Data is only good if you can find it, but if you’re not a data junkie, you might find Google Analytics a bit overwhelming.
Have no fear! Here are my picks for the top 5 metrics you should be monitoring in Google Analytics.
1. Conversion Rate and Goal Completions
Number one with a bullet! This has got to be your number one KPI; after all, it’s tracking the most important actions you want your users to take on the site. The goals are yours to define (sales, bookings, form submissions, newsletter sign-ups, etc.), but they’re extremely important for you to track as they reflect your overall business and marketing goals. So get these bad boys established and tracking.
2. Time on Page
Want to make sure people are actually taking the time to consume your content? Then look no further than the Time on Page metric. As someone who writes blog posts (like this one!) you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be checking to see how much time you (yeah, you!) have spent reading this post.
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3. Bounce Rate
The whole point of our website is to get people to take an action. Bounce Rate measures the percentage of people who come to the site and don’t take any action. It can be a bit complex, but it’s an important indicator of whether your site is doing a good job of giving users a reason to do something. It’s one thing to want people to consume our content, but another to get them to something else (check out more blog content, read a case study, etc.) The more the user does on our site, the more likely they are to eventually convert.
4. Top Performing Pages
Which pages, or what content, is getting the most love on your site? Is it content that will lead them to convert (pricing pages, case studies, reviews)? I highly recommend you keep tabs on the pages that are asking for the sale. If your goal is to get users to download a pricing guide, it’s important to get them to the page where the form lives, correct? Well, if that page’s traffic numbers are low, it might be because it’s hard to find. By watching your top performing pages, you’ll also be watching your worst performing pages. Without doing this, you won’t know what’s working and what is not.
5. Source/Medium and Referrals
Knowing how your audience is finding you is key to understanding how your marketing channels are driving traffic. Putting a lot of effort into social media and seeing a lack of traffic coming from Facebook? Time to reassess. Same goes with SEO or any marketing tactics that are going to show results over time. In order to understand if your efforts, budget, or time is paying off, you’re going to want to keep a sharp eye on where your web traffic is coming from.
So there you have it, my top 5 metrics/KPIs/data points you should be consistently reporting on in Google Analytics. There are a million other things you can dig into, all very helpful and valuable, but for anyone trying to wrap their heads around Google Analytics, this is a great place to start.
Dan Seitz is the Director of Strategy at Hawthorn Creative and has helped execute marketing strategies for clients from all over the hospitality industry. He believes you shouldn’t have to choose between The Beatles and The Stones.