It’s certified impossible to work in a digital agency without hearing mention of Google Analytics. There’s a very strong chance you’ve probably used this service before; either monthly, weekly or daily to pull in a wide range of stats to plan for future marketing efforts. If you look around your office, you’ll probably see your token ‘Google Analytics buff.’
Many people will spend time on the analytics dashboard looking for metrics they can use to define ‘success’, especially after a marketing activity has taken place. It can also be used to identify problem areas - what didn’t work out as well as you’d hoped?
With so much readily available on one dashboard, we’ve noted five key metrics for you to take a look at. Cut through the fluff and easily navigate and find the metrics that can help advise you on your marketing strategy.
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. Although there is no exact percentage, a good bounce rate is usually considered to be under 40%. A high bounce rate could suggest that the content users are viewing isn’t enough to keep them engaged and that there may be a disconnect between your marketing strategy and your landing page.
As an example, person A may attract 100 people a day to their homepage, but have a 90% bounce rate. Person B, however, may only attract 20 people to their homepage, but have a mere 25% bounce rate. The conclusion is that person B, despite having less overall visits, has stronger content for the audience and will eventually reach their marketing goals quicker. It is worth noting however that there is a complete opposite argument to this. If users are being directed straight to your goal page, complete the action you want them to and leave, the bounce rate would still be high. In order to determine whether a high bounce rate has been positive or negative, you need to look at the total conversions/signups/clicks that this page brought.
It can be extremely useful to know exactly where your traffic has arrived from. If you are working closely with another company around your PR activity or you know a site that contains several links to your own, then you would expect the number of sessions from these sites to be high. If these sites are providing a low source of traffic, it could be an indication that they don’t work for your company and in future you could look at other sites to provide backlinks.
Furthermore, you could use this referral data to look at your traffic from a demographic perspective. This could help your company understand that, for example, referrals from London based companies provide the majority of your traffic and it would be a good idea to target this area above others first.
Whilst this comes under ‘referral traffic’, social can play a whole role of its own in how much traffic it can drive across different channels. Google Analytics will allow you to see exactly which channel has been the most useful tool for you and your website. From here, you can determine things such as which day is best to post your social content - as well as what time. Analytics will aid you in deciding if your work on social was a success overall; helping you plan future marketing events based on the success of your social media campaign.
Time on Page
This one may seem a little obvious. Traffic alone is not a great indicator of success. For example, you would expect your homepage to rank amongst the highest viewed pages in your reports, but this isn’t necessarily due to content there. Link this observation with ‘time on page’ and you can begin to understand just how interested your visitors are. A high number of visitors looks good, but if they choose to stay on site for long periods of time then this could be a major factor in deciding the success of your strategy. If this time on page is low, then there is a suggestion that your content isn’t powerful enough to keep your audience entertained.
This metric allows you to look at the behaviour of users and see exactly how their journey through your site took place. Visitor flow can be used to see if your marketing strategy is having an impact on getting visitors to head to your goal page; eventually completing the transaction or action you are looking for. A short journey from the landing page through to the goal page with a successful end result (i.e completing a transaction) could be a clear sign of success. If you see that people are moving further away from the goal page then this could indicate that users don’t have a clear idea of where they need to get to or simply aren’t the type of audience you are looking for. This scenario can be further investigated through the referrals metrics.
So, which metric is the most valuable?
In short, there’s no quick answer. This is because it all comes down to what your strategy was and what you aimed to get out of it. What should be taken from this, however, is how you would plan future strategies based on the statistics of your last, historic campaign. A combination of the Analytics metrics can help you decide which pages to optimise and which to pay more attention to - helping your marketing strategy achieve the exact results you were looking for.
Here at Fast Web Media, we have our fair share of Google Analytics experts! If you have any questions or queries about this articles, send us a Tweet over on @FastWebMedia!