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Best Google Analytics Acquisition Channels

Google is the most popular search engine ever and it’s a dream for every online business to be on top of Google’s page 1. Marketing your product and services on Google can really help in getting more eyeballs on your products and services. Thus, business owners, marketers and webmasters all look for online strategies that can help them reach their desired goals.

But the question that keeps everyone at the edge of the seat is that where does the traffic come from?

This question can be answered in a variety of ways, depending on whether the data comes from this country, a mobile device, or an audience interested in your product or service.

While the abundance of information about your traffic that can be gained through GA is fascinating, it may sometimes be overly granular when what you need is a big-picture view of traffic sources.

This is where Google’s Acquisition Channels comes into play.

Your traffic is broken down by source in the Acquisition Channels Report. These statistics will show you which of your initiatives are helping to goal conversions and which are bouncing users away, thus assisting you in deciding where to spend your important time.

The Major Acquisition Channels

It’s important to grasp the difference between sources and mediums before we talk about channels. A source is the last place a visitor went before coming to your website (for example, a specific website or search engine), and a medium is the means they used to get there (by clicking on an ad or a link in an e-mail). Google Analytics Purchase The means through which visitors arrived to your website is determined by the channel. It’s necessary to know how much traffic each channel generates (in relation to other channels), but it’s equally crucial to know how good that traffic is.

To put it in other words, you need to know which channel performs best and has the highest conversion rate. Knowing which channel is the most productive allows you to concentrate your marketing efforts on increasing traffic to that channel. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular Google Analytics acquisition channels:

Organic Search

The traffic that search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) send to your website from search results is included in organic search. Organic means that a search engine includes your website in search results “organically” (or because it is a good match for the user’s search), and not because you paid for it.

Direct | usually means that someone accessed your website directly, either through typing in your website’s URL or a bookmark.

Social | traffic generated through social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

Referral | visits through any websites that link to your website or “refer” traffic to you would count as a referral.

E-mail | visits through links in emails (for example, Gmail or Yahoo Mail).

Paid Search

Unlike organic search, paid search is exactly that – you pay search engines’ ad networks like Google AdWords or Bing Ads to send traffic to your website.

Other Advertising | Google Analytics acknowledges traffic derived from any other form of sponsored advertising.

Source/Medium | The leading sources of traffic to your website are shown in this enhanced report, which takes into account the media. This analysis will help you figure out which sources create the most traffic and how they relate to the medium. Google (organic search) or Twitter, for example (social).

Referrals | The Referrals report shows you which websites (and sections within those websites) actively refer traffic to your site. You can check how much traffic has been referred and how much the referred visitors have interacted with your website. This report will tell you how well your traffic-building strategy is functioning if it relies on driving traffic from other websites.

AdWords | If you’re running PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns, Google Analytics has a number of AdWords reports that can help you optimise your spending. AdWords reports in Google Analytics provide post-click performance indicators for your AdWords purchased traffic. These reports enable you to keep track of campaigns, bid modifications, individual keyword performance, placement and keyword locations, and much more. You may observe users’ behaviours when they click on your advertising, as well as conversions and ROI (return on investment) and RPC (return on cost) metrics, by evaluating Acquisition-Behavior-Conversion (ABC) cycles (revenue per click).

Search Console | The Search Console reports in Google Analytics, according to Google Analytics, allow you to track how pre-click data (such as queries and impressions) relates to post-click data (such as bounce rate and transactions). The Queries data is entirely based on Google Web Search data. If you’ve enabled the Search Console integration, you’ll be able to see these reports. Ask your site developer for help if you haven’t already. Please keep in mind that the following information will not be collected until the Webmaster Tools account has been created:

Landing Pages | these pages list your website’s page visitors that landed on when clicking on search results in Google in addition to impressions, clicks, average positions and CTR (Click Through Rate).

Countries | This report provides a country wise overview of impressions, clicks, and CTR. You may also change the primary dimension to Google property to see the same data for various sorts of content searches, such as photos, text, video, and so on.

Devices | this report shows you a view of impressions, clicks, CTR and average position by device type (mobile, desktop and tablet).

Queries | This report displays the Google searches (keywords) that users used to find your website. The report displays the number of times your website has been displayed in search results, the number of times people have clicked on these results, the click-through rate (CTR), and the average position of your website for the keyword.

Social | The importance of social media in marketing is growing. Measuring the success of your social activities is critical to your marketing’s overall success. The Google Analytics Social reports listed below can assist you in determining what works and what doesn’t:

Social Overview | This report gives a quick summary of the sessions and conversions generated by various social channels, as well as a breakdown by social network. The Social Worth graph compares the number and value of all completed goals against goals obtained through other channels.

Network Referrals | this provides a breakdown by social networks and shows how visitors from social sources interact with your site.

Landing Pages | It’s important to know what content is shared and where it’s shared when it’s shared or debated on social media. This is how the Landing Pages report works.

Conversions | this report shows conversion numbers’ monetary value for the social networks that generate traffic to your website.

Plugins | social plugins (for example, Facebook “like” or Twitters “tweet” buttons) allow visitors to share your content on social networks.  This report shows what content is being shared and where.

User Flow | this report is a graphical representation of the visitor’s navigation through your website.


While the Referrals report already shows you where your traffic is coming from, custom campaigns will help you break it down even more. You may add campaign-specific attributes to any URLs in Google Analytics to help it collect more information about your referral traffic. If you send out a monthly email, for example, you can check how many people clicked on links in each one and track the Acquisition-Behavior-Conversion (ABC) cycle for each one separately.


The keywords reports in Google Analytics, found under Campaigns, used to be a terrific resource for determining which keywords drive the most and best traffic to your website. Unfortunately, Google has lately modified the way it conducts searches by encrypting logged-in users’ search queries. This means you won’t be able to easily locate and go to your website using the terms you used to find it. Instead, where Google used to display terms, expect to see the dreaded “not provided” message. According to Google’s official statement, the move was made to preserve users’ privacy. Many industry experts, on the other hand, believe Google has ulterior objectives because the “not-provided” issue primarily affects organic search inquiries, while sponsored search is unaffected.

 The two types of keywords that Google tracks are:

Paid | keywords that brings your traffic through search engines’ ad networks like Google AdWords or Bing Ads.

Organic | Keywords that drive traffic from search engine results such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Your website showed up in the search results because it was a good match, not because you paid for it. Because of Google’s limits, expect to see less keywords in this report as time goes on.


If this was your first close encounter with Acquisition Channels, we hope we have inspired you to apply them to your marketing strategy. To track your marketing campaign or advertising spending from so many available options can be difficult. The default Channels can provide a quick and easy way to keep track of all efforts to attract traffic to your site but looking into traffic sources can reveal lost opportunities and show you where something is missing. Further investigation of sources, mediums, and UTM codes might yield even more detailed information about the origins of your traffic. To keep track of all that critical data, you may create your own personalised Google Analytics dashboards.

If you need experts to drive it ahead for you get in touch with Shergroup. We will help you take your digital marketing to the next level. To know more about how we can help you speak to our friendly business solutions advisors.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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