A website is not simply one product you buy to plonk online and never touch again. It’s a mixture of different, interacting media that each need regular care and attention.
Content, graphics, SEO, and social media are the big ones. But there’s also another that often gets forgotten, despite the fact it is the key that binds a successful digital marketing strategy together: analytics.
Most people get the first four covered and stop when they get to analytics, thinking it’s too complicated and too much hassle. But this is exactly why Google made its Analytics tool — to enable the average businesses to track the performance of their website in one easy-to-use dashboard.
And so, the reality is that to master the world of web analytics, you only need to invest a small amount of time and energy in this one tool.
Get started today with our summary of the most important sections and metrics in Google Analytics.
Acquisition Overview is the section in Google Analytics in which you’ll spend most of your time. Rather than one metric in particular, it provides a summary of all your traffic sources, including organic search, direct visitors, social media, and referrals, and allows you to compare them with each other.
As well as traffic sources, it’s also where you’ll find crucial metrics like bounce rate, average session duration, and number of sessions. These will help you see how users are engaging with your site so you can immediately start improving it.
Social Overview is the section Google dedicates to the relationship of your site with social media. Among other things, it tells you where your content gets shared, the level of on-site user engagement, and how users flow through to your site.
Like Acquisition Overview, it provides a birds eye view of key metrics that can be explored in further detail in other sections. For instance, here you can track unique goals you’ve set up to measure the value of social media to your conversions.
One of the most useful and optimisable metrics, bounce rate represents the amount of users that land on your site and leave after viewing just one page.
It goes without saying that the lower the bounce rate, the better. However, specific bounce rates depend on several things like industry and purpose of particular pages, for example, whether they be informational, navigational, or transactional.
New or Unique Visitor Conversion
You always want new people to be visiting your site, but if they never become repeat visitors, you know there’s a problem. In Google Analytic’s New or Unique Visitor Conversion section you can separate first-time visitors from returning ones and start creating an individual strategy to target each.
As you can see, this ties directly into your bounce rate. If you can improve the initial experience of first-time users and keep them on site longer, you can decrease your bounce rate and improve the chance of them becoming repeat visitors and paying customers.
Interactions Per Visit
It’s no good to know people are visiting your site if you don’t know what they’re doing while they’re on it. Interactions Per Visit fills in the gaps between visits and conversions and, therefore, allows you to monitor user behaviour so you can get your audience to do more or less of particular actions.
In this way, you cannot only decrease bounce rate and increase returning customers, but channel users through a map of specific behaviours that directly lead to purchases, subscriptions, downloads, and the like.
Average Session Duration
A complimentary metic to bounce rate, Average Session Duration indicates, on average, how long in hours, minutes, and seconds, users spend in one session on your site. The key with this metric is relevancy — if what you’re offering is immediately relevant to the user, they will spend more time accessing and engaging with the information on your site.
What’s more, used alongside interactions per visit you can ascertain the value and quality of your information. If you have a high average session duration and low interactions per visit, it may mean your website has too much information and not enough clear call to actions. In this case, first-time visitors could stay one-time visitors that waste their time and leave without what they came for.