Marketing strategy

Use the Google Analytics technical report to inform your marketing strategy


PHOTO: Derick Anies


While marketing analysts are still reviewing GA4’s features to determine what’s working and what’s not working for their strategy, one report remains a mainstay to help plan effective app launches: the Google Analytics Tech Report. The technical report provides a clear overview of the devices website visitors use to visit a website. However, with a strategy, you can use this report to better plan the launch of an application or software.

A Brief History of the Google Analytics Technical Report

The technical report is a legacy report from the launch of Google Analytics in 2009. Over the years, Google has kept the report mostly intact, unlike the complete overhaul it has done with other reports. The appearance of the report has been changed to align with other GA4 reports. One metric, bounce rate, has been replaced with sessions engaged in all reports. Bounce rate represents when someone arrives at a website and immediately leaves afterward, an indicator of a potentially poor experience or performance. The engaged sessions metric is a similar metric, but focuses more on app or website activity, like filters and report settings in GA4. Engaged sessions record website or application session activity that lasts longer than 10 seconds, with two or more page views, and when an event is triggered. The focus on sessions reflects the expanded role of these reports, which have evolved from a diagnostic tool to a strategic indicator.

To appreciate the value of this data, think of when a startup launches an application or software. It is common to concentrate resources on a single type of device to reduce costs and manage technical debt. Clubhouse is a well-known recent example of this strategy. Clubhouse first launched its iPhone app, then launched an Android version once bugs were ironed out and the app experience refined for its audience. The Analytics Technology report can help guide those decisions, offering insights into the best platform to leverage resources for the greatest impact.

Google Analytics Technical Overview Report

Related article: Jump-Starting Analytics Efforts with Google Analytics GA4 Geographic Reports

What features appear in technical reports

Tech segments appear in the menu below the user segment. When you access it, you will see two report segments: Technical Overview and a Technical Details page.

The technical preview shows users by platform in two visualizations: as a pie chart and as a bar chart of real-time data based on visitors over the past 30 minutes. There are also visual maps displaying users segmented by various device layouts. The default view will show users by operating system, platform, browser, app version, and device model.

The Technical Details report displays user volume over time in the form of a timeline graph. A bubble chart also indicates users and browser type.

The table below the bubble chart displays several metrics: users, new users, sessions engaged, engagement rate, sessions engaged per user, number of events, conversions, and revenue. Each of these metrics can be looked at to categorize where to focus your development resources based on the technology your audience typically uses to access your site or app.

Related Article: How to Use Cohort Analysis in GA4

How to Analyze Data in a GA4 Technical Report

For example, let’s say your summary report categorizes visits by browser sessions. The results indicate that Chrome has the most users among browser types. They also indicate which specific audience generates the most revenue, such as revenue from an in-app purchase or a purchase associated with a browser plug-in. This means that you should develop your app or browser plug-in strategy with the people who regularly use Chrome in mind to reach the widest audience. This decision can be useful if you are planning an A/B test.

Another useful comparison is to determine the percentage of users accessing your company’s site via mobile or desktop. Search behavior research has shown that people search for phrases differently on their smartphones, typically taking a transactional or location-based approach to a keyword, like “window repair service near me.” Understanding the difference in device usage percentage can inform decisions about how best to map keyword usage to customer behavior. This can improve content choices for a website redesign or a lead qualification strategy for digital ad campaigns.

The downside of using technical reports is that you only see activity reflecting an audience result. For example, you expect to receive Android-related traffic after launching an Android application. To understand why they are using this particular device, you will need to survey your customers. The results displayed can only confirm what your digital media is generating, rather than being a predictor.

But combining Tech Report data with a customer survey can help you plan a savvy strategy to improve your customer relationships. A device is part of the customer journey, so reporting on its consistent usage provides marketers with an on-ramp to the rest of that journey.

Pierre DeBois is the founder of Zimana, a small business digital analytics consultancy. It reviews data from web analytics and social media dashboard solutions, then provides web development recommendations and actions that improve marketing strategy and business profitability.