How to Track User Location in Google Analytics?

No matter how big or small your business is, the Google Analytics location report can be put to good use. Tracking user location in Google Analytics is very useful for understanding your audience, which helps you with tailoring your marketing and advertising strategy. Learning where your visitors are located helps you determine which markets are good for your business and where your marketing or services may need some improvement. But, before we explain how you can track user location in Google Analytics, we’ll discuss what Google Analytics is and how it actually works. So, let’s dive in!

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a tool that helps you learn how users find and use your site. Thanks to Google Analytics (GA), you can obtain advanced metrics and data regarding your website traffic. These metrics can help you learn a lot about your users. This way, you can modify and improve your marketing strategies to ensure marketing success, SEO, and boost your conversions. With this knowledge, you can measure, predict, and meet, even exceed the users’ needs. In addition to standard reports, you can use GA’s User ID feature to get more detailed reports for the registered users.

How does Google Analytics work?

As you know, data management can help your business grow. Now, let’s see how Google Analytics works – how it collects data, how that data is processed and how reports are made.

A small piece of JavaScript tracking code is used so as to collect data about a website’s visitors and their interactions on that website. So, first, you need to create a Google Analytics account and then add the script on your site. Afterwards, Google Analytics drops a cookie in the user’s browser. It will help to track every interaction that user performs on your site. That way, you can track the user’s every action on your site, like loading a page or clicking a link. The tracking code sends information, called a hit, to Google Analytics about the user’s interaction on your website. This hit is actually a URL string with parameters of relevant information regarding the user that triggered the hit.

When we break down the string, we can get various pieces of information, such as the language of the browser, the name of the page the user is on, the analytics ID, the user’s device and its display resolution, etc. Using other sources, such as IP address, server-log files, and other data, Google Analytics collects even more data. Thanks to this additional data, you can find out things like your users’ location, browser, operating system, age, gender, most viewed pages, etc. With the User ID tracking feature, you get all of those reports but for individual users.

How can you track user location in Google Analytics?

The locations report can be found under Demographics in the Audience section. GA uses the visitors’ IP addresses and where internet providers assign those ranges to find the location. Unfortunately, the data may not always represent exactly what you expect. You see, Google Analytics determines the users’ location based on where their IP is – where their Internet connection is, not where they actually are. On a country level, the data is quite accurate around the world. However, according to Google, mobile devices sometimes show inaccurate cities.

Levels of detail

Depending on the level of detail, there are several options. At a high level of detail, there is Continents, Sub-Continent Regions, and Country/Territory. You can also see regions in certain countries. In the USA, there are states, while in Canada, there are provinces. City data is also available worldwide. There is also the option of “Metros” in the USA. These are basically Designated Marketing Areas. What level of detail is suitable for your business depends on its organization. Perhaps you want to market to an international audience and target users across the globe, or only a few countries/cities where you do business.

Sometimes, it happens that a location is (not set). (Not set) means that the data has not been captured for some reason. When it comes to location tracking in Google Analytics, it means that GA has not been able to find out where the user is located from their IP address. A lot of visits that cannot be determined come from mobile devices.

Navigating the Google Analytics location report

There are many different ways to use the GA location report to your advantage:

  • Clicking through the report links
  • Clicking through on the map
  • Reviewing goal and ecommerce data for each report
  • Using the additional links for City, Continent and Sub Continent Region
  • Applying advanced segments to the reports
  • Using location dimensions in advanced segments to analyze data in other reports

Let’s take a look at two interesting features.

The map

The map is a visual aid that can help you track user location in Google Analytics. Is shows the locations that had the most visits and those that didn’t have any. By hovering over a country, you’ll see the country’s name and how many visits the website saw from that country. By clicking on a country on the map, you can zoom in and see the breakdown of data by region. In some areas, you can see the data for the cities and towns.

The Location Report Table

Each time you click on a country or city on the map or in the table, you can see a more detailed data breakdown in the table. This will come in handy when comparing performance across locations. For example, if you have a poor conversion rate in one city compared to another, you can promote an offer so as to boost the conversion rate where needed. Also, if you get traffic from a location where you don’t operate, you may consider expanding your business to that area. If you choose to move your business with some assistance, GA will help you find the best location.

Setting up GA User ID reporting

In order to track user location on Google analytics, first, you’ll need a GA account. When you log into the web interface, click on “Admin”. Next, expand the “Tracking info” setting and click on “User-ID”. On the next page, enable the ID tracking feature and create a User-ID view which shows you data from registered users. Finally, you can create a GA Custom Dimension that tracks the user ID.