To get a deep sense of just what Google Analytics can do, I recommend this thorough guide to Google Analytics from Simply Business, which approaches the main issues from various angles.
Once you are acquainted, here are our top seven Google Analytics metrics to watch:
1. Bounce rate
Put simply, bounce rate is when a user visits only one page on your site before heading
to another site altogether, i.e., "bouncing" off your site.
However, marketers and site owners alike often misinterpret the reason behind a bounce. Although a bounce might
mean that a user isn't finding the
information or products he or she had hoped for, it's often an
indication of a poorly optimized landing page that lacks clear calls to
The site may, for example, have the best content in the world, but
unless there's an easy-to-spot Web form right above the fold or a
service to buy at the
end of that long sales page, the user will have no motivation to explore
the site, let alone move further down the conversion funnel.
Clarify those calls to action with a good copywriter and Web designer, and that bounce rate should go down.
One common misconception about avoiding bounce rates is that sites
should avoid linking to other pages, as that will send visitors away.
True, if you
provide too many, but a few helpful links here and there position your
site as a resource that has the authority to recommend other helpful
Plus, you'd do well by linking to internal content or products that
drive visitors deeper into the site.
If you're providing valuable content, you needn't worry about losing them.
A conversion is when a visitor goes beyond casual viewing into taking
measurable action. This might be a newsletter signup, a banner click, a
more. In other words, conversions should be among an Internet marketer's
Start your foray into tracking conversions by setting goals. As
Google defines them, these could be anything from a "Thanks for registering!" screen to a minimum visit duration.
From there, you'll want to dig even deeper by setting up a sales funnel
to give you further insight into just
how your visitor got from point A to the point of conversion. This can
also give you a better idea of just where visitors are tripping up. Does
page have a more appealing layout than another? Is one customer inquiry
form too lengthy and involved? Look behind the goals with funnels for
into what is and what is not working along the way.
3. Traffic sources
As you might discern from the term, traffic sources refers to where,
exactly, site visitors are coming from. This is a key indicator, as it
will help you
determine just what platforms are best for reaching the majority of your
Let's say, for instance, the site is receiving a slew of visitors from
Facebook, but next to nothing from LinkedIn. This indicates that a
of your target audience is on the former site than the latter, and that
this is where you should concentrate your social media campaigns.
Traffic sources can even be a key indicator for physical activities. You
may, for instance, see that the site received a number of hits from a
profile on a
website for a recently attended conference, indicating the event was a
We all know that great content strategy is key
for attracting new
visitors and keeping established ones. That goes both for blog posts you
create, as well as static Web copy. The Analytics content tool is
determining just how well your content is working, and whether there are
gaps. By looking at your most popular pages, you'll get a better sense
your customers are interested in.
The average visit time will help you determine how useful they feel your
content is. You'll see where visitors are exiting your page as well,
combined with a look at your conversion funnel, should tell you just
where you're losing audience attention.
Even better, go a step further and launch a content experiment to test everything from the layout of a
webpage to the effectiveness of the wording on call to action buttons with a little A/B testing.
5. Social reports
Beneath the traffic source tool you'll find the ever useful social
metric. Here you can see just how many people are finding you through
media sites, and whether they're going there directly or are returning
Though this helps you determine the effectiveness of immediate
campaigns, it also can give you a sense of fuzzier factors, such as the
kind of impression
you're creating on Twitter when a visitor returns to you several weeks
after the initial referral to convert. This tool can provide in-depth
can fuel powerful experiments, so we recommend taking a look at this guide to the process.
6. Percentage of new visits
New visitors are a good thing, right? Not if they're dominating the
percentages. The percentage of new visits metric helps you determine
both how effective
your marketing strategies have been in piquing visitor interest and
whether they're converting or becoming brand loyalists.
A high percentage of new visitors immediately after you've launched a
marketing campaign? That's a very good thing, but several months after
the numbers to have evened out, with returning visitors engaging by
doing things like commenting and sharing.
7. Landing and exit pages
Located under site content in the content menu, landing and exit pages
are two key indicators of visitor interest. The landing page will tell
you just how
many visits each of your most popular pages have gotten, how long
visitors have stuck around, and how many pages they've visited while
there. This will
give you a good sense of whether your visitors find your content
engaging and whether your calls to action are pulling them deeper into
Pair this with stats from the exit page to determine the overall bounce
rate. If landing pages match closely with exit pages, visitors are most
finding what they need once from a Web search and aren't finding any
reason to return.
Google Analytics can provide powerful insight into any site's marketing
efforts and optimization. But with all of that power comes a plethora of
some simple to master, some more complex. One thing's for sure: With
these seven basics you'll be off to a great start.
Need to see it to absorb all this info? Here is an embed of that
beginner's analytics guide that Simply Business created. Good luck!