Understanding Users as Individuals with User Explorer Reports


If you’ve been paying attention to the “Audience” section of your GA account, you will have noticed a new report was released in May called User Explorer. This feature allows you to examine individual user behavior, differing greatly from the rest of GA, which only shows aggregate data. Normally, aggregate data is very useful, but there are times when you want to understand individuals rather than a group as a whole.

Understanding User Explorer Reports

When you navigate to your User Explorer reports, you will see a list of anonymous Client IDs with information about each of these users, including activity history, time stamps, and device type. There are two main ways to use this data. One option is to place yourself in a better position to offer users a personalized experience and troubleshoot unique issues, particularly in the case of high-value users. The second is to create segments to understand how different people fall into categories.

How to Use User Explorer Reports

Setting up

Getting started with User Explorer is easy. Head to “Your view” and choose the “Reporting” tab, where you will find “Audience.” Choose “User Explorer.” In the default view, you will be able to filter IDs by pageview, goal, ecommerce, and event.

On the left side of your screen, your Client IDs appear as random numbers that remain the same over multiple sessions. Unfortunately, you can only access these numbers in User Explorer reports, which gives you no opportunity to compare activity with other reports. If you want to judge the effectiveness of other campaigns, you should enable User IDs before you start.

Creating segments

To look at your data in greater detail, you can use segments based around a number of actions. Applying a segment will present users in groups that took the same combinations of actions, allowing you to discover patterns in user behavior.

Start by choosing the actions you want to include in a segment and click “Create Segment.” On the next screen, you will be able to give your segment a name and decide if you want it available in just the current view or in all views. You will also to chose if you want to apply your segment to the report before saving.


Export and import information

To make the most of the data you gather, you may like to export or import some information. For instance, after you generate a report with a segment, you can use the “Export” menu to export data in a format you choose to merge with offline data.

Another option is to import offline data to combine with reports. Simply choose the “Property” corresponding to the data you want to upload under the “Admin” tab and select “Data Import.” Then, click the “Data Set” you want, or create a new one.

Top Uses of User Reports

There are several ways to benefit from User Reports, and you may even come up with a few of your own that meet your unique requirements. Here are a few ideas for inspiration:

  • Determine how each page of content fits into your sales funnel.
  • See what content is drawing people to your site time and again. Which pages are leading to the most conversions and highest revenue?
  • On the flip side, find out if there are any particular pieces of content users are arriving at only to never return to your site. This may suggest you need to improve the CTA of these pages.
  • You may notice users are spending too much time looking for a solution that meets their needs — for instance, a user may be viewing numerous related products. This indicates you need tools and content to help users make faster decisions.
  • On the other hand, a user making repeat visits to the same product page suggests the user may be close to making a decision but needs an extra push. This could be an opportunity to offer a discount or use a warning message that only a limited number of the item are left.
  • Upsell to more people by learning more about the behavior of your highest-value customers. You can push mid-level customers to take the same actions by offering a more personalized experience, such as with appropriate ads and content.
  • If you find users are returning to your site after some time and using the internal search feature or navigating around your site quickly, it may be they are struggling to find content or products they previously viewed. Use this information to better design elements of your homepage for returning users.

User Explorer reports allow you to analyze at both a segmented and individual level, giving you a better understanding of how users interact with your website. You can use the information to improve usability and increase conversions for all users, especially top and middle-level customers.

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