Five Essential Metrics for Google Analytics

29 January 2016

Website traffic and visitor behavior data are some of the most important information for small businesses looking to make the most out their limited marketing budgets. Google Analytics provides an excellent set of free tools that makes identifying and using relevant analytical measurements intuitive and rewarding. Your particular industry will emphasise one particular set of metrics over another, but your business will find all of them useful.

1. Tracking Conversions by Channel

Often touted as the ultimate goal of any advertising, different websites and businesses will define conversion in different ways. Whether the goal is to get the consumer to complete a purchase or to sign up for a newsletter, conversion is the point at which a consumer takes action. Once you’ve got your eye on what conversion means for your business, you can set up Google Analytics to track “goals conversions” and break down the results by channel.

2. Grouping Traffic by Channel

Knowing your traffic sources allows you to target specific demographics and tailor your message according to the way that message will be consumed. Reward organic and paid searches by improving your SEO and content quality. Garner more referrals by providing link exchanges and customising your advertisements. Interact with your audience directly through social media and newsletters. Get the right message to the right people.

3. Cost Analysis

Once you’ve identified your conversion rate and the origin of that traffic, you can begin to associate a cost with those efforts. Those numbers combine to provide you with a picture of your return on investment, allowing you to trim channels that aren’t paying for themselves, maximise the return from channels with a high ROI, and optimise your profitability.

4. New and Returning Visitors

This metric allows you to zero in on whether your site is attracting predominantly new or returning visitors. The nature of your individual business will determine your emphasis, but new traffic tends to grow your customer base while returning traffic tends to increase conversions. Both are desirable, and you need to know which metric needs more attention.

5. Session Duration

Also called “bounce rate”, your session duration measures the amount of time spent on the site by any given visitor. As a metric, low numbers may indicate that visitors are not using the site but it may also indicate that visitors are finding needed information swiftly. High numbers may indicate extended interaction with your content, but it may also indicate inattention by the end user.

All metrics need to be studied within the context of your website and your business plan. To know how your website is performing, you need to know your numbers.

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