If there’s one thing we love more than turning consumer data into actionable business insights, it’s helping small business owners make sense of all things digital marketing – including Google Analytics metrics.
Today we are going to break down, on a simple level, the components of Google Analytics and help you understand loads of data. Such as traffic to your website, popular web pages, and how your visitors are making their purchase decisions.
Before getting into the details of Google Analytics metrics, let’s break down what exactly Google Analytics is and why it is important for your business. Don’t worry all the content in this blog post is going to be simple and easy to understand.
Google Analytics is a service offered by Google to small business owners to let them see how their website is performing. It equips them with tons of data.
So how is it done?
You must be thinking we are going to set you free in a pool of technical jargon. Wrong. We are here to simplify all that for you.
After putting a piece of code in your website’s backend, you’re set to go. All it takes is just one snippet of code that can easily be put into place with user-friendly tools like Google Tag Manager or WordPress plugins.
You can also leave this task to our team of Google Analytics experts. But all you need to know is after putting this code into your website, you can turn on analytics tracking.
This will then deliver Google Analytics metrics that will tell you the exact number of people who are visiting your website every month. As well as metrics like how much time they are spending on specific pages. More on that below.
To a clueless business owner who is just starting out or is fairly non-technical, this may not sound fancy but trust us. Once we have explained all the Google Analytics metrics in simple and easy to understand terms, it will be the best thing to happen to your business. And more than that – it is completely FREE.
What are Google Analytics Metrics?
Some business owners throw this word around a lot. Agencies sprinkle it across their client presentations to look smart. Even Interns use it often to stress they know a thing or two about marketing. But we bet no one has taken the time out to explain what Google Analytics metrics really are. That’s where we come in as your hero (with this blog post).
A metric is a performance data set associated with actions on your website.
For example, how many people visited your website last week. Or how long do people stay on your website? These are the metrics that form the base of your website performance data.
Who Needs to See Google Analytics Metrics?
As a business owner and decision maker, you already know having a website is becoming more and more important for your business. So, you had a well designed website made. Now what?
Next, you turn to your website analytics data to see how your website is performing and if you need to make any updates to get better results.
Google Analytics Metrics, Explained!
Whether you are a new entrepreneur trying to get your head around the game or a time proven master of digital marketing. Chances are you still find yourself scratching your head when certain Google Analytics metrics are thrown at you.
Believe us. There is no shame in that.
So, let’s look at what exactly some of the most important Google Analytics metrics are for your business.
Few are the days now when your customers line up outside your store to get their hands on a new arrival. That’s when you know your product is successful. But times are changing. Over the previous decade, you must have witnessed how customers have started frequenting physical stores less and less. They now visit your website much more often than your store front.
Due to this Google Analytics metrics are important tools to have in your arsenal. They give you actionable data about your website. Data that you can use to make smart marketing and business decisions.
The most basic metric is Website Traffic. This metric tells you how many people visit your website over a defined period of time. Whether you’re increasing your traffic through Google paid ads or a content blog, this is a useful metric for business owners to see how their website is performing in terms of visitors.
2. Traffic Source
You advertise in dozens of places. Don’t you wish you knew which one works best? Now you can with the Traffic Source feature in Google Analytics.
With new channels of media consumption, came new ways of promoting your business. Today’s business owner has multiple ways to get people interested in his business. We help our clients get more traffic to their website all the time. With their Paid Search Advertising, Social Media Marketing and even Email Marketing.
There is no right combination to use and it depends on your business industry and audience. But it helps to know how your campaigns are performing in terms with your website traffic. Are they getting enough people to visit your website pages? Are users spending enough time on the landing page?
One of the most useful Google Analytics metrics is Traffic Source. It shows the exact source of the traffic on your website. This metric provides an easy way to know which channels are getting the most relevant traffic to your website.
3. Average Time Spent
With less and less foot traffic in stores, business owners miss out on the chance of having a business-to-customer relationship. No longer do they get to interact with their customers to learn more about their preferences like they used to before the dawn of online shopping. Which is why Google Analytics metrics are all the more important in today’s day and age.
This metric shows you how much time (on average) a user spends on your website. This is a good indication of how your website is performing in terms of content. If you see a low duration, it’s time to review your content strategy to something that fits your audience’s interest.
