Regionalized Data by Population

visits by population metrics

Do you ever use the geographic reports available across all digital metrics tools? Sure we all take a look to see where the largest subset of users are coming from, and from time to time may even break that down to see which users by geographic region are converting at the highest level. But what does that tell us? Are we measuring the right metric? dimension?

As a digital analyst I struggled with this for one client in-particular that had a large presence in five well populated U.S. states (New York, Florida, Illinois, Texas and California). The problem was that they were trying to appeal to the entire country, but always saw (via their geographic reports) that those five states dominated the sessions on their site.

My thought process:

1. While this is true is it really dominating if indeed they are the five most populous states and could easily send the most traffic to any site?

2. What is a better way to look at this data and get a more normalized result?

The answer:

Sessions by population. Ding! (that’s the bell going off in my head)

I immediately went to find the latest census data for population by state. It is very easy to then download the total visits over a given time period and compare that to the population of a given state.

total visits by state

We see above that California, for instance, had the highest number of total visits to this site in June. I completely overlook California’s eastern neighbor, Nevada which seemingly has a low number of total visits. Dividing the total number of visits per each state by the estimated population of the state will instantly give you a deeper look and feel on just how many sessions are generated from that state based on the population, and therefore potential.

visits per capita map

With this example above we can see that while California has generated more overall visits, Nevada wins in the visits by population category.

Is this the entire story, of course not. Going back to the first paragraph of this post, we always want to look at conversion rate as a high ranking metric (usually the highest ranking), but discovering sessions by population or another metrics on a per capita level will help you to dig deeper into data, explore more possibilities and even lend a hand in increasing those conversion percentages along the way.

Chris Kujawski

Founder and instructor at Digital Metrics Guru.

A passionate and driven digital marketer, specializing in Google Analytics, Tag Manager and Data Studio. A qualified expert in Google Analytics and Adwords, with more than 10 years experience delivering sound solutions to clients worldwide.

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