5 most critical stats you should monitor regularly in Google Analytics
Google Analytics can easily become overwhelming for the average webmaster.
The amounts of reports, analysis tools, and cryptic terminology can puzzle even the savviest web users with many years of experience.
That’s why we have decided to put up this post and help our clients and loyal Blog readers discover new and useful data about their web traffic.
If you are a small-to-medium web site owner this post may help you sort through the clutter and find what really matters to you and your online business.
From experience we have found that the really important stats can be reduced down to 5.
1. You want to have an overview of the visitors of your website.
To get access to these stats you have to login to your GA account, select the website you want to analyse, and then choose Reports -> Audience -> Overview
From this Overview Report you can learn what language your users are using and in which Country-Region-City they reside.
This report also allows you to see what Browsers and Operating Systems they are using.
You can also look into the Mobile subsection and learn exactly how many users have visited the website from mobile devices. And what screen resolutions they are using. Using this information you can decide whether to update your website with responsive design.
There is also a View Full Report where you can see in greater detail:
- Sessions – one session is a user visit at a given timeframe. If a user is inactive for more than 30 minutes during his session it will be counted as a new session.
- Pages/Session – how many pages the average user is visiting in one session
- Avg Session Duration – how much time the average user spends on the website
- Bounce Rate – how many users leave the website right after they land on it. Obviously you want this value to be as low as possible.
2. You want to see more detailed information about location and language
To review this report you can click on Reporting -> Audience -> Geo -> Language/Location
Location can be be very useful for you, because you can see from a glance which Country, Region and even City is bringing you the most traffic.
The process of discovering this data is by drilling down by choosing your target Country – than Region – and then City.
This information can be extremely important to you – especially if you are a local business or if you run a franchise network.
You will know from which locations your traffic is coming from.
3. You want to understand the behavior of your traffic
This report can be opened by going to: Reporting -> Audience -> Behavior -> New vs Returning. This report is extremely important as it gives a new vs returning visitors ratio.
It’s important to keep the Returning Visitors percentage as high as possible – especially for eCommerce and B2C websites. Because purchases are rarely made on first visit you want to attract your visitors to come back ‘for more’.
4. You want to know what devices your visitors are using
Depending on the type of business you run this report may be extremely important or totally irrelevant for you.
If you have a specialized mobile application it will be great to learn which users/devices are most interested in your app.
But if you own a car repair service this information won’t be much of a value to you.
5. You want to know from which Websites / Search Engines / Social Media Networks the traffic is coming – and what this traffic is doing on your website afterwards.
This is the most important report – with this report you will know which sections and pages are most visited from your traffic.
You will also know which sources are delivering the highest quality traffic.
To get to this report you will have to select Reporting -> Audience -> Users Flow
Here you should review 3 specific items:
- At the top left in the green dropdown after you click you can choose Acquisition -> Source / Medium
In the white bubbles to the left you can click Group Details – and from the popup you can choose – Top Segments
It is preferable to do this for each white bubble – with this approach you will learn which websites are bringing your website traffic.
- At the top left in the green dropdown after you click you can choose Acquisition -> Traffic Type
Using the white bubbles to the left you will find out what are the traffic types that arrive to your website.
- Direct – these are the users that have typed the url of your website directly in the address bar – keep in mind that these number may include you
- Organic Search – These are users coming from the standard Search results
- Social – these are users coming from the Social Networks – Facebook, Twitter, etc…
- Referral – These are users coming from other websites
- At the top left in the green dropdown after you click you can choose Social -> Social Network
Using the white bubbles to the left you can see which Social Network is bringing you the most traffic.
This can be really useful to you.
After you get used to picking these 3 User Flows try to have a sneak-peek to the right.
And you will see what actually is happening with the users after they land on the website.
We know from experience that these reports can help you acquire useful knowledge on what is going on with your website.
These reports can open your eyes and show you where to focus your energy to achieve maximum results.
We hope this Blog Post was helpful and relevant to you and your online business.
And if you have something to add or ask just drop a comment below – we will be happy to hear from you.