4. Average Pages Per Visit
Before, shoppers would walk into a store in the mall and depending on how long they stayed in the store would indicate if the store had products they wanted. The same can be said for today’s online stores. If a user stays on a page longer than others, then it can be concluded they liked the products on that page more than other pages.
This next metric from Google gives you an insight into just that. It’s called Average Pages Visited. In the same well-organized dashboard, it shows you how many pages on average a visitor navigates to before making a purchase or leaving. If used well, it can help you design the right navigation structure for your website.
5. Top Pages
It’s true that with online marketplaces and ecommerce websites, brands miss the opportunity to get their customers to “feel” the product that compels them enough to buy, especially an incredibly soft sweater. But with online websites, there are many more senses available to appeal to. It has become a game of content marketing.
What type of content can you show on our website that will interest the consumer enough to purchase from you?
Brands have started to understand this and put great thought into their content strategy. They have started to highlight much more information on their website other than location and products. Content like blogs, how-to videos, and even live model videos have started to get attention too.
But how can we know which page works and which does not? The Top Pages metric was designed to give you just that piece of information. It shows you exactly how your website pages are performing in terms of traffic, bounce rate, duration, etc. In which you can then keep what’s working and optimize the ones that are not.
6. Exit Pages
Just the way customers in a physical store leave after not finding what they want, similarly, users who don’t like what they see on the website, just leave. Nobody likes that and wants to right that wrong. But how exactly do we see which website pages cause the most people to leave? So that we can change that page.
That’s where this metric comes into play. Just as it’s titled, Exit Pages show you just which page caused the most of your traffic to leave. Whether it is your menu page, your services page, or maybe a new product page. If you start seeing a trend, it’s time to refresh your content for those pages.
Or you can also use these tips:
- Check all your pages in every browser and device, not just the popular ones. If someone lands on your webpage and it doesn’t display correctly, then that user will surely exit that page.
- Ensure that there are related content links on your pages to encourage users to stay longer on your website.
- Keep your web design updated. Even if you have great content, if your website is not aesthetically pleasing, users might not want to stay to learn more of what you have to offer.
This is a particularly interesting insight that we have used for brands and have witnessed wonders.
7. Bounce Rate
There are many Google Analytics metrics that indicate that you need a better website design or need an improved content strategy. Your website’s bounce rate metric is one of those indications that something needs to be changed.
A bounce in Google Analytics lingo means users who leave (hence bounce) after viewing a single web page. Bounce rate differs from Exit Pages in that if a customer bounces, that means there was nothing on that page that interested them about your brand, so they left all together.
If a user exits a page, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like your brand. They just may not have found what they were looking for or want to shop around.
Sessions 1, 2, and 4 contribute to your exit rate/exit pages. Session 3 refers to a bounced user and will increase your bounce rate.
If you have a high bounce rate, it indicates that people are leaving quickly because of bad content or that you are not targeting and funneling the right people to your website.
By just implementing a more well defined content strategy, we have helped clients reduce their bounce rates by as much as 60%. We could help your business see such growth as well! Contact us.
8. Unique Users vs Returning Users
The Rule of 80/20. It is a proven fact that 80% of your results often come from 20% of your efforts. This is true is business circles too. Where 80% of your business comes from only 20% of the customers. Part of this data stems from repeat customers. Which are much easier and cheaper to retain than it is to convert new customers.
In such a situation, wouldn’t it be amazing to keep an eye out for how many of your website visitors are new and how many of them are returning ones? Look no further. Your Google Analytics metrics have that covered, already.
9. User Behavior Flow
There are many Google Analytics metrics that will benefit your business. Not only in terms of defining which campaigns are bringing in the most return on investment. But also, to study your website visitors and their behaviors.
Next on our list is Behavior Flow data in Google Analytics. As the name suggests, this metric tracks how your users flow within your website by tracking the pages they visit. Right from the pages they start on to the pages they visit last before leaving and everything in between.
This information can allow you to make smart marketing decisions based on what information you want your users to see to be encouraged to make a purchase.
In today’s internet driven marketplace, people can easily order their favorite products without getting out of bed. From product discovery to review and finally getting it shipped to their door front is done virtually all online.
