Services such as Google Analytics offer invaluable data. Knowing which metrics to track can shine a light on everything, from what content your users prefer to where visitors come from. Therefore, if you want to cut through the noise, you’ll need to know the most important Google Analytics metrics.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the most important Google Analytics metrics. We’ll explore data such as traffic sources, bounce rate, and more.
In this article, 📝 we’ll help you navigate the massive amounts of data that Google Analytics shares with you.
We’ll break down the ten most critical Google Analytics metrics and explain how to improve your scores. Let’s get to it!
The most important Google Analytics metrics to track in 2022
When analyzing your data from Google Analytics, here are ten metrics that you should check and understand:
1. Traffic and traffic sources
Overall, traffic is one of the first things you see when you log in to Google Analytics. The platform shows you how many users have visited your site recently. In most cases, you’ll see a graph that covers the last seven days:
If you jump to the Traffic Acquisition section, the platform will show you the percentage of recent visitors from different sources. Google Analytics segments traffic into direct, paid, organic search, social, and other sources:
This information is critical because it gives you an idea of how well your marketing campaigns are performing. For example, if you’re not getting a lot of organic traffic, your content might not be ranking well on search engine results pages (SERPs). That can point to an issue with your content strategy or search engine optimization (SEO).
2. Bounce rate
Bounce rate is a metric that tells you what percentage of visitors arrive at your site and then leave without visiting a second page on your site. They’re “bouncing out” so to speak.
There’s no single “good” bounce rate – it depends entirely on the goal for each page. Some pages might have bounce rates of under 50%, while others might be over 80% even when fully optimized.
However, it is important to track changes over time, so that you can see if your bounce rate is going up or check if your optimization efforts are able to bring it down.
3. Conversion rate
Google Analytics enables you to configure specific “events” as goals. For example, if you run a mobile app, one of your conversion goals might be for users to make in-app purchases. Your conversion rate for that goal measures the percentage of users that complete a sale:
There are many other ways to track conversions, particularly if you use WordPress. For example, WooCommerce monitors sales automatically. However, Google Analytics can help you track goals you might not otherwise be able to.
If you have a poor conversion rate, 📉 you might need to update your sales copy. You may also consider changing your call to action (CTA) and using A/B split testing to find the highest-converting content.
4. Average session duration
Your average session duration appears alongside traffic statistics in Google Analytics. It’s called Average engagement time, and it lets you know how much time active users spend, on average, on your website:
Ideally, you want this number to be as high as possible. If you have an average engagement time of under two or three minutes, users barely spend any time on your website before leaving. That may be because they can’t find the information they need or because your site is difficult to interact with.
💡 There are a lot of ways to increase the average session duration. The simplest method is to add more internal links within your content so that users can jump from one post to another. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that your site’s key pages are easy to find by using an intuitive menu structure.
Reducing your bounce rate will also positively affect your average session duration.
5. Average pages per session
Average pages per session goes hand in hand with average session duration. In an ideal world, users would visit every page on your website before leaving. At the very least, you want visitors to see at least a few pages and read their content.
If the average visitor is only visiting one page per session, this usually means that you need to add more internal links. Redoing the navigation menu can also help improve this metric because it’s the primary way users move throughout most sites.
6. User location
User location is perhaps one of the most important Google Analytics metrics for most sites. If you show ads, networks often pay different rates for views and clicks depending on where users are located. Moreover, if you’re selling products and services, you probably want to focus on customers from a specific area:
All of that information appears under the Demographics section in Google Analytics. The platform can also tell you which cities users are visiting you from, their ages, the ratio of male-to-female users, and what some of their top interests are. Therefore, you can use this data to effectively pin down your target audience.
7. Percentage of return visitors
The most valuable visitors to any website are those who keep returning to it. Google Analytics shows you what percentage of your traffic is a one-off and how many of those visitors are recurring:
On average, a good return visitor rate is around 30%. If your return visitor numbers are lower than that, you’re failing to make a lasting impression on users.
💡 There are a lot of ways to increase user retention. For instance, you can start an email list and encourage new visitors to sign up for it. Creating effective marketing campaigns can keep users coming back and even help you increase conversions.
8. Search queries
Depending on which version of Google Analytics you’re using, you might be able to see the keywords that send visitors to your website from search engine results. These visits fall under the organic traffic category because they come from the SERPs:
Google Search Console is an alternative tool for monitoring the keywords that send you traffic. By connecting Search Console to your website, you can make sure there aren’t any crawling errors, and you can also use it to monitor site performance.
9. Top landing pages
This metric identifies the pages on your website that most users see first. Typically, the top landing pages will be your homepage and some of your content pages. They will also usually contain the best performing keywords if you rely on organic traffic:
This data reveals information about the effectiveness of your marketing and SEO strategies. If you’re promoting specific pages, they should be among the top landing options for your site. If they’re not, your methods might not be paying off. This could be a sign to rework your advertising strategies.
10. Exit pages
Finally, the exit pages metric tells you where users leave your site. In newer versions of Google Analytics, you can find this information under Insights by searching for the Top Page title by Exits metric:
Your site’s top exit pages should be varied, and the numbers should be roughly similar for most of them. However, in most cases, the homepage will have the highest number of exits.
💡 If there are pages on your site with higher than average exit numbers, they might have usability issues. Those pages might be returning errors or not giving users the information or feedback they want. Fixing those problems should help you increase the average time on site.
Start monitoring these Google Analytics metrics today
Perhaps the only downside to using Google Analytics is that it provides too much information. At least, that might seem to be the case if you’re new to the platform. With so much data at your fingertips, it can be hard to identify the most important Google Analytics metrics.
Fortunately, understanding the various metrics can help you unlock the full potential of analytics. To give you some examples, data related to return users can tell you if visitors find your site helpful. Checking how long users spend on your site can reveal whether they think your content is engaging. Furthermore, that’s just the tip of the analytics iceberg.
Do you have any questions about Google Analytics metrics? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!