Google Analytics is a free resource to track actions on your website such as visits, purchases, downloads, entrance and exit pages and hundreds more. It is packed with features and also allows you to segment your visitors for maximum targeting and optimisation.
To help you manage or get started with analytics, I’ve listed here some of the top metrics that you need to track and which will help you assess how effective your ads are and how your website is performing:
1. Bounce rate
This is a top engagement metric in your analytics reports and it’s one that many online marketers and analytics users are familiar with. It is defined simply as the percentage of single page views in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page.
What constitutes a good bounce rate varies from industry to industry and there are many opinions about what a good one is. I’ve found that on average, a bounce rate above 60% is not good for many websites especially considering that almost all websites have a feature they can track whether it’s a purchase, registration, signup, download, contact page and so on.
A session is shown for the date range you have selected in your analytics interface and it is a period of time in which a visitor is engaged with your website or app and that includes a screen view, event, ecommerce etc and all these are associated with sessions. This is an acquisition metric and shows how effective your site is at acquiring visitors and how engaged they are.
3. Click Through Rate (CTR)
This is an important metric that you won’t see in analytics and is usually associated with Google Adwords. It shows how effective your ads are at getting viewers to click through to your website. You can calculate it yourself in analytics for your Adwords traffic by diving clicks by impressions
CTR = Clicks / Impressions
4. New vs Returning Visitors
This metric is unique and it measures customer and visitor loyalty and how effective you are at retention. The higher the percentage of return visitors to your site, then that’s usually a sign of high visitor retention. However, that all depends on your goals and the age of your website. For example if your site is recently launched with few visitors there will naturally be a higher percentage of new visitors and that’s also true if you have significantly increased advertising to new market segments.
5. Goal Conversion Rate
This is a top level analytics metrics that is a clear indicator of how your website and advertising are performing. It shows the percentage of visitors who complete a goal on your website like a download, a purchase, registration etc and to start tracking this, you need to setup your goals in the admin section of your account. You can also import your PPC goals into Adwords to see how your ads, keywords, ad groups and campaigns are performing.
6. Goal Conversions
Goal conversions is related to goal conversion rate and it shows how many goals have been completed on your site.
7. Average Time on Page
This is another top engagement metric and it measures the amount of time visitors spent viewing a specific page on your website. It’s available for all pages that are being tracked on your site and you can view it by clicking Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages. This metric is important because it shows how engaged people are on your landing pages and if they arrive and leave quickly then it’s likely that some optimisation will help to improve engagement.
8. Percentage Exit (% Exit)
Percentage exit shows the percentage of people that exit a specific page or set of pages. It’s calculated as the number of exits divided by the number of pageviews for the page or set of pages. This is a behavioural and engagement metric and it shows how effective various pages on your site are at retaining visitors. For some pages like the homepage, thank you page and payment success page, % exist will generally be high and this is expected because your visitors will have completed an action and then they will close the page. For other pages on your site that have high % Exits, you should investigate to see how you can improve the text, images, offers, call to action and other elements that help to improve the user experience.