Firstly, What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a powerful tracking tool that allows you to gain a variety of performance insights on your website. And the best part about it is…..it’s completely FREE! You can also use it to measure ad performance, using PPC, with the likes of Facebook.
What is a Google Analytics Metric?
Google Analytics helps you make data-led marketing decisions. However, sometimes this data can be quite overwhelming to digest into actionable insights. To help, Google has categorised the data collected from your website into two types: dimensions and metrics. In short, dimensions include more user-optimised data such as their geographic location or age. Whereas metrics include quantitative data such as the number of users and how many website pages they visited. For the purpose of this blog post, we are going to be taking a look into the metrics and the most important Google Analytics metrics to track! So, we’d recommend you keep on reading….
What are the Most Important Google Analytics to Track?
When looking at metrics, we at Girls in Marketing like to take inspiration from the Google Analytics dashboard which is organised in four categories.
Audience, Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversions.
The reason being is that allows us to learn the ‘story’ hidden behind the data. You can understand a unique consumer journey by breaking down the data and analysing the metrics that fall within each of the parts of a journey. The ABC Funnel is one of our favourites here within the Girls in Marketing team.
So, let’s begin with….
Although the audience category is not a stand-alone part of the traditional ABC funnel, understanding who is visiting your website plays a huge part in solidifying a robust marketing strategy for any business. We think the most important Google Analytics metrics to track when it comes to an audience are:
- Age/Gender – The basic demographics of any audience, is their age and gender. These metrics can really be valuable to guide any specific targeting campaigns on social media.
- Location – The geographic location of your users. This metric can be extremely useful to see if you have a global audience or a more niche audience from a specific country that you can focus more of your marketing efforts on.
The acquisition is the first point of call when looking at the ABC funnel for your website’s performance. Metrics within this category can really help you compare the traffic of different marketing channels. The numerical metrics we suggest you closely monitor are:
- Users – The number of visitors to your site which can include both new and returning visitors. This should be a staple when reviewing the performance of any website to learn how much traffic it is receiving.
- Sessions – A session is considered as a period of time from when a user enters a website to when they leave. Within this time, a user can have many interactions such as clicking on multiple pages or completing a goal.
When taking a deep dive into acquisition, it’s important to use the above metrics and compare these with different channel sources to learn where the highest volume of traffic is coming from, such as organic search, social media or direct. This tactic can be extremely useful when planning a marketing campaign to target audiences on a specific channel.
Seeing how visitors navigate and flow through a website gives you a firm understanding of user intent. It’s common knowledge that most users are not browsing the internet just for pleasure. Now more than ever users have a thought process behind every website visit. To help gain some insight into this user behaviour, we think the below metrics are the ones to keep a close eye on:
- Pageviews – Measure the total number of pages viewed on your website. This is a great metric to provide insight into what are the top-performing pages on a site.
- Average session duration – This metric measures the average length of sessions on a website. For the majority of websites, a higher average session duration number suggests a well-performing site as it shows users are interested in your website’s content.
- Pages per session – The average number of pages viewed during a session on a website. More pages per session mean that users are engaged and exploring more of your site. Internal linking is a huge part of publishing successful content and therefore if your pages per session metric are low, consider using more internal links to other pages and content within your website to encourage site exploration.
- Bounce rate – Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of visitors that leave a webpage without taking an action, such as clicking on a link, filling out a form or making a purchase. If a page on a website has a high bounce rate, this would indicate that the landing pages are not relevant to your website visitors. A negative user experience can have a detrimental impact on a website’s performance so all landing page content must be appropriate for your target audience.
Conversions – the final part of the ABC funnel. A conversion occurs when a visitor takes an action on a website and ‘converts’ to a customer. These conversions can come in many forms and do not always equate to a purchase or sale. For example, for some organisations, a website conversion may look like signing up to an email newsletter or downloading a brochure. We think there are two important conversion metrics to track:
- Goal completions – Goals can be set up in Google Analytics and can range from spending 5+ minutes on the site to signing up to an email list. Goal completions simply describes the number of goals that have been completed by visitors on a website.
- Conversion rate – The percentage of visitors to your website who complete a (goal) conversion. Always make sure to compare your conversion rate to the total number of visitors for a more accurate representation of the conversion success. Because, if your website has a 100% conversion rate but only 1 visitor, then you know to not yet jump to conclusions.
Takeaway – we think Google Analytics metrics are something to shout about….especially the important ones! Metrics are also a great way to measure any marketing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that you may have set to measure the success of a campaign.
And if you are feeling overwhelmed by Google Analytics and don’t know where to start, we’d recommend taking Google Analytics for Beginners online course. Give it a go!