Google Analytics has emerged as the go-to tool for measuring website traffic and other performance factors for small businesses as well as large enterprises. While Google Analytics is pretty user-friendly, it has tons of features and metrics, which can become quite overwhelming.
Worry not, because in this post, you’ll learn about seven of the most important Google metrics to track to get better insights about your website and content. If you haven’t set up your Google Analytics account yet, make sure to read about the basics of getting started with Google Analytics. And don’t forget to do a site audit to find out exactly where your site stands and what needs to be updated.
Understanding the Differences between Dimensions vs. Metrics
Before we dive into the topic, let’s spend a couple of minutes understanding the two basic building blocks of Google Analytics – dimensions and metrics.
Simply put, dimensions describe data.
For instance, the geographical location data is described by the following dimensions – zip code, city, state, coordinates, and more. Dimensions in the report help you segment, organize, and analyze data. Some dimensions you come across in Google Analytics include demographics, geographic locations, landing pages, traffic sources, and more.
Metrics, on the other hand, measure data.
They are numbers that are calculated as a sum or ratio. For instance, for the dimension “geographical location,” the associated metric could be “population.” Some popular metrics you come across in Google reports include total number of visits, pages visited, time spent on each page, bounce rate, conversion rate, and more.
Now, let’s move on to the pressing question.
What Metrics should I be Looking at?
1. Acquisition Overview
This is one section where you’ll be spending most of your time. You can get here by clicking on Acquisition>Overview once you log into your Google Analytics account. It helps you track all of your traffic sources and figure out ways to boost website traffic.
According to SEO and internet marketing guru, Neil Patel, “Traffic is the most important metric, because it enables everything else – conversion and engagement.”
The key metrics in this tab are organic search, social media, direct hits, and referrals, along with a few others.
Additionally, it also gives you information about the number of sessions, average session duration, percentage of new sessions, bounce rates, and more. This is where you get a bird’s eye view of your website traffic and find out how users are engaging with your site.
Once you set up goals, you can also track goals and conversions in this section.
2. Social Overview
To get to the Social Overview tab, click on Acquisition>Social. This tab measures the impact of social media channels on your site. Using this, you can easily find where your content gets shared the most, the flow of users through your site, on-site user engagement, and more.
You can also set up unique goals for your social media channels here. (And, about goal-setting, we’ll get to that in a few minutes).
According to Scott David Cook, co-founder of Intuit, “A brand is no longer what we tell the customer it is. It’s what customers tell each other it is.”
Take a leaf from his book, and start monitoring your social presence closely. This will involve monitoring what people are saying about your brand and how they’re engaging with you.
3. Bounce Rate
According to Google, a bounce is defined as a single-page session. It occurs when a user lands on your site, checks just a single page, and ends the session, without visiting any other pages. You can track bounce rates by clicking on Audience>Overview.
The average bounce rate varies from one industry to another. According to a survey by Brafton, here are the industry benchmarks for 2017:
If you find your site’s bounce rate is higher than the industry standard, then it pays to investigate more and set things right.
4. Behavior Flow
You can find this section under the Behavior Tab. In my opinion, this is one of the most exciting features of Google Analytics. It gives you access to follow the journey of a visitor right from the moment they land on your site.
It gives you a clear view of the behavioral pattern of your visitors in an easy-to-decipher flowchart. You can quickly find out which pages are attracting the most hits, the navigational patterns followed by your visitors, and which pages are they exiting on.
With this information, you can modify content to take your visitors through your preferred sales funnel, thereby boosting your ecommerce sales. Use customer behavior flow patterns to gain valuable insight into your customers, thereby boosting engagement and conversion rates.
5. Traffic Sources
As a business owner, you are sure to promote your site via several marketing channels like social media, PPC, influencer marketing, blogs, and more. The Traffic Sources metric gives you a complete overview of the source of your traffic. To check this out, click Acquisition>All Traffic>Source/Medium.
As your website gets bigger, tracking different traffic sources can become a bit complicated. This metric also gives you further information on total sessions, bounce rates, average session durations, and more.
Additionally, I also recommend that you add special tools to your arsenal to track and monitor the performance of different traffic sources. For instance, you can analyze the performance of your influencer marketing with tools like Grin, which gives you real-time campaign reports. You’ll be able to measure your returns in terms of revenue, conversions, and earned media value.
The visitor conversions metric is the holy grail of all your marketing efforts. Ultimately, all your efforts are aimed at boosting conversion rates. According to the conversion reports for Q2 2018 by Smart Insights, only 3.3% of sessions reach the transaction stage.
With Google Analytics, you can set different goals such as completing a purchase, subscribing to your mailing list, or recovering an abandoned shopping cart. When a visitor completes a predefined action, you count that as a conversion.
With Google Analytics, you track various types of conversions. To do this, you first have to start tracking goals. You’ll learn how to do that in the next section.
7. Setting and Tracking Goals
As a website owner, you can choose any action that you want and define it as a goal. Goals can be simple, like a visitor using the contact form. It can also be challenging, like reaching 1k conversions in a month and so on.
To set goals, click on Conversions>Goals>Overview>Set Up Goals. Here, you have two options. One, create a new goal or two, and then import from Gallery.
The first method lets you define goals whereas the second method lets you choose from goals made by other members of the Google Analytics community. The solutions gallery has over 3,000 goals to choose from. You can pick the ones that suit your business objectives.
Keep it Simple
There’s no use beating around the bush. Analytics can be quite overwhelming, especially if you’re new to it. There are dozens of terms to understand and tons of metrics to track. But, Google Analytics has indeed simplified the process, making it easy for every business owner.
Take the time to learn the ins and outs of Google Analytics and you can see the results on your bottom line. Start with the key metrics mentioned here and move on to other advanced ones, once you get the hang of it.
Do you use Google Analytics? How has it helped your business grow? Share your stories with us in the comments section below.
About the Author
Brandon Brown is the CEO of Grin, an influencer marketing software solution for brands. Grin’s software helps customers identify, recruit & activate the world’s most engaging influencers. Prior to Grin, he led marketing for the #1 energy drink market in the world, Los Angeles & Orange County, at Red Bull North America. Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube Channel
Interested in guest posting on LongTailPro?
Visit our write for us page, https://longtailpro.com/write-for-us/