Searching for analytics

Website analytics give marketers a better understanding of how their online efforts are impacting their business. And of course, when it comes to web searches, Google reigns supreme. It only makes sense to utilize Google Analytics, the site’s built-in tool to measure website traffic. Google Analytics can help companies understand how their audiences search the web, determine what content is resonating with prospects on their websites, improve search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, and provide insights on how to enhance the overall user experience.

Most of our clients are already utilizing Google Analytics, but some aren’t sure what to measure or what terms really mean when clicking through their monthly reports. If you’re reading this and have no idea what Google Analytics is or how to set it up, read Moz’s blog on how to get started (and get started now!). Otherwise, continue reading for answers to some of our clients’ most frequently asked questions related to Google Analytics.

How Often Should We Look at Metrics?

The answer to this question is highly dependent on a long list of business factors, but it’s common practice for marketers to review Google Analytics reports weekly (Inside New City). If that seems impossible, review reports at least once a month to ensure there are no underlying site issues and to track overall content success.

Understanding metrics data and reporting can be rather time consuming, but there are a few tools you can use to save time and see the full picture:

  • Google Data Studio
    • If you’re searching for a way to easily share reporting with your team or shareholders, Google Data Studio could be the answer. It’s a free Google tool that takes your Google Analytics data and creates an easy to share, real-time slide presentation.
  • For a deeper dive into analytics, purchasing advanced data tracking software may be beneficial. Examples of analytics software include:

What Is a Bounce Rate?

Definition: When a user visits a single page but they do not view any additional pages (Exposure Ninja).

If you see your bounce rate increase, it’s most likely from one of the following situations:

  • A web visitor found the exact information they needed on a single page.
  • They did not find what they were searching for or the webpage was too difficult to use, so they left the site.
  • The information on the page or the call to action (CTA) was not clear.
  • What is an average bounce rate?
    • According to HubSpot, an average bounce rate for a website is between 40 and 55 percent.
    • Fifty-five to 65 percent show that there are areas that need attention, like improving page load time, redefining meta-tags, or fixing headers and subheads.
    • If your bounce rate falls within the range of 65 to 90 percent, consider taking immediate steps to improve the usability of your website.
    • But when a bounce rate is above 90 percent or below 20 percent, most likely there is a tracking installation error.
  • Why is bounce rate important?
    • Bounce rates can provide insights to measure a website’s overall engagement. When visitors arrive on your page, the goal should be to engage them and drive traffic toward a CTA for more information.
  • How can you fix a high bounce rate?
    • Start by looking at landing pages with high bounce rates and ask yourself the following questions:
      • Do visitors have a clear next step?
      • Is the information overwhelming or cluttered?
      • Are they getting frustrated because they do not immediately see what they are looking for?
      • Is the page load time high?
      • Is the content relevant to my audience and error-free?

Why Is Understanding Average Session Duration Important?

Definition: On average, how much time a visitor is spending on your website (Databox). This can include anything from reading content, watching an embedded video, or exploring your website.

  • What is an average session duration length?
    • Most companies report average session durations of between two to three minutes.
  • Why is knowing the average session duration important?
    • The average session duration provides a good understanding of the overall engagement of your site. For example, if a company is extremely focused on producing content but has a low average session duration, its website content may not be resonating with the intended audience. Businesses can use this data to perfect their website layouts and content strategies.
  • How can you improve your average session duration?
    • Make sure your content and web copy are clear, concise and easy to consume. Visitors should be able to skim the content on your page and understand it. Some ways to get started:
      • Include a brief paragraph that describes the content.
      • Have bold, eye-catching headings on landing pages.
      • Include visuals like videos, images or infographics on your pages.
      • Put yourself in your visitors’ shoes: think about where they might want to go next on the website.
      • Provide clear, quality links and CTAbuttons.

What Are Total Sessions Reported by Google Analytics?

Definition: Total sessions reported are individual visitor interactions with your website that take place within a specific time frame (Google). For example, a new session can begin after 30 minutes of inactivity or when a new day begins (the clock strikes midnight). A single visitor can have multiple sessions if they come to your website, leave and then return. If they come back, a new session will begin.

  • What is a common average session duration length?
    • This number is going to vary based on industry and audience. If you’re unsure how you’re doing or whether or not you’re improving, set up benchmarks in Google Analytics to track your company’s individual progress.
  • Why are total sessions important?
    • This measurement helps you understand the quantity of new and returning visitors coming to your website.
  • How can I increase total sessions reported?
    • Consistently offer your web visitors new and refreshed content.
    • Invest in SEO and PPC efforts.

Other Important Google Analytics Terms to Know

If you aren’t familiar with Google Analytics, a report can seem overwhelming. But, the tool and others like it are extremely beneficial to marketers and can make it easier to understand visitor behavior. If you’d like to learn more about the basics of marketing analytics, Google offers free online courses. In the meantime, here are a few other important marketing analytics terms you should know:

Direct Traffic: In Google Analytics, the word “direct” is referring to when a user is typing your company’s URL directly into the address bar or they have it saved as a bookmark.

Organic Traffic: A web user comes to your website via search terms within Google or another search engine.

Referral Traffic: A visitor comes from another website by clicking a link that takes them to your company website.

Paid Traffic: A visitor comes to your website through paid search keywords or paid online advertisements.