10 Metrics Every Business Should Track in Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an important digital marketing tool, but many businesses and content strategists shy away from using this valuable tool to its full potential. The data monitoring capabilities offered are numerous and may seem complex at first, but taking the time to explore and understand Google Analytics is necessary for any business to achieve success online.

The Importance of Data Tracking

One of the most important aspects of an effective marketing strategy is data analysis. Tracking the results of your marketing efforts allows you to refine your marketing strategy by seeing what’s working and what isn’t. Google Analytics allows you to view a number of metrics in one convenient tool. If you are putting money into your marketing efforts, including SEO, PPC, or social media marketing, this tool allows you to clearly track your ROI.

Top Google Analytics Data to Track

1.      Traffic Sources

Found Under: Acquisition > Overview

Traffic sources refers to the sources that drive traffic to your website. Your top five sources will usually be organic search, direct, social, and referral. Keeping track of these sources will give you a clear idea of where your marketing efforts are paying off. For instance, a high organic search percentage means that a large percentage of your traffic is due to an effective SEO strategy.

2.      Bounce Rate

Found Under: Acquisition > Channels

If a site visitor leaves your website after only viewing one page, that visitor’s session is considered a “bounce.” A high bounce rate often indicates that visitors left quickly, often because they simply couldn’t find what they were looking for. High bounce rates are usually an indicator of poor SEO strategy, or possible issues with the site itself.

If you experience a sudden spike in bounce rate, test your pages to see if you encounter any problems with load times, or other potential issues that could drive visitors away.

Ecommerce sites should also pay attention to cart abandonment rate, which refers to the percentage of customers who abandon their shopping carts before completing checkout.

3.      Conversion Rate

Found Under: Conversions

A ‘conversion’ can refer to almost anything, depending on your business. A conversion is a final action performed by a lead. That action could be making a purchase, signing up for an email list, donating to a charity, or downloading a whitepaper. To determine your brand’s ‘conversion,’ think about the ultimate goal you have set for your site visitors.

Tracking your conversion rates allows you to determine which ‘paths’ on your website are most effective. If more people are converting from a social media post than an email blast, it’s time to either rework your email strategy, or place more effort into your social media activities.

4.      User demographics

Found Under: Audience > Demographics

This data allows you to see who your site visitors are based on certain criteria such as location, age, gender, and even interests. Tracking this data allows you to gain a better understanding of who your customers are, which is vital to an effective marketing strategy, as well as improving and expanding your products and services.

5.      Average Session Duration

Found Under: Audience > Overview

Session duration refers to the amount of time people spend on your website before leaving. In general, the longer a person spends on your website, the more likely they are to convert and take that final desired action, whether that’s making a purchase or offering their contact information. Tracking the duration spent on specific pages can help you determine which pages are the most effective, and which might need to be reworked.

6.      Landing pages

Found Under: Behavior > Site Content

A landing page is the first page a visitor “lands” on when they are introduced to your website. That might be a blog post, a product page, or even an SEO-focused landing page designed specifically to drive visitors to a specific action, such as a free download. Tracking the frequency of these pages has a few advantages.

  • Assign specific URLs to different paid advertisements, social media posts, etc. to see which has the highest click-through rate (CTR).
  • Track which keywords are most effective in driving organic traffic to your website.
  • Determine the landing pages/paths that convert the most visitors.

7.      Pages per Session

Found Under: Audience > Overview

This metric refers to the average number of pages a person views before leaving your website. Much like Session Duration, Pages Per Session allows you to determine whether your SEO is effective in driving the right people to your website. A higher pages/sessions rate can mean that visitors are engaged with your content, and therefore are more likely to convert.

8.      New vs. Returning Visitors

Found Under: Audience > Overview

If a visitor is returning to your website, that’s usually good news! That means your audience is engaged and will be more likely to convert. Even if someone did not make a conversion when they were a new visitor, your brand has made enough of an impression to encourage them to return.

Consider why your return visitors left in the first place, and why they might have come back. Some brands have offered exclusive coupons for return visitors, or send surveys to gather additional data that will allow them to nurture return visitors and convert them into more valuable leads in the future.

9.      Cost Per Conversion

Found Under: Conversions > Ecommerce

If your marketing strategy includes paid advertisements such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc., it’s crucial to track the cost per conversion for every paid ad. If you paid $10 for someone to make a $5 purchase, your cost per conversion is way too high, and your marketing efforts need to be reworked in order to be profitable.

10. Exit Pages

Found Under: Behavior > Site Content

Which web pages are serving as your website’s exit doors? Exit pages allows you to see where your traffic drops off. If that exit page is a checkout page or subscription confirmation, great! That means your visitor successfully converted before moving on to something else. If your landing pages are also your most popular exit pages, it’s time to reexamine those pages.

Google Analytics offers far more tracking metrics than those described here, but these top ten basics are key to almost any business. Taking the time to truly understand each metric and how it impacts your brand is essential to developing and improving your marketing strategy.

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