This article examines 12 key metrics in Google Analytics that every business should be tracking.
Although the number of marketing tools continues to grow, Google Analytics has remained a constant feature in every marketer’s arsenal.
This is not surprising considering how powerful this software is in helping businesses of all sizes to track metrics across the entire sales funnel.
Whether you want deeper insights on your customer acquisition or conversion optimization, Google Analytics has over 200 metrics that you can track to help you achieve your business objectives.
But, it's not necessary for you to track all the metrics. You simply need to find the most important ones that will help propel you towards your goals.
Here are that can help your business:
In this article, we look at the 12 key metrics in Google Analytics that every business should be following.
These 12 key metrics are organized into four sections:
Audience: Information such as location, demographics, retention, device technology, etc. helps you explore exactly who your customers are.
Acquisition: This shows you how your customers get to your site from different channels, including social media, organic traffic, ads, email, etc.
Behavior: These metrics help you determine what visitors do on your site, the pages they visit, how long they stay, etc.
Conversions: With these metrics, you can track whether or not your website visitors are taking the desired actions, such as signing up for newsletters, making purchases, etc.
Audience > Overview > Users
This metric shows you the number of unique visitors to your website over a given period of time. It offers a quick and easy way for you to gauge your marketing efforts.
By plotting the users’ data over time, you will be able to determine how often they engage with your website and how well your campaigns are driving website traffic.
Learning more about your website visitors will also help you create well-informed business strategies for your future campaigns.
Audience > Overview > Sessions
The Sessions metric refers to the number of times each user is actively engaged with your website. So, for instance, if you have 50 users and 100 sessions, it is reasonable to assume that each user came to your site an average of two times during that specific period.
This metric displays by default on the Google Analytics dashboard and provides a coarse-grained analysis of your marketing efforts. As with the metric above, plotting the data over time will give you some great insights as to how well users engage with your website.
3. Average Session Duration
Audience > Overview > Average Session Duration
The average session duration measures the amount of time users spend on your website in each session. The metric is presented to you as an average to give you an idea of the performance of your website with regard to its content.
If you have a low session duration, it means you may need to review your website content strategy so that it better reflects your audience's interests. That way, you’ll increase engagement and raise your level of audience retention.
4. Average Pages per Session
Audience > Overview > Pages Per Session
Google Analytics calculates the average pages per session by dividing the number of page views on your site by the number of sessions recorded. This metric shows you how many pages users view (on average) during each session on your website.
It's a good idea to look at Average Pages per Session as well as the Average Session Duration, but keep in mind that various factors can affect the ratio between the two, such as the structure of your user funnels, or if your web pages contain long-form or in-depth content.
5. Bounce Rate
Audience > Overview > Bounce Rate
The bounce rate shows the percentage of website visitors who only viewed one page before leaving your site. If you are experiencing a high bounce rate, it may be the result of any number of factors, such as:
A technical problem on your website
A webpage that has no internal links
A lack of a compelling call to action
Content that doesn't address the user’s need
Poor user targeting (or understanding of intent) in marketing campaigns
Things like this can cause a high bounce rate. You can use this metric in conjunction with others mentioned here to pinpoint where the problem lies and what you can do about it.
6. Ratio of New to Returning Visitors
Audience > Overview > NewUsers
Knowing which of your website visitors are new and which ones are returning (and what the ratio between the two is) will help you better inform your marketing strategies.
An increasing number of new visitors indicates growth while an increase in returning visitors shows that you are doing well in pleasing your current customers.
In the Google Analytics Audience > Overview section, you can compare the two metrics to help you determine how well your campaigns are working to attract new or existing users to your website.
You can then focus your strategies on either working to convert the new visitors into paying customers or increasing the lifetime value of the customers you already have, or a combination of both.
7. Sessions by Channel
Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels
The Sessions by Channel metric allows you to dig into the different channels that deliver your website traffic. For instance, you can compare the visitors that come from Instagram vs. Facebook or organic traffic vs. ads, and so on.
This will help you determine how your various marketing campaigns are performing and which channel delivers the most website traffic. You will be able to see how efficient your SEO efforts are with regards to improving organic search traffic.
This metric will also give you in-depth insights on how well your social media, paid ads, or email campaigns are running, and so on. Once you know where your largest audiences are coming from, it's easy to do more of what works and focus less on the channels that are not bringing any results.
8. Search Console Queries
Acquisition > Search Console Queries
In the Google Analytics search console section, you will find detailed information on organic searches. This allows you to analyze the search queries with good positions but very low click through rates (CTR).
Alternatively, you can use this metric to find landing pages with high click-throughs but poor positioning.
9. Pageviews by Page
Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
Pageviews by Page is one of the best metrics to keep track of to get a good idea as to how well your website is performing on the user experience front.
The metric shows you how many page views have been amassed on each page on your website within a particular time frame.
By looking at the top pages, you will be able to gain important information, such as the technical SEO, type of content, and various other factors that may be driving conversions.
Armed with this data, you can then work on optimizing your top pages even more and implementing the same strategies to other pages on your website that are not performing as well.
10. Average Time on Page
Behavior > Overview > Avg. Time on Page
This key metric in Google Analytics allows you to examine how much time your website visitors spend on each page so you can gain a better understanding of the overall user experience that you are providing on your site.
The average time spent on each page is a good indicator of engagement. It shows that your audience is interested in the content you provide. You can look at different individual pages on your site to get context on the type of content that performs the best so you can create more of that.
11. Newsletter opens
Behavior > Events > Overview
Using email tracking in your Google Analytics account will allow you to analyze the effectiveness of your email campaigns. You can break down your traffic using other characteristics, such as demographics and browsers.
The results of your email campaigns can be further broken down using other metrics by clicking on the "Secondary Dimension" tab.
For instance, when you break down your newsletter open events using ‘devices’ as a filter, it allows you to see how many click-throughs your email campaign gets on desktop vs. mobile devices and tablets.
12. Goal Conversion Rate
Conversions > Goals > Overview
Goal completion is yet another important metric for you to keep track of in Google Analytics. A goal is a specific interaction with your website that defines a target objective.
This could include anything from user registration to purchases, content download, or even a user that visits a specific number of pages on your website.
By tracking this metric over time, you’ll be able to determine how effective your marketing efforts are in converting visitors.
Google Analytics is a robust, free, and accessible tool that any business can use to get valuable information on website users and their behavior.
Now that you know which metrics are important to track, use this tool to analyze marketing and website data - you’ll start to see an improvement in your overall marketing results.