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Disclaimer: Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. 

Resource: How to use Google Analytics for UX (user experience) research

Discussion Topic(s) Addressed: Using analytics to inform how our web pages/tools are being used

Resource Summary:

  • 10 different Google Analytics reports are discussed by the article, including:  
    • Bounce Rate  
    • Exit Rate  
    • Average Time on Page  
    • Average Pages per Session  
    • Device Usage  
    • Behavior Flow Report  
    • Demographics  
    • Site Search  
    • Custom Events 
    • New vs. Returning Visitors 
  • Each report type has its strengths and weaknesses. In order to set up the reports appropriately for UX research, it is important to first understand how Google Analytics defines each report type. 

Other Key Features of the Resource:

  • The resource’s reading time is about 15 minutes. 
  • For each report type, the resource provides the location of the report in Google Analytics. Additional sample screenshots or graphs are also included to help demonstrate the report’s functions. 

Citation for the Resource:
Bielewicz, Kristi. (2020, January 17). How to use Google Analytics for UX (user experience) research. Retrieved from

Bonus Advice from a USGS Expert:  

According to David Watkins, a Data Scientist from the Water Resources Mission Area in Wisconsin, Google Analytics can be useful in providing audience insights, such as location-based information about the users. However, Google Analytics does not provide the rationales for users’ actions. Overall, in order to optimize the benefits of using Google Analytics, it is important to understand Google Analytics’ settings and how the metrics are calculated before using the information in any decision making process.

Additional/Related Resources:

The following resources provide additional information about how analytics can help in user experience (UX) research:

  1. Cardello, Jen. (2013, November 17). Three uses for analytics in user-experience practice. Retrieved from  
    1. Key Takeaways:
      1. The three uses covered in the article are:
        1. Issue indication - Notifying the team of potential problems reaching goals
        2. Investigation - Identifying potential causes of issues
        3. Triangulation - Adding data to supplement qualitative research 
      2. Adding analytics to UX work enables us to: 
        1. Take early action to prevent unnecessary conversion decreases 
        2. Quickly prove or disprove causation/correlation theories 
        3. Better persuade the more data-oriented stakeholders in our organizations 
  2. Walker, Alice Emma. (2018, Mar 22). The ultimate guide to Google Analytics for UX designers. Retrieved from 
    1. Key Takeaways:
      1. This resource features a step-by-step Google Analytics tutorial via its demo account.
      2. Key Google Analytics functions discussed include: 
        1. Pageview Tracking 
        2. Traffic Analysis 
        3. Behavior Analysis and Report 
        4. Goal/Funnel Creation and Analysis 
        5. Events Report
      3. If needed, example JavaScript code is included to demonstrate further how to use a specific Google Analytics function.

(sample screenshot from the demo Google Analytics account)

This resource review is created as a response to the “How can we use Google Analytics DataStudio to inform how our online tools are used?” topic posted to the forum.