Why have Google Analytics on your Website?

Google has built into their platform is a framework to help users understand analytics; the “ABCs” of Acquisition, Behavior, Conversion.  The default view of many reports in GA breaks up metrics into these three categories.

  • Acquisition –> how do you acquire users? How many? From where?
  • Behavior –> how do users behave on your site?
  • Conversion –> do users take a desired action on the site?

Channels

One of the most important reasons people use Google Analytics is so that they can see where their traffic is coming from and compare its performance to other marketing channels.

The Channels Report can be found in Acquisition > Channels.


In the above example, users are directly typing in the address the most, secondly they are coming from social media.

When it comes to gaining insights from your data, don’t just look at the top level channels.  Always drill down into your reports.  While it is important to be able to see the 10,000 foot view of your site performance, the decisions your are going to make as to where (and how) to focus your energies will be done a more granular level.

Behavioral Pages:  Google Analytics can also show you how many people are visiting your website, what pages they visit and how long they stay on your website.  Improvements should start with the pages people visit the most.

Google Analytics also has documentation available on almost every aspect; on both the implementation as well as the configuration part thorough documentation is available. This Google Analytics Tracking code library is a great start.

Other things that Google Analytics shows you:

  • Pageviews are the number of times that a page has loaded.
    • This is oftentimes a critical metric for publishers whose ad monetization is by pageview.
  • Unique Pageviews is a quirky way in GA for saying how many sessions was that page viewed in.
    • This metric is most commonly used to measure the volume of content viewed.
    • If a user navigates back and forth from the homepage to other pages deep within the site, the homepage will have one unique pageview for the session.
  • Entrances indicate the number of times the page was the first page viewed in the session.  In other words, how many times was this page a landing page.
  • Entrances / Pageviews is a percentage that indicates how often a page was discovered during a user’s navigation of the site versus how often that page itself was responsible for acquisition.
  • Bounce Rate is the percentage of sessions where the user did not take a second action.
    • Oftentimes, a high bounce rate in an indication of low page quality.  For most sites, you definitely want your users to take a second action rather than come to your site and just leave.  A rather common exception to this rule of thumb is blogs or news sites where users will repeatedly come to the site, view one piece of content and then leave.  If you have a high frequency of visits for your users that is coupled with a high bounce rate, that is not necessarily a bad thing.
  • Page Load Time — the number of seconds it took your page to load on average.
    • Page rendering speed plays a role in User Experience, Conversion Rate, and even SEO Rankings.