No matter how advanced and technical marketing tools have become over the years, nothing can replace the one and only Google Analytics. According to Databox, Google Analytics is “a powerful and accessible (free) tool that lets marketers track more than 200 metrics that span the entire funnel—from acquisition to conversion.” As Google Analytics has a ton of capabilities, your company must focus on the metrics that will be most beneficial. A Google Analytics metric analyzes a unit of information during a selected period. The data collected can be used to assess your company’s performance over that timeframe.
To most effectively utilize metrics, your company must sit down together to discuss how you are performing. Before we dive deeper into the top 10 metrics to track, keep in mind these three questions:
- Is our company’s website presence growing, and do we frequently get new visitors?
- What do customers do on our website; how many pages do they visit, how long do they interact with it, etc.?
- What is the conversion rate? A conversion rate describes the percentage of website visitors who also make a purchase on the site.
Now that you have a better grasp of how metrics can be helpful, it is time to learn about the top 10 metrics to track.
The term “Users” translates to “unique visitor” in the world of Google Analytics. As soon as you log into Google Analytics, you will see the users on the dashboard.
Each time a new visitor lands on your site, they will be assigned a unique ID that will be stored as a cookie in their browser. This metric is effective because if a visitor returns, Google Analytics will log them in as a returning visitor. However, there is a catch. If you visit the site on Google Chrome and then Safari, you will be logged in as two separate users.
“Users” is the most tracked Google Analytic. Marketers are increasingly concerned with how often new people visit their website, as opposed to the number of sessions each visitor logs.
- Bounce Rate
A bounce is a single-page session on your website. For instance, if a user opens a single page and then exits the site without triggering another request, they “bounced.” Thus, the bounce rate displays what percentage of visitors produced only one request. It is the ratio between the number of single-page sessions, or bounces, and the total number of sessions. A high bounce rate can be damaging if success on your website depends on users browsing through more than one page. However, a high bounce rate can be expected and positive if the site is a single page of information.
A Session occurs every time someone visits your website. It measures the time from when someone logs onto your page to thirty minutes after inactivity. Every action on your site is tracked during this one session; therefore, if the same user revisits your site the next day, a new session is counted. Sessions are not practical when tracking unique users for this reason.
- Average Session Duration
The average session duration describes how long, on average, visitors stay on your website and is calculated by dividing the total duration of all sessions (in seconds) by the total number of sessions. Google Analytics finds individual session durations by subtracting the time of the first hit on the last page from the time of the first hit on the first page. Tracking average session duration allows your company to understand the average time people spend on content on your website. If the number is low, maybe it is time to rethink the layout or scope of your website to increase the time people spend on it.
- Percentage of New Sessions
If a visitor does not already have a client ID, they will be logged into a new session. The percentage of new sessions is the total percentage of first-time sessions on your website in a given amount of time. This metric is useful when tracking the retention of users and how successful your company is at gaining new users.
- Sessions by Channel
Google Analytics utilizes channel groupings. These groupings characterize your website traffic so your company can track the performance of individual channels (organic, paid, direct, social, email, etc.). These respective channels are utilized when analyzing the overall sessions by channel, as the sessions by channel is the number of sessions attributed to each channel grouping. Tracking sessions by channel can help your company identify where the largest audiences originate from and what channels need improvement.
- Pages Per Session
Pages per session, or pageviews per session, refers to the average number of pages on your website that users access per session. It is calculated by dividing the website’s total pageviews by the total number of sessions. A high average of “pages per session” is positive because it indicates that the average visitor is interested in exploring your website beyond the landing page.
- Goal Completions
Goals on Google Analytics measure how successful your company is at fulfilling its target objectives. A goal, also known as a conversion, describes a completed activity that will aid your business in becoming more successful. Goal completion represents the number of times a website visitor accomplishes a goal on your website. Goals will vary between companies based on what they are trying to accomplish. Examples of goals include the number of purchases, signups, or visits to a specific URL.
According to Google Analytics Help, “goals can be applied to specific pages or screens your users visit, how many pages/screens they view in a session, how long they stay on your site or app, and the events they trigger while they are there.” Goals are assigned a monetary value so your company can measure the value of the conversion. Thus, tracking goals is essential to the overall success of your company.
Any view of a page being tracked by Google Analytics is a pageview. If you land on a page, reload the same page, or leave the page and come back, you just completed three separate page views. Pageviews can help your company ensure that new and returning visitors spend time on your website viewing various content from different pages.
- Pageviews by Page
Pageviews by page show the number of pageviews each page of your site received in a specific period. Tracking pageviews by page can help your company discover which pages are most visited and can aid in SEO. We promise that if you track these 10 metrics, you will learn more about your visitors, accomplish more goals, and gain the ability to improve your website. We hope you learned something valuable about tracking Google Analytics metrics. If you have any further questions or are seeking advice, feel free to reach out