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In this post we are continuing our review of the Audience Report within Google Analytics. See our previous three posts for more information on how the different sections of the report can be used.

Custom (Custom Variables, User Defined)

The custom section of the Audiences report allows you to extend the scope of your segments within your account. These can be defined in the admin section of your account.

The custom section of Google Analytics is most often used in relation to ecommerce sites. Particularly when tracking micro-interations. For example, if a user removes an item from their cart. More on this and the use of custom variables can be found on the office google analytics documentation.


Benchmarking is a fairly new section within the Audiences report. It allows you to compare your site data with aggregated data from other companies across the globe who are also sharing their data with Google Analytics.

It is a brilliant opportunity to get an idea of how other businesses are performing. Giving an indication of how you are doing compared to your competition which can feed directly into goal setting for your business.

You can compare your site with more than just similar industries. There is access to 1,600 industry categories across the Google Analytics platform. Also the option to refine the data in the report by geolocation and traffic size. Very helpful when getting an idea of performance across specific industries large and small business groups.

The available data for benching marking report, are the following dimensions:

  • Default channel groupings
  • Locations
  • Devices

The data can be compared to the following metrics:

  • Sessions
  • % New Sessions
  • New Sessions
  • Pages / Session
  • Session Duration
  • Bounce Rate

The report shows a table, and gives insight into how your property is either outperforming or under-performing the benchmark for each metric. A negative value highlights if your site is under performing against the benchmark and a positive shows you are outperforming the benchmark.

Enable Benchmarking Report

For the benching marking report to be viewable on an account it first must be enabled:

  1. Sign in to your Analytics account
  2. Select Admin from the left-hand-side menu
  3. Under Account, click Account Settings.
  4. Select the Benchmarking checkbox.
  5. Click Save.

See Googles documentation for more information on how to set up the benchmarking report.

For more detailed information on benchmarking reports, see the official google documentation.

User Flow

The user flow report is a graphic representation of the paths visitors take when visiting your site. It is a great tool when looking for entrance trends and also drop off points of users within your site.

The report allows for different dimensions to be viewed giving further details to the user behavior on your site. For example, you could use the dimension of “Source” to see what the most popular entrance sources are too your site. Then see if this entrance also correlates to high levels of engagement within the site.

This information could then be used to increase marketing efforts within the different high-level engagement site traffic sources. It could also be used to review traffic sources with low-level site engagement and conversion rates.

For more ideas on how to use the report, have a read of the Google official documentation on Using the flow visualization report.

Additional Learning Resources

Google offers some great free courses for learning Google Analytics. These range from beginners to power users. An incredible resources for anyone wanting to learn and further their understanding of google analytics.

Jen Cork

Author Jen Cork

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