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The Non-Geek’s Intro to Google Analytics



Chief Visionary Officer

I’m unapologetically a data geek. I love numbers and graphs and spreadsheets that have numbers and graphs in them. But that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But some people won’t take the time and effort to invest in generating a quantifiable analysis of all website metrics and attribute estimated values to all sources involved. (How was that for geeky, Amy?!?)

Google Analytics ProsSo, what does the non-geek need to know about Google Analytics to make informed decisions and always keep moving their marketing efforts forward without a weekly “deep dive” into all of the numbers?

Here are the five metrics we recommend every client keep up with even when we are doing their analytics monitoring for them.

1. Sessions

Sessions are the big number we often first look for when we log in. It’s a fairly decent indicator on how well things are going in our traffic generation strategies and will show you quickly if any progress is being made. Comparing the numbers from this thirty day period to the last will give you a strong sense of whether your traffic is growing or shrinking on a monthly basis.

Now, there is not a magic number that we use across the board as a solid indicator for having a strong level of website traffic. For some businesses, you may have 25,000-100,000 unique visitors per month that land on some portion of your website or another. Others may be highly profitable with only a few thousand if not with only a few hundred visitors. These numbers will ultimately be governed by your industry and your niche.

2. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the indicator of whether or not we are generating the right type of traffic. We tell our clients we don’t shoot for just high traffic numbers, but for the right number of the right traffic. If you have 20,000 visitors per month but none buy; you are attracting the wrong type of traffic or your website experience sucks.

Tracking your bounce rate will tell you whether or not your visitors are hitting your site and leaving immediately (bad traffic or bad experience), or if your website visitors are landing on your site and going deeper to learn more about what you do. Ultimately, the lower the bounce rate the more interested your traffic is. If you have a 100% bounce rate on your homepage, you can guarantee that everyone is bailing on you within the first moments of landing on your site. In almost all cases, this is bad.

And before you ask, there is no common bounce rate that works for everyone as a healthy website indicator. For some sites, a 75% bounce rate may still be provide a profitable stream of buyers. For some, a 25% rate may still be too high. It all depends on where you do business, who is coming to your site and what your buyer journey looks like from start to finish. We spend a considerable amount of time analyzing what this number should be and what we can do to get it there.

3. Page Views

Page views are going to show us how interesting we are to our audience. If you are selling a product or service, you’re visitors are going to want to learn more about what you are selling and what makes you qualified to sell it to them.

By tracking the average number of page views your visitors are hitting, you can begin to form a good overview of how interested your traffic is. The more pages viewed, the more likely the visitors are exploring you on a deep level as a potential candidate for your business. At the very least, it means your content is solid.

4. Acquisition

Acquisition metrics show us where people are coming from and how they found our site. This is possibly one of the most helpful metric families you will find on Google Analytics.

If we are able to determine where the bulk of the website traffic is coming from, we can develop a better pool of buyer personas to market to. You can quickly and easily see whether your traffic is coming in through search, social, referral partners or even as a direct visitor straight from the address bar of their browser. Since each of these pools give you a deep insight into the buyer’s habits, we are able to optimize the site to meet their expectations.

5. Goals

Goals give us a quick and dirty metric of how many of our visitors are doing what we want them to do on our site. Once you determine what actions you want a visitor to take on your website, we can implement a series of goals that are tracked and attributed within Google Analytics to inform you of your campaign success.

These goal metrics give you an direct, trackable pattern that people are taking no your site and will show you very quickly where you are losing them in the process. These numbers will show you where and how to best optimize your website’s buyer journey to convert as many people as possible with minimal effort.

One last thing…

While these metrics are very easily tracked in Google Analytics and can be monitored by anyone, we do recommend that you have a marketing analytics professional take a look at your metrics on a monthly basis. We are trained to look for trends and patterns that can ultimately steer your marketing campaigns to success. Don’t just leave your marketing up to chance, but allow someone to help guide you and give you the highest chance of optimizing your ROI without having to become an analytics professional on your own.

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