Due to this wider marketplace, you can greatly expand your reach and customer base. But the more you grow, sometimes the less you know. And that isn’t good for business. Google wants to help you with that. Wouldn’t it be awesome to know where all of your customers are coming from? Well, you can with the Location feature in Google Analytics metrics!
This feature tells you exactly where your site’s visitors are located. Take this data and leverage it for your future campaigns. You can devote more of your budget to marketing your products in the locations that have the most interested users.
Whether you’re a neighborhood business or a multinational corporation, chances are your brand will appeal to some people more than others. But it has become difficult knowing that with the user traffic shifting. With this shift in user behavior, business owners are left with a gap to fill. That’s where Google Analytics metrics like these come in…
There are quite a few other useful demographic metrics in Google Analytics. But the age metric shows you the exact age range of the visitors on your website. This is helpful to know how to adjust your branding and better appeal to your customers. Taking that insight, successful brands make content changes and run ad campaigns specifically targeting their user base. And often see more conversions when these changes are made.
12. Site Speed & Recs
Google Analytics also does a good job of highlighting how each of your pages is performing in terms of load speeds.
For a better user experience, it is important for your website pages to load quickly. Sometimes the fixes are easy, and sometimes they are more technical. But this metric dives into how long your pages take to load and further gives you recommendations to fix them.
13. Breakdown by Platforms
You think computers disrupted the marketplace? Think again. We live at a time where it is not unheard of for businesses to witness upwards of 70% of their transactions and views coming from a mobile device. Google Analytics also has the ability to show you a metric that breaks down sessions by user device. Even down to the brand and model of device.
This information can be useful when creating graphics for your website. If you know the most popular screen size for your customers, you can make adjustments as necessary.
There are a few other metrics that can be coupled in this. Business owners can also see which operating systems and browsers users are utilizing to access their website. A lot of optimizations can be made based of this information. Sure, we’re getting into the more technical side of things now. But it is definitely something that will bring value to your decision table.
14. Social Traffic
Social media has become one of the most influential channels for a brand to showcase itself. It contributes to an increase in the amount of traffic to your website. Wouldn’t it be helpful to see which social channel generates the most traffic for your website?
One metric that is built inside Google Analytics helps you see just that. The social media metric here shows a breakdown of your traffic from different social media channels. This lets you determine which social channel is best suited for your business and brings you the most relevant traffic.
What these Google Analytics Metrics Mean for Your Business
Alright, we now understand some of the most basic Google Analytics metrics there are to know. There is much more to learn, but these are a great start to help you with your content! But how else can they be useful for your business?
For starters, it’s free. Yes, you heard it right. It’s absolutely free. All these Google Analytics metrics can be yours to know for free. All it takes is that code we talked about earlier and Google will start tracking user activity.
Our team has Google Analytics experts who can set it up for you so that you can start receiving these awesome metrics. All for yourself.
Second, it organizes all these important metrics and information in one easy simple dashboard. All the information you will ever need to know about your website is right in one dashboard with easy to navigate buttons.
There are some more advanced features like UTM link tracking and conversion goals that let you track your website purchases too. You can also track your exact return on investment if you apply a value to these conversions.
Keep scrolling if we have kept you interested…
Now that we know you are still interested in learning more about these Google Analytics metrics, we can give you a quick and easy rundown of what these additional features are.
15. Extra Bonus Information: UTM Parameters
UTM parameters are campaign information that you add to the end of a URL. Once you create the UTM URL, just sit back and let the magic happen. In return, Google Analytics will tell you exactly when a user visited your website through that UTM link and how he or she behaved. This is some really important information for business owners who want to know how their different campaigns are performing.
Next is setting conversion goals in Google Analytics. This metric lets you set specific goals for your website. Like every time someone fills out a form or every time someone makes a purchase on your website. Just like that you are then able to see exactly which pages or content sources are contributing to those goals. Isn’t that a powerful piece of information to bring to the table? We will let you be the judge.
If you want to become a master like most of our clients (who had no clue that all this information was just an arms reach away from them), have a quick chat with our team today. Set up really is simple, but just because something is simple, that doesn’t mean you have time for it. We understand that. Which is why we have specialists waiting to help you.
We’ve seen the insight that Google Analytics metrics provide for not only us but our hundreds of other clients as well. We would love to see what it can do for you! We know it will change the way you do business for good and for the better.