimed at those regions, you should look at metrics associated with those intended locations. This is a simple starting point for managers who are trying to get their feet wet with Google Analytics, or analytics in general.
To get deeper insights into the quality of the results, you combine your geographic knowledge with various dimension and metric combinations. Two reporting sections serve as starting points here.
Demographic overview shows display cards containing users visits. Each card breaks down visitors by city, language, and — if enough data is available — by gender, age and interest. These metrics have been available in previous versions of Google Analytics. GA4 provides cards, which allows users to choose a section to drill down for comparison. Demographic overview also includes a map that shows user by continent, country and city.
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The demographic details page displays a unique bubble chart, which is a new visual in Google Analytics. The chart shows each country by user versus new user, allowing marketers to view the mix of new versus returning visitors by region. This kind of information can influence campaign messaging, guide budget planning and influence customer service strategy for loyal customers.
Users can create graphs to discover which regions are attracting new users to a website or app. Discovering how consistently people arrive to your site from a specific region can strengthen your digital campaign plans. New users are an important segment, with a different customer journey than returning users. Returning users typically represent returning customers or people who are already familiar with your business. New users represent people who are discovering your business for the first time.
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Dimensions Help Refine Your Geographic Insights in Google Analytics
Chart refinement is relatively easy with the option to add secondary dimensions. The dimension acts as a filter, either through inclusion or exclusion of specific dimensions. Selections can be made from the drop-down menu in the upper-right-hand side of the screen. Select from basic demographic filters — city, country, or, if enough data is available, age and gender.
But a custom event section of the drop-down offers the truly intriguing second dimension, such as search term, page title and page URL. The value of each choice depends on your marketing strategy. Combining geographic reports with page titles, for example, can answer if certain pages are consistently attracting people from a particular demographic. The answer is helpful if your site is running a blog with regional-oriented content and you are unsure how those pages are performing. You can draw additional conclusions from secondary dimensions on what is interesting visitors from different regions. Google Analytics allows analysts to choose up to five secondary dimensions.
Combining geographic reports with dimensions can help when running campaigns across several regions. Over time, the metrics can indicate if one region is showing more conversion activity over another, which might prompt an adjustment in the campaign to where people are best responding.
Useful analytics can take time to establish. Geographic reports can help cut the time to reach that useful analysis.
Pierre DeBois is the founder of Zimana, a small business digital analytics consultancy. He reviews data from web analytics and social media dashboard solutions, then provides recommendations and web development action that improves marketing strategy and business profitability.