Understanding Website Statistics in Google Analytics

With anywhere from 30-50 million sites using Google analytics¹ and 82% of marketers reporting SEO as more effective than before², can you afford to neglect to monitor your site’s traffic?

Is your company making use of analytics from your website?

Let me rephrase that – is your company using website statistics to their full capacity? For most businesses out there, the answer is no.

Business data comes in many different shapes and sizes, and it can be used for a variety of purposes.

Right now, we are going to be focusing on Google Analytics and several other important analytics platforms. Google Analytics is a robust platform to measure your digital successes and failures: for free. After reading this post, you will be equipped to get more meaningful insights from your website statistics, and hopefully, leverage these new tracking methods to get more sales!

Make sure you’re measuring the right website statistics

Google Analytics does a great job of allowing you to see both who is visiting your company’s site and what those visitors are doing once they are there.

Website Statistics Overall Picture from Google Analytics

The screenshot above is an example of a young company’s website data. As you can see, for the month-long period, they had 74 page views comprised of 21 sessions and 14 users, 57% of which were new. Once on the site, the average session duration was 3:17, bounce rate was 42%, and average pages/session was 3:52.

So what do all these terms mean? And what does these website statistics mean for your business?

Explanations of important website statistics

Sessions: A session in Google Analytics is defined as a period of browsing. If a potential customer opens your website, goes through a few pages, and then leaves, this constitutes a session. Alternatively, if they open up your site, then immediately leave, that too is considered a session.

Users: A user is a unique individual who is visiting your site. In the above example, you can see that many of the users came back for multiple sessions.

Pageviews: Pageviews is very straightforward; it’s the number of total pages viewed by all users across all sessions.

Pages/Session: Pages/Session shows you the average number of pages seen per session. This, as you can imagine, can be a complicated metric when it comes to defining success. How many pages per session is “good”? It will depend on your business and your website. A simple e-commerce site with a home page, an about us page, and a “buy now” page would be thrilled to have a 3.5 page views per session average, but a large news aggregation site like Buzzfeed will not be happy with that.

Still, pages per session is a good way to see how curious people are about your company. Are they clicking around to the about us section, visiting the blog, and actively looking for more information?

Average time on site: This is another great indicator of interest and curiosity. Simply put, this measures how much time the average viewer spends on your site.

Bounce Rate: Bounce rate, like pages per session, is a great method of tracking page engagement. Simply put, bounce rate tracks the rate at which potential customers leave upon hitting your page. So, if you had a bounce rate of 50%, it would mean half of all the people who hit your site left immediately after seeing the front page. It’s a great way to track not just if you’re appealing to the right audience, but if your site is really pulling people in.

Percent new sessions: This metric tracks the percentage of new visitors to your site. In this example, the number is 57%, meaning almost half of all sessions are from returning users. Depending on your vertical, you might want this number to be high or low.

By focusing on the basics of the audience feature of Google Analytics we have only started to scratch the surface of what is possible with these website statistics.

How is your company doing? Which website statistics surprised you the most?

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