Obviously each site is unique, and everyone wants their site to perform well. Being able to determine why your site is performing, and working to create plans to improve weak spots is a win for everyone.
But how do you know where to look when you are getting started in Analytics? Whether you are a green Internet Marketer, or a startup blogger, I’ve outlined some key metrics to get started in Google Analytics.
Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page) – Google Analytics Help
Why Bounce Rate Matters
This is one of the most important and well-known metrics for sites. The reasons for a high bounce rate can be numerous – design issues, bad content, or poor quality traffic.
Bounce rates can also be hard to influence unless you understand the root cause.To dig into a high bounce rate, here are some tips:
- Compare site-wide bounce rate for the past few months and use this as a historical baseline. An average bounce rate can be between 40 – 70%, depending on your site. Lower is better, and higher can be trouble.
- Find pages that have a higher-than-average bounce rate compared to your site average bounce rate. Next, compare sessions on those pages to their individual bounce rate. The strategy here is that it may be more beneficial to target high-traffic pages first since any improvement will be magnified with higher traffic – conversely, low traffic pages may take longer to address.
- Remember to segment often to isolate and identify – by device, by channel, by events – to zero in on problems.
For all pageviews to the page, Exit Rate is the percentage that were the last in the session – Google Analytics Help
Why Exit Rate Matters
Exit Rate is different from Bounce Rate and there is some confusion around them. A bounce is a single session pageview and then an exit. An Exit is a single session that viewed multiple pages, and the exit is the last page.
Mainly, you should worry about the Exit Rate % if certain pages are part of a conversion flow such as a checkout, or part of an identified critical page flow.
Traffic Sources And Channels
Google Analytics will automatically take the variety of ways someone comes to your site and bundle them together – from social media, referral links, email, pay-per-click, and more. That’s what a channel is, a common way people come to your site – What Is The Channel Report In Google Analytics?
Why Traffic Sources And Channels Matter
Understanding where the distribution of traffic comes from is important for site health. If the majority of your traffic comes from a single channel, you are wholly dependent upon that channel – the whole all your eggs in one basket metaphor.
Anything that disrupts that channel – such as being blacklisted from Google or committing social media sins can plunge your site into darkness.
Work hard to balance your traffic to lower your risk, as well as discover new growth.
Pages Per Session
The metric Pages/Session is the average number of pages viewed per session – Google Analytics Help
Why Pages Per Session Matters
Pages per session is a time-tested metric that needs little explanation. Overall, it’s usefulness as a metric shows a number of things including how easy it is to navigate a site and the overall quality of content. If visitors think your content is good, chances are they will click to read more.
If you have great traffic, but have a low Pages Per Session metric, you can work to improve it by linking to relevant content on your own site for examples or more explanations.
Average Session Duration
Average session duration is: total duration of all sessions (in seconds) / number of sessions. – Google Analytics Help
Why Average Session Duration Matters
Just as with Pages Per Session, Average Session Duration is another common metric that shows how long visitors spend reading on your site. If your site includes a lot of high-bounce pages, this number can be difficult to determine, since bounces don’t record session duration properly by default in Google Analytics. If you plan to use this metric, I suggest using the Non-Bounces Google Analytics segment to get a better feel of your Average Session Duration.
If you have a low Average Session Duration, here are some tips to improve it.
- Create longer and in-depth content. Studies show that in-depth content engages visitors better.
- Use proper images to explain your concepts and create visual interest.
- Users don’t read on the Internet – learn how to properly format text for the Web. It’s more than just one run-on paragraph.
Goal Conversion Ratio
A goal is a predetermined action taken on a website that you consider to be noteworthy enough to track – How To Set Up Goals In Google Analytics
Why Goal Conversion Ratio Matters
Your site should have goals – otherwise, why have one? From lead generation to customer support to increasing SEO, each goal needs a unique plan. Setting up those goals in Google Analytics is crucial, and gives us insight into how the site is working.
The Goal Conversion Ratio says that for X amount of traffic, we normally get Y conversions. If we increase our traffic:
- Does the conversion ratio decrease? Usually that’s the wrong kind of traffic.
- Does the conversion ratio increase? This is great! Keep it up! More traffic and higher conversions!
- Does the conversion ratio stay the same? That’s fine – it means we can scale the same kind of traffic.
If your site isn’t meeting goals, take a hard look at some changes that can be made. Consider A/B tests where traffic is high enough to provide results.
- If your goal is a form conversion, consider if the form is intimidating and reduce the fields. Look at the form pageviews versus goal completions.
- If your goal is time on site, include good content – content being infographics, interesting and on-topic copy, as well as videos to appeal to users and create engagement.
What Metrics Matter To You?
Does your organization use metrics creatively? Got feedback on something above? Leave a comment below and let me know.