Google Analytics can provide a wealth of information on how your website’s performance varies depending on what day or time it is.
This can help you spot trends which can be invaluable when deciding how to best to use your budget for activities like pay per click advertising.
The traffic on most websites follows a predictable trend, with the sites of many B2B enjoying most traffic during standard business hours.
Using Google Analytics data to understand how your website performs can help you base your marketing on concrete evidence rather than guesswork.
In this post, I’ll show you how to create a series of reports on your website’s performance trends.
Google Analytics hourly traffic reports
If you know precisely what time of day people shop on your website, you can take this into account when doing marketing activities like sending emails. For example, if your sales peak at lunchtime, you might want to send out special offer emails late in the morning to further incentivise them to shop with you.
Here is how you can create a report on the traffic you get hourly.
In the top right-hand corner, you’ll see the option to choose a date range. A wide range will give you more meaningful results.
You’ll end up with a graph that looks like this. In this example, you can see that traffic peaks at around 8pm for this website.
Google Analytics hourly conversion reports
You can also create a report that shows you what time your website gets the most conversions, irrespective of how much traffic you are getting. You’ll need to have goals and/or ecommerce tracking already set up and then you can create a report, with the following instructions:
- Start by adding a new custom report. Don’t forget to pick a suitably wide date range like before. You’ll then get a graph like the one below. You can use the drop-down menu highlighted to view either the ecommerce conversion rate or the goal completions.
- You can use the insights from this report to plan your paid and social advertising, so you get as much traffic as possible at the times people are most likely to convert.
- Another useful metric to look at is the Per Session Value which tells you the average order value, as well as the conversion rate.
Google Analytics day of the week report
Looking at how traffic varies on your site during different days of the week is incredibly valuable when planning your marketing activities.
From analysing numerous websites over the years, we’ve found that people often make their biggest online purchases midweek. Weekends and Friday evenings tend to have the lowest conversion rates, as people are likely to be busy with activities like travelling or socialising.
Traffic from Mondays to Thursdays tends to be less predictable, so setting up Google Analytics day of the week reports can give you some valuable insights. You might be surprised by what you find. For example, we found that the conversion rate for one clothing website we work on increases by nearly 20% on Thursdays. We couldn’t have predicted this because it’s not clear why it happens but now we have the data we can use to plan our work. So, on Thursdays, we spend 20% more on paid advertising and put out our best content on social media.
Here’s how you can create a day of the week report in Google Analytics. Start by adding a new custom report under the customisation tab.
Then create your report by following these steps and choosing your wide date range like before.
You’ll be able to see how many visitors/sessions you get on average each day and you can use the comparison tool highlighted below to see how each day compares to the average for all days. The red bars show when traffic is less than the average and the green bars show when traffic is higher than the average.
If you have goals and or ecommerce tracking set up you can see what day of the week gets the most conversions irrespective of traffic.
You can create a day of the week conversion report. Once more, you’ll need to start by creating a new custom report. Then you can create the day of the week conversion report, again not forgetting to include a wide date range.
You can use the comparison tool once more to identify your best and worst days of the week. This can inform how you make your time bid adjustments for your PPC ads and when to focus more on your social media activities. In the example here, Tuesday is the best day and Saturday is the worst.
Advanced Google Analytics Time Reports
You can then take your analysis one step further by combining your hours of the day report with the days of the week report.
Knowing how your website performs every hour of the day, on every day of the week, is particularly useful when making bid adjustments for PPC advertising.
To set up the report, select both the “Hour” and “Day of the Week Name” from the dimension drilldowns on the same custom report as shown below. As always, you’ll need a wide date range.
Next, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got hours and days selected under the secondary dimension.
You’ll need to show all the rows, so that you can export the data into a spreadsheet.
You can use Microsoft Excel to create a graph showing conversion rate for each of the week. In the example below, you can see that Saturday and Sunday are very similar until about 4pm when Sunday’s conversion rate suddenly gets much better.
Google Analytics day of the month report
Creating a day of the month report can also reveal some useful trends. The steps are just like before but you also need to select “day of the month” from the dimension drilldowns.
Then you can create a graph in Excel once more. I wouldn’t include national holidays and the entire Christmas period (from the start of December to the end of the first week in January) because most B2C sites get exceptionally high traffic levels and conversion rates during this time. On the other hand, B2B sites experience a dip during the Christmas season.
If your conversion rates vary depending on the day of the month, you can adjust your bids accordingly. In the example below, the conversion rate goes up at the end of the month which is common because it coincides with many people’s pay day. Sites selling luxury goods tend to get a boost in the middle of the month, while cheaper goods tend to have a boost in sales at the end of the month and in the first week of the month.
Every website is different and having the data on precisely how your site performs is incredibly valuable. Once you know how your traffic levels and conversion rates vary hourly, daily, weekly and monthly you can be more strategic about how to spend your advertising budget to get the best results.
Jonathan Ellins, head of insights at Hallam.