Google Analytics Acquisition

written by:
posted on: January 12, 2017

Where do your blog readers come from? Understanding how people find your website is just as important as understanding what they do when they are at your site.  Knowing how you are acquiring readers can help you with your marketing campaigns.

Acquisition Top Channels – Overview

Acquisition shows you how users are coming to your site. Channels are grouped into main categories:

  • Organic Search: Visitors who come to your website after searching and other search engines, like Bing.
  • Paid Search: visitors who come to your site from AdWords and other paid search advertisements
  • Direct: Visitors who come to your site without a traceable referral source, i.e. typing your URL into their address bar or using a bookmark.
  • Referral: visitors who come from another website by clicking on a link.
  • Social: visitors who come to your website from a social network.

How should things break down? Well, this post from Optimize Smart recommends the following:

  • Search Traffic: no more than 40%
  • Direct Traffic: 30%
  • Referring Site: 20%
  • Ad Words: 10%

However, this recommendation might not apply to blog sites. Bloggers tend not to do Adwords or paid search. Referral traffic is my highest referrals (other people linking to my site). Keep in mind, that bloglovin is not considered social media, but referral traffic, so that skews those numbers. As with anything in life, it is safe to assume that you want your channels equally diversified, and if one channel is significantly different compared to the others, then you should figure out how you can develop that channel.

When you are viewing Acquisition Overview, you can also see bounce rate. If you have a high bounce rate for a specified channel, that means when people come to your site; they aren’t staying for that long.


If you are running any AdWords campaigns, you can view your statistics in this tab. AdWords deserves a post all by itself, so I’m going to table this section for a while.

Search Engine Optimization

This report displays the keywords visitors used to get to your website. These keywords should reflect your core keywords of your blog. If you see words that you wouldn’t identify with your brand, you want to make sure that the following include (but don’t overuse) your core keywords:

Most people don’t include standard descriptors/keywords anywhere on their blog or website. Including certain keywords and phrases don’t have to be visible to the reader if using including it in tags and alt titles and descriptions.

Social Overview

This report displays referrals from social media channels.  It is a good way to judge the effectiveness of particular social media profiles. For example, Pinterest drives 50% of my social media traffic (followed by Twitter (25%) and Facebook (19%)). I would like these numbers to be more balanced. This data also helps me track the effectiveness of individual marketing approaches. Instagram is not included in this report. I’ve found that this post gives the best explanation of why it isn’t included and solutions on how you can track your referrals.

Instagram + Analytics

Instagram reportedly has double the amount of active users than Pinterest. However, you can’t find who is an Instagram referral from your analytics. When someone opens your profile link in Instagram, it is read as “Direct Traffic” in analytics and can be hidden under Mobile & Tablet traffic.  These approaches allow you can isolate Instagram traffic to get a better idea about your Instagram traffic.

Personally, as a business owner, I don’t think that Instagram is going to drive traffic to my site. When I’m on I, I don’t click through, but continue to scroll and scroll and scroll. Therefore, I’ve changed the way I brand my Instagram account. In the past, I wanted to include only branded graphics and promote posts. I wasn’t 100% happy with this approach. I didn’t find it very genuine myself. So I’ve decided to use Instagram as more of a behind-the-scenes insight into my freelance life and projects. All of my other social media profiles are professionally driven. I want Instagram to be more of a personal account, where people can get a better idea of who I am. When I do custom design projects, I’m forming long-term partnerships and friendships with my clients, and before they make the commitment to work with me, I want them to feel confident about the person behind the brand. The way I’m doing this through Instagram.

You might also like: How to Track Blog Posts Using Google Analytics and How to Setup YOAST SEO for Your Blog.

Want more SEO tips? Check out these posts!

Editor's Note

Some of the links included throughout this website are affiliate links, which means that Lindsay Humes LLC receives a small commission when certain items are purchased. These affiliate links provide a means for the site to earn revenue and generate free content for readers. For more details, read the privacy policy here.

Blog Design Lindsay Humes
Meet The Author: Lindsay Humes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join The Blog Better Audit!

Subscribe to join thousands of other creatives, bloggers, and freelancers and receive my free email course on how you can improve your WordPress website. My newsletter is full of tips on how you can grow your audience with actionable exercises that do not require a designer or developer!