What metrics to track in GA or any other analytics solution

I know personally it can be hard to plow through the mass amount of metrics available to you in any analytic solution. But I have narrowed down the best metrics to track – my advice: start with these and then you are comfortable with them add some more. Below I have explained the ones I use to track my stats ( that of course is when I have time)

A visit is a number that is closely related to all the overall traffic volume of the website. It directly relates to the people you are able to reach online.  A “visit” is defined as every time someone visits your website.  This person may view many pages on your website during that one visit but it will only count as one visit. That person may leave the website and return. Once that person returns it will count as an additional visit.

Visitors are now usually called unique visitors. Unique visitors are  always lower number that visits and that is because the unique visitors metric takes the total visits and identifies of those who has been back multiple times giving the value unique visitors in return of only counting the first visit of every visitor. This is measured by the amount of unique IP address’ the web server logs identify during a given time period.

Page views are the number of times a page was viewed on a given website. In detail: each time a web page on a site is accessed by a visitor, it counts as one page view, whether or not the same user viewed the same page 5 minutes ago.

This is an excellent KPI (Key Performance Indicator) to show how many new users you have acquired while acknowledging how many visitors you have held onto. This number works best comparing it to previous reporting periods. It can then show you if your reach is growing or not. This metric is usually carefully watched and when significant changes occur there usually has to be a shift in the relationship between you and your users.

Referring sites are websites that have sent us a visitor (think of it as if they have referred someone to us). The referring resource is very much a part of your web marketing mix. You need to know who is sending you what amount of traffic.  Knowing your top referring sites is like knowing if you’re wasting your marketing dollars or not.
I.e. if you put $100 into advertising on Site abc.com and you put the same amount on site xyz.com but only site xyz.com is sending your site traffic. You know site abc.com is not sending you any visitors.

An important metric to note is top pages requested by new visitors simply because it’s good to be able to see the “new” or “first-time” visitor experience as you may note some problems that new users are having in which experienced users may have already overcome. This enables you to significantly improve your site for the most novices of users which will end up improving your conversion rate.

The average number of visits per visitor metric defines “the attraction” that your site has to its visitors. The average pages viewed per visitor is a great indicator of the relevance of your website to the user. The better your marketing program and site architecture the more relevant information each visitor will find and will likely browse.

The average pages viewed per visitor is a great indicator of the relevance of your website to the user. The better your marketing program and site architecture the more relevant information each visitor will find and will likely browse.

One of the most important numbers in measuring the reach of the website is to measure the ability of the website to use landing pages which point the user deeper within the site. In layman’s terms it means measuring the stickiness of the given page on a website. Some web analytics enthusiasts have a different meaning for this metric but here we interpret, the stickiness to be the ability to keep the visitor engaged in the website.
On the opposite side, the slip part of this term is when a visitor sees the homepage/landing page and then immediately leaves.
Some things that may happen and elevated the “slip” number could be:
•    Long load times for entry pages
•    Poor content fit to the user
•    Poor page design

An exit page is a page that a user left your website on.  When looking at this number, you have to remember that each visitor needs to leave from somewhere. A top exit page is mostly important when it would be in the middle of a payment process where the user might have abandoned the shopping cart.
If a visitor leaves on the homepage it could mean one of several things. It could mean, the website is irrelevant to that visitor, the visitor was overwhelmed by the information and left or the visitor could not find the information he/she wanted.

The heavy user share metric shows the number of people who are using your website more than the average person. Heavy user share is the number of visitors who view more than the average pages per visit.  This metric is very important to help you understand the quality of fit for the quality of audience you are currently reaching.

The 90 second rule is that on average it takes 90 seconds for a user to become engaged in reading or finding the information that they are looking for. If a visit is less than 90 seconds, it was not long enough to engage the visitor therefore the visitor may not have connected with the website. As we all know it is important for the website to connect to the user as it increases the chance that the visitor will return to the website.

Average time on site is a metric that should be included in every website reporting system.  It’s a calculation of the average amount of time spent on the websites’ pages by all users.

If for instance you have a good marketing program out this week and it’s directing everyone to your website, the landing page on your website will then point them away from your site for more details. With that example you can expect your average time to go down.

Related posts:

3 types of data used in web analytics

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