According to a report by Econsultancy and IBM, 33% of elite marketers say that having the right technologies for data collection and analysis is the most useful way to understand customers. There are a number of tools out there that promise in-depth analytics and comprehensive customer data. But with so many available, all offering different types of data analysis, knowing where to start can be difficult.
The good news is that you don’t need to spend thousands on the latest tools and technologies to get valuable customer insights. Google’s free tool, Google Analytics has a huge amount of useful data at your fingertips. The following are some of the most useful metrics to look at on your website that can all be found on Google Analytics.
A page view is a single view of a page on your website by a visitor. It shows how often a visitor successfully accesses the content on your site. A high number of page views is typically a good indication of high quality, relevant website content. However, be aware that in some cases it can indicate that a visitor can’t easily find what they are looking for, so they have to look around a number of pages to find it. A high number of page views can also mean that the pages on the site are not showing up properly and the user is reloading it several times to see the content.
In order to work out the reason behind your website’s high number of page views, whether it’s your engaging content or it’s indicative of an underlying problem, you can look at other metrics, such as the average time on page. If the average time on the page is really low, users are likely not taking the time to actually look at your content which would indicate an underlying website issue.
New Vs Returning Visitors
A number of studies have found that websites will typically have significantly more new visitors than returning visitors. However, returning visitors will have higher engagement, through a lower bounce rate, higher session durations and more conversions. The key here is to understand how new users interact with your site, in order to make the best impression on them first time and ensure they come back as a returning visitor.
Looking at the new vs returning visitor metrics can help you understand how a new visitor interacts with your website; which is often very different to how a returning visitor interacts. By isolating your data from new visitors, you can look at their experience on their first visit to your site and take steps to improve this. Start by considering how user-friendly your site is. If your visitors haven’t been to your site before, it needs to be easy to navigate and give them easy access to the information that they are looking for.
Most marketers today will be using a number of channels to run digital marketing campaigns. As such, your website will have incoming traffic streams from a variety of sources. Google Analytics has a channels report that will track visitors from the main sources: Direct, Search, Referral, Social, Paid and Email.
It’s important to look at these different sources and consider how customers from each channel interact with your site. Do some channels have a high bounce rate? Is time on page or number of pages viewed greater on certain channels? And, most importantly, is the conversion rate higher from one channel? Armed with this data, you can adjust your strategy on underperforming channels and reassign your budget to focus on the channels with the greatest ROI.
Average Session Duration
Average session duration is the 4th-most-tracked metric marketers look at from Google Analytics – only users, bounce rate, and sessions are ranked higher. The average session duration is the average length of time (hours, minutes, and seconds) that a visitor spends (per session) on your website. Typically, the more relevant and engaging your website content, the more time a visitor will spend on your site.
According to research from Databox, 41% of marketers say that their average session duration is between 2-3 minutes. 55% reported an average session duration greater than 3 minutes, and 27% reported greater than 4 minutes. It’s difficult to determine what the optimum average session duration is, as this is dependent on many factors, which are unique to the business and its website. Generally speaking though, the higher the time on page, the better.
A ‘bounce’ occurs when a visitor comes to a page on your site and leaves within a short amount time, without visiting any other pages or completing any events. As such, the lower your bounce rate is, the better. Having a high bounce rate can be indicative of several problems on your website, such as irrelevant sources of traffic or a poor landing page experience. Blogs will often have high bounce rates as visitors will go to the website to read the post that they found and then move on. Other pages that have high bounce rates, however, should be investigated. There are a number of steps that you can, and should, take to reduce the bounce rate. In addition, if you notice that landing pages for certain campaigns have a high bounce rate, it may be that your ad creative or copy for that particular campaign are not aligned well to the landing page experience. These are all fixable issues that can easily be identified and solved by looking at bounce rate metrics.
Your bounce rate will not be entirely dependant on your home page. Most websites have their final call to action (or conversion) on a 2nd or even 3rd page of the site. In order to maximise the conversions on your site, it’s important to understand the conversion steps online. Once you have an understanding of this, you can look deeper into the process to find out at which stage visitors are leaving the website. For an e-commerce site, this is often referred to as shopping cart abandonment. By identifying and analysing these exit pages, you can make improvements that will reduce drop off rate and increase conversion rates.
Interactions Per Session
Your website will have many visitors that don’t convert. For these users, it’s important to monitor their behaviour on your website. Tracking the amount of time users typically spend on the page, whether they play a video, and any reviews or comments that they make can help you map out their journey to conversion – whether that is a purchase, sign-up, subscription or download. If you know exactly how they are interacting with your site, you can work out how to influence their behaviour in a way that moves them through the buyer journey to conversion.
Goal Conversion Rate
Your goal conversion rate shows the percentage of visits that resulted in a conversion, as defined by a goal that has been set up in Google Analytics. This is arguably the main Key Performance Indicator for measuring how effective your website and its landing pages are.
Your conversion rate tells you what percentage of customers or prospects take a desired action on your website. The conversion goals that you have set up for your business will depend on your unique business circumstances and should be aligned with the overall digital marketing objectives. For example, an e-commerce website is most likely to count a purchase as a conversion, while an insurance company may count a conversion as someone who expresses an interest in their services on their website by filling out their details on an enquiry form. Conversions can also be set up to count other smaller wins for your company. For example, if someone downloads a whitepaper, watches a video, or spends a defined amount of time on your website, this can also be tracked as a conversion. In order to track conversions in this way, you have to set up goals in Google Analytics. Once you understand your conversion rates, most of your efforts should be focused on maximizing them.
Cost Per Conversion
This is another vitally important metric for a business to consider. If your cost per conversion is too high it will negatively affect your margins and your business’ bottom line. If you are accurately monitoring your cost per conversion, you will know how much you are paying for leads from each advertising stream. You can then use this information to save marketing budget by removing costly and ineffective advertising channels. On the inverse, having a better understanding your cost per conversion on each channel means that you can put more of your marketing budget into the channels that are working for you to increase your marketing ROI.
Once you know the most important metrics to look at, you can better use Google Analytics to analyse the effectiveness of your website and digital marketing campaigns. At Digital Squad, being the leading Digital Marketing Agency Auckland, we’ve worked on hundreds of digital marketing campaigns, and as such, we know how to analyse your existing campaigns to make the most of what’s working and fix what’s not. If your business needs help to boost your digital marketing, get in touch with the SEO Specialists Auckland today.