Google Analytics is Google’s tool for measuring data and providing insights into how users are behaving on websites and mobile apps. Not to be confused with Google AdWords, which is the paid advertising platform, Google Analytics is an important tool for anyone who’s trying to increase traffic and conversions on their website.
Once you understand just a few of the simple metrics Google collects, you’ll be able to get a clear picture of how your website or app is being used, and which pages are (or aren’t) being effective.
Here are 11 of the key data points you should be keeping your eye on from month to month:
Acquisition reports from Google Analytics will tell you how users are finding your website. View an overview or dig into the AdWords, Search Console, Social or Campaigns filters to find out more about what’s bringing your audience to you.
Average session duration
The average session duration is the average amount of time users spend on your website. The time you’ll see shows the total duration of all sessions (in seconds), divided by the number of sessions.
Your bounce rate will show the percentage of sessions where users only viewed a single page. The idea behind this metric is that it shows whether your website is enticing visitors to look around and find out more, or whether they’re just viewing the page they came for and then leaving.
Campaigns sits under Acquisition in the Google Analytics dashboard. It will show you how users are finding your website in relation to the keywords you’re using. Whether you’re using AdWords to implement paid campaigns for certain keywords, or just trying to rank for them organically, you can find out more about how you’re doing here.
A new user is someone who’s visiting your site for the first time within the selected date range. Google relies on browser cookies to be able to track this information, so be aware that anyone who’s clearer their cookies or is using a different device will be registered as a new user.
Organic is the term for traffic that comes from unpaid links on Google. (Unpaid means you haven’t paid for an AdWords Campaign).
As simple as it sounds, this metric shows when a page has been viewed on your website. The results here are usually listed by popularity, making it easy for you to see which of your pages perform the best.
The Unique Pageviews metric helps you differentiate between the total amount of views a page had (Pageviews) and the number of unique users who viewed each page (Unique Pageviews).
A Referral is logged when a user comes to your website via another website. This metric is telling you which websites are sending users your way. You can find out both the domain and the individual pages that are directing traffic to your site.
Sessions will show the total number of visits to your website. This is counting each user, not each pageview, so if two people visit your site and view five pages each, that’s two sessions, not ten.
Found under Acquisition, Social will show you how many visitors are discovering your site via social media. It’ll also break down which social networks they’re coming from and what they’re doing once they land on your site.