Chapter 08

View acquisition reports

By Anna Tomalik

Once you’ve learned about audience reports and know a few things about how people behave on your website, it’s time to find out where they come from.

The acquisition reports will point you to websites, campaigns, search engines, and social media that bring people to your website. Looking at these reports you’ll know if your advertising is working okay, if you’re communicating well in social media, and if your company can be easily found in Google.

In the acquisition reports, there are four types of traffic sources:

  • Direct entry is when a visitor enters your website by typing your site’s URL into the browser. When someone comes to your site through the direct entry, it means they already know your website. So you can treat direct entries as a gauge of your brand awareness.
  • Websites are when a visitor enters your website by clicking on a link on another website. For example, if you’ve placed a link to your website on medium.com, and somebody clicked on this link, the report will show you the medium.com website as a source. Websites refer also to social media sites, so in this category you will find Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more.
  • Campaigns are when a visitor enters your website by clicking on a link from a  campaign you are running like a Google ad, Facebook ad, newsletter, and more. For campaigns to be seen in reports you need to tag them using the Piwik PRO URL Builder or Google URL Builder. 
  • Search engines are when a visitor enters your website by clicking on a link in search engine results from Google, Yahoo, and more. Nowadays, the Google search engine is widely used, so most search engine traffic will come from it.

The acquisition reports group and organize referrers into a few reports. 

To access the acquisition reports, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Menu > Analytics (new).
  2. Navigate to Reports.
  3. On the left, click a report you want to work with.
An acquisition report in Analytics.

First, we will look at the channel report.

Channel report

The channel report is a good observation point of all your traffic sources. The report will show you:

  • Visitors: The number of visitors that came form a channel.
  • Sessions: The number of sessions coming from a channel. 
  • Bounce rate: The bounce rate for a channel. By analyzing both the number of sessions and the bounce rate for each channel, you can tell how successful you are in bringing people to your website. 
  • Goal conversion rate: The number of goal completions for a channel. (You need to set goals to collect this data.)
  • Sum of goal revenue: The revenue counted for the goal. (You need to set goals to collect this data.)
A channel report in Analytics.

By looking at the channel report you can easily see the ups and downs of your traffic and spot the sources that may be responsible for an increase or decrease in visits to your website. Knowing which channels are bringing people to your site you can think about investing money in campaigns, affiliates, bloggers, social media, or search engine optimization.

If you have lots of direct entries, it means people know your brand and want to reach out to you. Lots of people coming from other websites indicate that your brand has plenty of sites recommending you. Many visitors coming from campaigns show that your campaigns are running and engaging people. And lots of people reaching you thanks to search engines indicate that your website is well described for the search algorithm. 

However, if you see a high bounce rate for a channel you should be worried. It usually shows that people were expecting something seeing an ad, a search result, or a link and once they clicked they arrived at a place that is not meeting their needs.

Other reports

In the acquisition reports, you will find four other reports: search engines, websites & social, campaigns, and Google Search Console. Each of them will show you detailed information about each traffic source.

The search engine report gives details about search platforms used by people who reached your website. Most of your traffic will probably come from the Google search engine, as it’s the undefeated champion among search engines. If you click the source/medium in the report, you will see entry pages. With this information you’ll learn what content people look for in those search engines.

A search engine report in Analytics.

Tip: People used to analyze keywords that were typed in search engines, but at the moment most search platforms don’t share keywords. Therefore they can’t be presented in those types of reports. However, Google lets you peak at queries in the Google Search Console and we recommend integrating it with our tool.

The websites & social report shows all websites and social media sites thanks to which people reached your website. It’s a mine of knowledge about websites that recommend your business, bloggers who talk about your product or service, news articles that mentioned your brand, or social media that spread the word about who you are.

A website and social report in Analytics.

The campaign report gathers data about online campaigns that you are running such as paid search, Google Ads, Facebook ads, newsletter, and more. Yet, if you want to see this data in your reports, you need to track it using the Piwik PRO URL Builder or tag them manually. We will explain how to track campaigns in the future chapter. For now, you need to know that this type of report is available and you can use it once you set up a campaign.

A campaign report in Analytics.