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Google Analytics – Getting Started

Google Analytics is a service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about a website’s traffic. More importantly, it can measure your website leads and it’s free!

By learning to read and interpret the metrics in Google Analytics you will be able to make informed decisions about targeting, performance, design, landing pages, keywords and many other aspects of online marketing. For this example we are looking at “All Traffic Sources.”

How to Read Google Analytics

Traffic Sources: when referring to a group of visits to your website, a source is the place that sent a user to your site. Examples of sources include Google search, Bing/Yahoo search, Paid Search, and Bookmarks. Sources can be classified as organic, referral, direct (none) and CPC (paid ads). These are called mediums.

When you first open up your Google Analytics account, you will see your Account Overview (click for larger image):

Let’s define the metrics we see:

  • Visits: a visit occurs when someone arrives at one of the pages on your website and includes the pages they explore during that session. These can be either new visitors or returning visitors.

A new visit occurs the first time the user visits your site.
A returning visitor has visited your site before.

Imagine someone visits your car dealership’s website. Let’s call him Bob. Bob likes mid-size sedans, and he’s doing some research before buying his next vehicle. While Google Analytics will never tell you Bob’s real name, it can tell you some metrics about how he interacts with your website:

  • Unique Vistors: Bob is a unique visitor to your website. Every time he drops in, it counts as one unique visit; if he visits your website twice, he will have generated two unique visits.
  • Pageviews: during his time on your site, Bob will probably visit a few pages. He might look at your online showroom, visit your car videos section, and end up browsing your used car inventory. In this case, he would have generated three pageviews.
  • Pages/visit: in one visit, Bob looked at three pages – so that was three pages per visit. The ideal number of pages per visit varies based on your site, goals and the user’s intent. Keep in mind that users like Bob might still be comparing vehicle makes, deciding what body style they like, or they might be ready to take action and buy a vehicle.
  • Avg. Visit Duration (length of time in a session): the formula to calculate average visit duration is the total duration of all visits / number of visits. This is calculated based on the time between the first hit and the last hit of the visit. The time between these two points is the visit duration.
  • Bounce Rate: this can be defined as the percentage of people who arrive on your site and leave without visiting a second page. Bounce Rate can tell you if you are targeting the right audience and meeting their expectations.

Google Analytics Benchmark Averages for Bounce Rate

  • 40-60% Content websites
  • 30-50% Lead generation sites (Car Dealers)
  • 70-98% Blogs
  • 20-40% Retail sites
  • 10-30% Service sites
  • 70-90% Landing pages

More Information on Google Analytics

Now that you know the basics, here are a few GA questions to start asking yourself:

  1. Are the numbers of new visitors and unique visitors increasing?
  2. How many new visitors is my site generating through Organic Traffic vs. Paid Traffic?
  3. Are there spikes in specific campaigns due to offers or seasonality?
  4. What is the users’ average time on my site? How long is taking them to find what they need?
  5. Where are most of the visitors coming from (geographically)?
  6. How high is bounce rate for new visitors? Do I need to change the landing page?
  7. What are the most visited pages on my site? How can I improve these pages?
  8. What are the most popular keywords attracting visitors to my site?

Always try to ask questions based on the results you get from each metric. Every case is different and has unique data. Your numbers are telling a story, and you have to learn how to interpret that story and use what you learn in order to improve your website’s performance.

For help setting up your Analytics account feel free to contact us!

Contact us for Analytics information


Google Analytics, Google Tools

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