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How to Analyze Audience Performance with Google Analytics


Audiences play an integral role in most paid media methods..

The ability to create targeted audiences based on key indicators makes for a great way to hone in on warm audiences.

Audiences also act as a connector across campaigns and even channels, allowing advertisers to coordinate messaging and content throughout the funnel.

The struggle with analyzing audience data is that, traditionally, there has not been one cohesive view.

Audience performance was fragmented in separate platforms depending on the channel and, further fragmented at the campaign level.

Enter: the Audience Report.

This report, which rolled out this spring without much fanfare, shows you the big picture for the audiences that you grant Google Analytics access to.


Setting Up Your Audience Report

In order to use the Audience Report in Google Analytics, you wish to set it up. There are only a few steps:

  • Enable Geographic reporting, if that has not already been enabled.
  • Create audiences within Google Analytics.
  • Share the audiences with the Google Analytics account.
  • Your Audience will populate with information.

Tip: you can only enable twenty audiences to report on within Google Analytics.

Although you can produce more audiences within Google Analytics, only twenty will be accessible for reporting functions. choose those wisely!

I suggest not choosing audiences that are already very easy to segment for within Google Analytics, like “all purchasers” and, instead, focusing on additional granular audiences.

A Deeper Dive into the Audience Report

The audience report is a good way to get an overview of audience performance across your entire ecosystem.

Historically, advertisers have added audiences as observation-only (or as targeting) in Google Ads campaigns in order to induce a pulse on performance. while that’s still a useful tactic, it only offers partial insight into performance.

The audience report in Google Analytics provides the full image, as it provides visibility into performance across all channels, as well as non-paid.

With this report, you’ll compare performance across all of your audiences. This report provides a wealth of data. For starters, you’ll see:

  • Which channels your audience engages with, once they join.
  • Which audiences have the highest conversion rates (inclusive of all channels) and, possibly even more helpful, the highest per-session-value.
  • Engagement levels for every audience (pages/session, average session duration, etc.)

All of these indicators can help you identify which of the audiences that you have created are really the most valuable to help you prioritize where and how you spend your money.

You can also get a sense for the channels that are most effective to re-engage your audience.

Custom Reports & Dashboards

Last but not least, enabling the audience report also permits the audiences to be used in custom reports and dashboards within Google Analytics.

The only pitfall here is that when you use audiences as a dimension in reporting, there are a limited number of other dimensions that you can use.

It is a little disappointing because, at first glance, the reporting options don’t go into the depth that most custom reports can accommodate.

Workaround: While you can leverage audiences as a dimension in reports or dashboards, you actually have more flexibility in reporting by creating a custom report or dashboard as you normally would and then, after publishing the report, viewing it with a custom view that filters for the audience that you are analyzing.

Making the Data Actionable

Audiences are incredibly flexible and versatile thus mining the data can help you to identify the ways in which you’ll improve performance across your marketing ecosystem.

The opportunities are endless. Here are a few ways you can leverage the audience report to increase your revenue:

  • Prioritize which audiences are most likely to drive the most amount of revenue by analyzing the average session value and conversion rates. Create re-marketing campaigns to drive more of those users to the site.
  • Identify which channels and campaigns are most effective for re-engaging the audience. That’s a great place to start your re-marketing campaign.
  • Identify the types of content that each audience is interested in and build funnels catering to their interests.
  • Use custom reports to see how the number of average sessions per user for each audience along with the number of sessions to transaction which might help to plan funnels.
  • Identify common exit pages and site-searches for each audience to patch holes within the funnel.

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