If you asked a friend, “How do I get from my house to your house?” and they responded by providing you with a map of the United States and saying, “It’s in there somewhere,” would you find that helpful?
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Google Analytics can be that friend. The amount of information available to you is staggering, and while it does filter out some of the more advanced statistics, it still can look overwhelming when you only have one or two simple questions you need answered. Beyond that, there isn’t always the clearest explanation of what each of the statistics is measuring, leading some to go on a fox hunt trying to find the right answer.
Rather than resigning yourself to take the Google Analytics red pill and see just how deep the rabbit hole goes, you can leave that to us. We want to help answer some of your most burning questions. Here are five questions you should be asking about your website, and the Google Analytics stat that best answers that question for you.
Q1: How many times has my site been viewed?
GA’s Answer: Visitors and Pageviews
Don’t get these two twisted up. Visitors is how many individual people visited your website, while Pageviews is how many times a page on your website was visited. If a page has a low number of visitors but a high number of pageviews, that means that people are returning to that page multiple times. If you want to see your most popular pages, or wonder the number of return trips people are making to your site, these two columns will let you know.
Q2: Where do people come from when they visit my site?
GA’s Answer: Source/Medium
There are several different ways people go to a website, and Google Analytics can track them all. The results can be as general or specific as you’d like, but they are typically categorized as direct (no referral at all), social, organic search, paid advertisements, email, or referred links. By seeing where people are coming from, you can discover your audience’s habits, determine the most effective marketing channels, and measure return on your investment in those channels.
Q3: What do people use to visit my site?
GA’s Answer: Technology and Mobile
Google tracks the device, operating system, and browser of all of your visitors for you. This crucial data will break down how many of your visitors use mobile or tablet devices, which you can use to determine the need for a responsive website design. Additionally, it can open your eyes to the number of people using browsers that you may not have accounted for when building your site, such as older versions or different operating systems.
Q4: Do people stay on my site?
GA’s Answer: Bounce Rate
A bounce is registered when a viewer enters your site and exits before visiting another page. It’s measured in percentages, so a bounce rate of 50% means that 50% of people left your website at that page and the other 50% went to another page on your site. In many cases, you want this number to be low. Using this stat, you can find where people are jumping off of your site, and help create a desired flow to push them to stay and continue toward your intended goal.
Q5: Are they doing what I want them to be doing?
GA’s Answer: Conversions
Ultimately, this is the endgame for any website. Whether it’s a contact page, a submitted form, or an e-commerce transaction, this stat measures what you feel is the goal outcome for everyone visiting your website. It’s a custom statistic, so you have to tell Google Analytics what you want it to measure, but that allows you to track the constant pulse on the overall success of your website. This will tell you just how effective your website has been, and allow you to have a clear target when focusing marketing attention and determining return on total investment.
These are just the beginning – Google Analytics offers many more useful and insightful tools that can help you shape your entire marketing plan. Our digital marketing team can analyze your website and help show you how you can increase your return on investment by following the numbers.