Common Metrics in Google Analytics

If you’ve read our articles on the tracking codes you need on your site you’ll know Google Analytics is top priority for all sites. Google Analytics allows you to see how many people are coming to your site, where they’re coming from, and what they’re doing. Without some sort of traffic tracking software, like Google Analytics, you can’t monitor and improve your digital marketing strategy.

Thankfully Google Analytics is free to use and easy to install. But once it’s set up, what do you do with it?

Well, firstly it needs to collect data. Google Analytics can’t give you data from before you installed the tracking code, so it needs time for things to come through. Once data comes through, you can analyse the data and optimise your digital marketing campaign.

Key Google Analytics Metrics

One of our favourite reports in Google Analytics is the acquisition channels report. This report tells you what channels users are coming from, like if they’re coming directly to your site, via organic search (search engines), social media, etc.

This report can be found under Acquisition, then All Traffic, then Channels, as pictured below.

Example Google Analytics data

There are a few key terms that you can see in the example above. This is actual client data (used with permission) of a client who had recently stopped paid promotion via Facebook and Google Ads since they felt they were generating enough traffic from search engines. Metrics to look at include:

  • Users: this is the individual people who have visited your website. So if you have five different people come to your site during the reporting period, that’s five users.
  • New Users: these are users who have never been to your site before. This is a good indicator of whether people are coming back to your site or whether you’re gaining new visitors from an online marketing campaign.
  • Sessions: a session is just a visit to your website, regardless of how long they’re on your site or how many pages they visit. So if a user just goes to your homepage and leaves, that’s a session. A session may also involve a user going to your site and visiting multiple pages. This is still one session.
  • Bounce Rate: this is the percentage of sessions where users only visit one page then leave.
  • Pages/Session: this is the average number of pages a user visits during a session. So if a user goes to your homepage, about us page, and contact page during a session, this is a session with three page views.
  • Average Session Duration: this is the average amount of time a user spends on a site during a session.

Using these metrics you can understand a lot about your site, how users are behaving and whether your digital marketing campaign is achieving its goals. Examples include:

  • Improving site SEO: you may want to look at the amount of users and sessions via Organic Search over time. Early on in an SEO campaign you may see behavioural metrics like bounce rate and session duration decline, but things will level out over time.
  • Encouraging Customer Loyalty: actions such as newsletters, content marketing, and a strong social media presence can help with customer loyalty, and obviously you want to see if these campaigns are working. Looking at the percent of new users versus all users lets you know how many are coming back to the site. Comparing total users to the amount of sessions gives an impression of how many sessions users have on average.
  • Improving User Experienceif you’ve been having trouble keeping people on your site or getting people to convert, improving your site’s user experience may be needed. Behavioural metrics like bounce rate and pages per session are a signifier of positive or negative user experience.

These are just some examples, but if you’ve properly defined your campaign goals, it’s easy to focus on the metrics needed.

Other Metrics and Reports to Look At

We’ll cover our second favourite report in a later article, but with the basics covered above you can understand a lot. 

A lot of digital marketing is just about generating site traffic. The more people who come to your website the more likely your site will generate a sale or a lead. The channel report shown above gives a good impression of traffic generation.

For any digital marketing campaign we usually start here and then move deeper in order to understand what’s working and what’s not in a given campaign then optimise from there.