Understanding the Google Analytics Data Model Simplified 101



If you know how your website is performing and the challenges to Optimal Performance, you can optimize it for the better. Information regarding the number of website visitors and their user behavior is key to improvement. Do not worry; a few solutions will accomplish this work for you with only a few basic tweaks to your website – like Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free Web Analytics application that allows you to evaluate the traffic on your website.

Even though “Web Analytics” may appear to be a minor aspect of your online presence, Google Analytics provides critical data that may have far-reaching implications.

This article will see how the Google Analytics Data Model gathers data and how you can utilize that data.

Table of Contents

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics Data Model: Google Analytics logo
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Google Analytics is a Web Analytics service that offers essential Analytical Tools and Statistics for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Marketing. It is used to monitor website performance and gather information about visitors. 

Google Analytics assists businesses in determining the top sources of user traffic, tracking goal completions (such as online purchases and adding products to carts), identifying patterns and trends in user engagement, and obtaining other visitor data and other Demographics. Retail websites frequently use Google Data to collect and analyze various customer Behavior Analytics data to improve Marketing Campaigns, generate Website Traffic, and retain Customers.

How does Google Analytics work?

Google Analytics embeds numerous lines of tracking code in your website’s code. Google Analytics extracts user data from each website visitor using JavaScript page tags embedded in the code of each page needing tracking. This tag runs in the visitor’s web browser when they visit the page, collecting data and sending it to Google’s data collection servers. 

When users visit your website, the code captures their behaviors and various attributes (such as age, gender, and interests where available). Once a user leaves your website, it sends all that data to the Google Analytics Server.

Google Analytics then aggregates the data acquired from your website in a variety of ways, notably on four levels:

  • User-level (related to actions by each user)
  • Session level (each visit)
  • Pageview level (each page visited)
  • Event level (button clicks, video views, etc.)
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What type of data does Google Analytics collect, and how can we use it?

Google Analytics Data Model helps to collect two types of data.

1) User Acquisition Data 

It provides data about your users before visiting your website.

Before users visit your website, you can get information about their Demographics (e.g., age, gender, and interests). 

You can also find the source of your website visitors, whether through Facebook, other websites, or a Google search. These statistics are referred to as “User Acquisition Data” since they can assist in determining which user groups and channels to target.

It’s crucial to understand User Acquisition Data to increase website traffic. User Acquisition Data illustrates how clients find their way to the website. Customers can come via various means, including Paid and Unpaid Search Engine results, Social Network Links, and directly entering the URL. 

The aspects of your website visitors, such as their preferred Media Channel and Demographic Data, are inherent in the people themselves. You won’t be able to adjust these characteristics substantially.

2) User Behavior Data

The second type of data is “User Behavior” information gathered throughout a user’s visit to your website. Data on “User Behavior” includes:

  • How long did a particular user stay on your site?
  • What are their first and last pages on your website? 
  • What is the most common “route” through your website?

Unlike “User Acquisition” data, you can modify your website to change “User Behavior” data. The idea is to employ a variety of analyses to pinpoint the sites on which your users face challenges or become “Stuck.” You can then smooth out these problem pages, the user experience should be such that people can easily convert to paying clients.

User behavior data reveals what clients are doing and how they interact with the website, the time spent on each page, the number of webpage visits, and whether or not they interact with Videos and Graphics. You can utilize the information to design web layouts that better connect users to the information they want, resulting in a better user experience. 

User experiences tailored to their preferences are more likely to result in Sales and Conversions. Data on “User Behavior” can help you optimize your website so that more of your visitors convert, whether that means making a purchase or signing up for your newsletter.

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Google Analytics Data Model Simplified

The Google Analytics Data Model has three components: Users, Sessions, and Interactions.

  • User is someone who visits the website or application that we wish to track.
  • Session is the amount of time a person spends on a website or service.
  • An Interaction occurs when a user interacts with a website or application.

Some of the most popular Metrics are:

  • Users: Unique or new visitors to the website.
  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of visitors who visited only a single page resulting in only a single request logged to the Google Analytics server.
  • Sessions: The set of visitor interactions with the website within a 30-minute activity window.
  • Average Session Duration: Average time a visitor stays on the website.

Consider an example of a fashion clothing store. In the case of a physical clothes store, some consumers come in only once, and others come in regularly. Customers can contact the person during their visit, for example, to inquire about the arrival of clothing they saw advertised. The customer will arrive on another occasion, select the dress, try it, and purchase it.

Like a fashion clothing store, a website has visitors (users), some of whom visit only once and others multiple times. Each visit is a session in Google Analytics. We can observe two interactions in the first example (enter the store and ask for the clothing) and four in the second case (enter the store, choose the garment, try it on and buy it). 

Users and Sessions are linked, just as customers and the number of times they visit any physical store.

As a store, clerks can recognize regular customers, google analytics can detect repeat users across numerous sessions. Google analytics data model treats each interaction as a particular outcome, anything from page views to events to transactions. Using the Google Analytics website, users can strategize to solve website issues and show the right color and choice of products to the specific target audience who are most likely to buy. 

Google Analytics Data Modeling

You can use a few Data Modeling steps with Google Analytics like the following. 

Data filtering: Applying data filters when loading Google Analytics data via the API in data visualization software ensures faster queries and smaller and compact datasets.

Data editing and transforming: Data editing and transforming volumes of data come under the ETL process. It is always better to edit and transform the data before initiation. You can make sure that data types are recognized, names of marketing campaigns or relevant products match each other, etc.

Commonly used data editing and transformation operations are:

  • Change data types
  • Change row headers
  • Delete null values
  • Merge and Append
  • Split or merge columns
  • Add columns based on formulas

The Google Analytics Data Model consists of four main subject areas:

  • Location Dimensions
  • System Dimensions
  • Personal & Acquisition Dimensions
  • Pages & Sessions

For example, you can use Location Dimensions as follows.

Goole Analytics Data Model


Google Analytics Data Model is critical in understanding your website visitors and helps identify Customer Behavior to improve website traffic and retain customers by performing analyses on the data collected and providing rich, actionable insights. In case you want to export data from a source of your choice into your desired Database/destination then Hevo Data is the right choice for you! 

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Share your experience of learning about the Google Analytics Data Model! Let us know in the comments section below!

Sageena P Kunju
Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Sageena loves exploring data science and is passionate about making an impact in data teams' by unraveling the complexities of data integration and analysis through insightful content on intricate subjects.

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