Every website owner needs a system to measure the performance of their website or marketing campaigns. They might either rely on the expertise offered by companies (like KNIME) of caliber or opt for the free tool, Google Analytics. This tool enables businesses to make decisions based on useful insights they get out of the analytics report.
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Here are the top 8 essential metrics in the Google Analytics report that will help businesses understand their audience to maximize their campaigns.
- Bounce Rate
The bounce rate metric refers to the percentage of all sessions on your website that bounced. A bounce means a “single-page session” on your site.
For example, a user visits your “daycare center for toddler in Newmarket” page on your website, does not interact with it, and suddenly leaves. This act is counted as a bounce because that user did not trigger additional engagement hits or requests to the server.
Bounce rates are helpful when you want to know if users are satisfied with the content they find on your site. In the analytics report, you’d be happy if you see a low bounce rate because that means users love your content which means stay longer on your site.
Bounce rate is automatically displayed on the default Google Analytics dashboard upon logging in. You can also go to Audience > Overview to check your site’s overall bounce rate. If you want to further investigate the individual page bounce rates, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
- Average Time on Page
The Average Time on Page tracks the average time people spend on a single page. With this metric, you can measure how engaged people are with the content.
For instance, people usually spend more time on blog pages. But, if these pages have low average time on page, you may need to employ some changes that help increase engagement.
Hint: Your blog pages may benefit from multimedia content, such as audio, infographics, videos, images, charts, etc.
Go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages> Avg. Time on Page column to view this metric.
- Landing Pages
In Google Analytics, a landing page is the entry point of your website. It means that it’s the first page that a visitor lands on every time they pay your site a visit. Here’s an example of a landing page: SEO Toronto.
Analyzing the landing pages report can help you understand how people find your site and how they behave after that. Through this, you can come up with strategies on how to optimize your top landing pages to grow your traffic or even increase conversions.
If one of your top landing pages encourages visitors to explore further in your website, you can copy the best practices of that page and apply them to other pages.
Go to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages to find your website’s top landing pages.
- Exit Pages/Exit Rate
A website’s exit page is simply the last page viewed by a visitor before exiting your site. It could be a Thank You page, Checkout Page, or any other page that a user visits before ending a session. The metric is called Exit Rate.
Examining exit pages and knowing which pages most visitors exit from can offer insights as to how to optimize these pages. The goal is to keep visitors on your site and make them interact with it.
Take a look at this user journey in most e-commerce websites as an example.
Home Page > Product Page > Checkout Page > Thank You Page
If most users leave your website through a Thank You page, that means the exit rate for this page is high. However, it isn’t a bad rate considering that people purchased your products(s) before leaving your site.
But if the high exit rate happens on a Checkout Page, it could mean that some things on that page are preventing them from completing the purchase. Review your Checkout page and look out for possible issues to fix to improve user experience.
Hint: Keep the fields to a minimum, improve page load speed, or eliminate some crawl errors in the process.
Exit pages can be found by going to Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages.
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In Google Analytics, the Users metric measures the unique visitors that come to your website.
Whenever a new visitor comes to your site, Google Analytics gives them a unique ID which is stored as a cookie in their browsers. If the same visitor lands on your website using a different browser, Google Analytics will give them another ID. In effect, those two visits by the same person are counted separately.
Users is the most tracked metric and it’s helpful for measuring the effectiveness of campaigns designed to acquire new users.
You can find Users on the Google Analytics default dashboard. Alternatively, you can go to Audience > Overview to view the data for this metric.
The Devices metric lets you know the number of users who visit your website across all devices – mobile, tablet, or desktop.
Knowing what devices visitors use when accessing your site can help you decide whether to focus your efforts on enhancing user experience on a specific device.
This metric is easily accessible in the Audience > Mobile > Overview section.
- Traffic Sources (Channels and Source/Medium)
Every traffic to your website has a source or origin. In other words, people who visit your site must come from somewhere else. They don’t just magically show up. Here are some traffic sources you should watch out for in Google Analytics.
- Source displays where the traffic to your website comes from (ie.g., search engines, referring websites, etc).
- Medium will give you an idea of how the user arrives at your website (e.g., organic, paid, etc)
- A glimpse at the Channels metric lets you know the groups of traffic sources within the same medium (e.g., organic search, paid search, direct, social, and so on).
Traffic sources can provide an insight into how leads or potential customers land on your site. If you want to check the traffic on your event furniture rental Toronto page, you’ll know which channels are drawing traffic and leads, or whether your email marketing campaigns are successful at bringing customers to your site.
To view these metrics, go to Acquisition > Overview, Channels, and Source/Medium sections.
The Sessions metric measures the volume of visits to your website. GA counts a session whenever someone arrives on your website.
A session starts when a visitor arrives at your site and concludes after 30 minutes of inactivity. Every form of engagement (ie., click, transaction, pageview, etc.,) recorded during this time frame counts as one session.
A new session counts if the same visitor comes back to your website a couple of hours later or the following day. Thus, it is possible to get multiple sessions from one visitor alone.
Understanding Sessions reports can help you assess whether your SEO efforts or marketing campaigns are working. It lets you know the average session time people interact with your website and whether to make additional efforts to increase that time.
You can access Sessions by navigating to Audience > Overview section in Google Analytics. The Overview section also displays additional details like New Users, Bounce Rate, Pages per Session, and Average Session Duration.
Analyzing data from your website or marketing efforts starts with identifying the metrics that are relevant to your business. Then, monitor and analyze the data to gain an understanding of how to improve your site for better user engagement or greater conversions.