In my last blog, I highlighted why business owners need to understand Google Analytics, and how its data can help you optimize your digital marketing to appeal to both web users and search engines. But now it’s time to take things a little deeper.
Understanding the Health of Your Site
Google Analytics is the window to your site’s wellbeing. It can tell you how much traffic you get, from what sources, the quality of that traffic, how many conversions you get, and even the geo-location and demographics of your traffic, plus so much more.
As you dig into your Analytics data, you will discover a world of information that will help you improve your site’s performance, digital media campaigns, reduce your cost per acquisition, amplify best performing campaigns, and grow your business to new levels of profitability.
But first you need to start by understanding some key metrics as a starting point before you explore any deeper.
Three Key Analytics Metrics
These three Google Analytics metrics will provide incredible insights into your website’s vitality: sessions, bounce rate, and pages / session.
This metric tells you how many visits your site received within a certain time period. It is important to note that sessions can include one visitor that visits your site more than once within that time period. (Returning visitors are a good thing by the way. It’s a sign that your site is worthy of coming back to). However, if you’re curious to know how many unique visitors you received within that same time period, you would need to look at “Users” data vs. “Sessions”.
Based on your marketing initiatives and related budgets you’ll be able to measure whether your visits are increasing, stagnant, or declining from month to month. The next two factors will tell you more about the quality of those visits.
Bounce rate tells you the percentage of visitors that leave your site after visiting only one page.
The next question clients always ask after I explain the meaning of bounce rate is, “What’s a healthy bounce rate?” The truth is that it depends on other factors and should not be looked at in isolation.
Generally speaking, if your website’s bounce rate is below 50%, that’s very positive and healthy. If it’s between 50% – 70%, it’s OK. There is no need for alarm, but you may want to look into how you can improve it further to optimize results.
If it’s over 70%, you definitely need to dig deeper into the quality of your landing pages or web pages that visitors are landing on to discover why more visitors aren’t engaged enough to explore other pages of your site.
There are exceptions where bounce rate is expected to be higher, so studying those factors would be important before setting off alarms and jumping to conclusions. For more information on bounce rates and exceptions to the rule, see Google’s definition of bounce rate.
This third metric tells us the quality of engagement for your average visitors. Session duration tells you the average amount of time in minutes and seconds that you’re average visitor is engaged on your site per session.
Again, what’s a healthy signal here?
It’s safe to say that if visitors are spending between 2-3 minutes on your site, there’s definitely some level of engagement. It’s a sign that visitors must be reading content, checking out different pages and something on the site has captured their attention. Based on the type of site you have, whether it’s content heavy or ecommerce driven, your session duration may vary based on the amount of content and steps it may take to lead your visitors through a funnel to generate a lead or sale.
The key is understanding these three metrics as a starting point so that you can dig deeper into what areas you need to improve to gain better results for your website and digital marketing campaigns that are driving traffic to your website.
Discovering the Best Digital Marketing Channels for your Business
After understanding the top 3 engagement metrics outlined above, my next favourite metric is understanding where all that traffic is coming from. You can easily find that data under Traffic Channels. Traffic Channels are divided into categories such as, Direct, Paid Search, Organic Search, Display, Referral, Email and Other.
Here is where you learn what key sources are driving traffic to your site and what portion of traffic is coming from each traffic channel.
So just start with these key metrics for now… and we’ll teach you how to extract even more data soon!