Google Analytics is a gold mine for data on your site’s performance. Anything you want to know, you can probably find it somewhere in Google Analytics if you drill down deep enough. In all that data, there are 8 core metrics that you should focus on if you want your business to perform better.
Bounce rate and exit rate measure which pages your visitors are leaving your site from. Specifically, bounce rate measures when a visitor enters your site and leaves without interacting, while exit rate measures which page was the last one used by a visitor.
Knowing these analytics lets you figure out which pages are turning people away. It’s not always bad for a page to have a high exit rate; for instance, contact forms and checkout screens will often have high exit rates because they are the last pages your users should be using most of the time.
If you have pages that have unexpectedly high bounce or exit rates, though, you know something’s wrong. Take another look at the page and think about why it might be turning people away. If you can improve it, it will encourage people to stick around a while longer.
This is the statistic everyone wants. How many visitors are you getting daily, and is the number going up? There’s more to it than that, though. It’s important to know how many new visitors you’re attracting, and how many are repeat visitors coming back for more.
Check out the difference between your visitors and unique visitors and ask yourself whether it’s acceptable. A high percentage of returning visitors means you’re struggling to attract new visitors to your site, but too many unique visitors means you’re failing to build a loyal following.
Obviously, the best ratio of unique versus returning visitors will vary based on your business, but knowing the numbers allows you to make the changes that are best for you, so keep an eye on it.
Knowing how to read the Behaviour Flow of your site is a great way to see how people are using it, and to help improve the customer experience. Which landing pages are encouraging the most visitors to use your site, and which pages send them on their way? Which parts of the site are working best, and where can you make improvements?
If you know how you want visitors to use your site, Behaviour Flow can show you where you might be falling down. Looking at people’s behaviour on your landing pages will help you retain new users, and figuring out which are your biggest exit pages helps you know what’s turning people away.
When you know how people are using your site, you know which specific areas most need your attention. Fix any broken links and improve the user experience.
Time on page and average visitor duration can be unreliable analytics, but once you know how to use them, they’re incredibly valuable. You should probably know roughly how long it takes a visitor to get what they need from your site. Whether it’s landing or conversion, or simple information gathering, people should only be spending so much time on your site.
If you find that time spent on a particular page or average visit duration exceeds your expectations, it means people are struggling to use your site. It’s taking visitors too long to get where they need to go, which is ultimately off-putting. Look at why that might be and improve your site usability.
If, on the other hand, visitors are spending less time on your website than you might expect, it indicates that your some aspect of your site is putting people off before they give it a chance. They may be having a poor user experience. Look closely at where the customer experience falls down (Behaviour Flow) and see what you can improve.
In general, users should be moving through your site at the pace you’d expect.
If your site has ecommerce capabilities, you’ll want to keep track of this, but even if you’re not concerned with ecommerce, it’s something you should keep an eye on. You can set your own goals and conversions to keep track of, and even assign monetary values to them.
Once you’ve set your goals, you can see how well your site is helping you achieve them. If you’re running paid advertising, this will help you keep track of return on investment, or you can just see if your site is doing its job properly, and track improvement over time.
Tracking cost per acquisition and average order value helps you track your return on investment. If you’re not keeping track of this, you may well be wasting money on poorly performing advertising campaigns, or underspending on the campaigns that could be earning you much, much more.
Looking at average order value will also help you figure out how much each conversion is worth. Combined with cost per acquisition, you can see how much you’re spending to gain a customer, and how much they’re giving back to you. These two statistics go hand in hand to give you a good idea of your return on investment.
Knowing where your visitors are coming from is powerful, because it means you know where to focus your efforts. Are you getting a lot of visitors from search engines? If so, your SEO is paying off. Consider investing more. Not seeing the results from social media you were expecting? Something needs to change.
Source is one of the most powerful analytics available. It indicates where people are coming from, and where you should focus your efforts. It gives you direction, and reports on your success as well.
Knowing how your users browse your site lets you play to your strengths. Although responsive design is important, if you can see that 98% of your users are browsing on a PC, it may not be your biggest priority. Conversely, if those users are on mobile, make sure your site is easy to browse on mobile before you worry about how it looks ‘normally’.Being aware of the devices people use will also tell you which devices are providing the best user experience, or the best conversion rates. If people on mobile and tablet have an especially high bounce rate, your site may need to be more responsive. If people are browsing on mobile and buying on desktop, it suggests that your mobile site needs to handle checkout better, or just that your desktop site needs to handle those transactions seamlessly to keep the conversions running smoothly.