Google Analytics Part 2: Channels Report


In the first post of this series, we discussed how to use Page Performance Report to learn more about visitor behavior and gain traffic insights. This one will make you familiar with Channels report.

Channels Report is a comprehensive data set which compares different channels that drive traffic to your website. This report can be checked by webmasters when they want to analyze the performance of all the available channels and draw a conclusion about which channel is the best in terms of quality traffic generation.

Concepts that will be covered through this article:

1. How to access “Channels Report “in Google analytics.

2. Which dimensions and metrics to study and their significance in determining the best source for relevant traffic.

3. How to extract key data by drilling down deep in the report.

How to access Channels Report in Google Analytics?

Channels allow webmasters to view their traffic acquisition at a higher level of granularity and precision. It allows us to group similar sources using rules into logical buckets we call channels for e.g. social, referral etc.

Steps to access the report:

  • Click ‘Acquisition’ tab on the left side.
  • Under ‘Acquisition’ click the label with the name ‘Channels’.
  • Under ‘Acquisition’ click the label with the name ‘Channels’.


This is how the report will look like:

reportCLICK TO ENLARGE ( Open in new tab)

Now you might be thinking is it possible to modify the existing channels as per your needs and if yes then “How can you customize the channels in the report”. So the answer to this is the report contains channel grouping as specified in analytics by default. But one can definitely change and customize them as per needs and requirements. You can check Google Support as it has all the information required for you to learn how to edit existing channels and add new ones.

Important questions that you will be able to answer through this report

  • Which channels acquire the most traffic ( Visits )
  • Which channels get users who engage most with your website ( Average Visit Duration & Bounce Rate )
  • Which channels yield the most conversions ( Goal Conversions )
  • How to decide investing resources in which channel will be more productive

Now let’s understand some common channels that drive traffic to your website:

  1. Organic: This includes the traffic which originated from search engines.
  2. Referrals: This includes the traffic that was referred to your website by other domains.
  3. Social: The traffic which was directed by various social media channels falls under this channel.
  4. Paid: The paid keywords, matched search queries, and campaigns from which traffic originated.
  5. Display: The display-ad content and campaigns from which traffic originated.
  6. Emails: This includes the traffic from email-campaigns
  7. Others: Any other source of traffic comes under this channel

Key metrics to observe and their significance in the report:

  1. Visits: Visits give you an account of total traffic that a particular channel drives to your website. On the basis of visits we can identify channels which are performing well in just once glance. But visits alone cannot determine how effective a channel is because what is important is ‘relevant traffic’ which gives you more conversions and not just ‘traffic’. So analyzing visits with bounce rate and conversions will give you a clear picture.
  2. Bounce Rate: When a visitor lands on your web page and exits immediately or after some time without visiting any other page, it is called a bounce. Bounce rate is an extremely crucial metrics to look at. Higher bounce rate means the page was not relevant to what visitors were searching or the channel being used was not targeting the right people. A high bounce rate is a clear indicator that you need to re plan the promotion strategy for that particular channel.
  3. Average visit duration: It gives you the average amount of time visitors coming from a specific channel spend on your website. If a particular page has a high visit duration that evidently
    means that it is engaging for your visitors and the traffic from that channel is meaningful. A channel which drives traffic but has low visit duration could possibly be because your website did not load properly/quickly through that channel.
  4. Conversion: In Analytics, you can set goals in order to track conversions and conversion is the completion of an activity/goal on your site that is important to the success of your business. For example conversion can vary as per your business it can be either
    • a sign up for your email newsletter
    • or, a purchase (a transaction)

    Thus, the channel which assists maximum in conversion deserves more resources to be invested in it.


    It’s critical to understand the role each channel has in your marketing campaign. Channels can either be used for brand building, lead generation or both. To analyze the performance against key metrics it’s important to first identify their primary role and then devise a separate strategy for them because using the same strategy for all the channels can be detrimental for your success.

Understanding Each Channel in Detail

Every channel has its own set of dimensions to analyze if you drill down deep into each of them. To check other related dimensions all you have to do is click on the channel for which you need more information and check the corresponding dimension against all the metrics to conclude the performance for that channel.

  • Case 1: To understand it better let’s take an example of “Paid Channel”. If you click on it a screen similar to the following screenshot appears.

case1-reportCLICK TO ENLARGE (Open in new tab)

Analysis: You can analyze which keyword in your paid campaign gets you the most relevant traffic and which keyword gives the maximum and minimum conversions so that you can keep a watch on them.

  • Case 2: Similarly, if you click on “Social” it gives you the list of all the social mediums of traffic generation like Facebook, LinkedIn etc to evaluate.

case2-reportCLICK TO ENLARGE (Open in new tab)

Analysis: Based on the report you can see which medium causes the maximum bounce and which medium assists the most in conversions. This report will be of great help to plan your promotion campaign on social media, as you can spend more on the ones that bring the maximum return on your investment.

Likewise, you can click and further drill down to check all the channels to examine various dimensions and make appropriate changes in your strategy. If you find any difficulty doing that, you can contact FATbit experts.


The main purpose of this report is to give you a detailed summary of how all your online channels are performing from basic information to conversion related data. With just one report in hand you can quickly identify your strong and weak areas and work on them to deliver better results. You can gain a lot of insights about various sources of traffic generation and the quality of traffic generated by them.

About this Google Analytics Series

This series will cover important aspects of Google Analytics that can be used to make critical website improvements. Subscribe to get email updates whenever we publish the next post of the series.
View previous post
Part 1Google Analytics Page Performance Report


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