Google analytics demystified

Mindless Tower @mindlesstower

A powerful, free, yet mysterious tool for your website and digital marketing initiatives. Our goal in this post is to demystify Google analytics to help you grow!

Google Analytics provides administrative users with a whole bunch of useful information:

  • The amount of traffic coming to your website
  • A breakdown of where your website traffic is coming from
  • Statistics of your visitors once they visit your site

 

Pulling back the curtains

 

Google uses snippets of JavaScript code called “tags” which are installed on every page of your website. The data collected from your site is displayed on various reports in the Google Analytics’ admin interface.

 

A breakdown of the terminology

 

  • Visits: How many people have visited your site (this includes both new and returning visitors). Returning visitors are counted twice.
  • Page Views: How many pages have been viewed within a specified time range.
  • Pages Per Visit: How many pages are viewed per visit.The average number of pages viewed per visit (i.e. the number of page views divided by the number of visits within the selected time range), usually a number is between 4 and 7.However – this is entirely a tricky metric, as it is not necessarily a good thing if visitors have to look at a lot of pages, nor is it okay if they leave the site after only two clicks.
  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of visitors who leave the site without viewing the second page, i.e. they click the ‘back’ button, type a new URL, close the window or session time-out (usually 30 minutes). A good bounce rate is below 20%, 30% is pretty standard, and anywhere over 50% would suggest a close look is needed to why so many people are leaving the site on first glance.
  • Avg time on site: Similarly, to pages per visit, Longer or shorter times depend on the website’s goals. Expect anywhere between 2 and 10 minutes.
  • % New Visits: The percentage of visitors who were new in the selected time range; the difference between this and 100% is your percentage of returning visitors.

 

How do we use Analytics for improving our website?

 

This Content tab allows you to dig into how people are using your site, showing which pages are most popular, and where people go from page to page. The essential tools for this and indicators we look at are:

  • The Site Overlay: an excellent visualization tool for usability enhancement and can help to influence decisions in the ordering of content and button placement.
  • Top Landing Pages: allows you to identify and track the effectiveness of the landing pages that are bringing traffic.
  • Top Exit Pages: helps to identify pages that fail to convince, or do not encourage visitors to stay on the site.
  • Search:If you have Google site search installed, this tab shows you which searches being carried out by visitors within the website, which is a great insight into what people are looking for, but even more so, it tells you which content cannot be easily found on the site, and may need additional prominence within the navigation.
  • Goals and Conversions: this is one of the core concepts of Analytics. A ‘Conversion’ is the completion process on a website, in other words, the key actions that you want your visitors to take once they are on your site. In Analytics this is referred to as a ‘Goal,’ and in many cases websites will have multiple Goals or Conversion points like buying a product, signing up to a newsletter or creating a user profile.
  • Funnel visualization: a handy tool to look at conversion and form sign-up processes, this tool is helpful for identifying the potential problem pages in a step-by-step process that need tweaking. This in conjunction with AB testing and face to face user testing is the optimum method of improving conversion rates.

 

To summarize, Google Analytics is an excellent single point of data gathering and a powerful tool used to measure the performance of a website accurately. If you currently have a website and are not using Google Analytics, then I implore you to check it out! It’s absolutely free and by using GA, you can move forward to building a web strategy that is constantly evolving to meet your client’s needs.

Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about the intricacies of Google Analytics and how you can leverage analytics to grow your business.