Paul Wackell – Imagine Web Design
Principal Designer – Marketing Consultant
You’ve received your first Google Analytics report for your website – now what? What does all this stuff mean?!?! All those numbers! All those terms! Oh the Humanity! I want to hit my head against the wall, or at least go play golf, or Ice Curling (for all you Canadians out there)!
By way of explanation, Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can track nearly anything and everything about your website traffic. From basic info to tracking pay per click campaigns it’s all there. You can configure how you get the info in dozens of ways so for this article I am focusing on a report that represents a typical report for on of our clients. In this case the report is for a client that performs interior renovations with a focus in kitchens, baths and basement remodeling. Located in central Massachusetts, this client’s report is for the month of March 2010. Visits – Google defines this as “A Visitor Session is a defined period of interaction between a Visitor (both unique and untrackable visitor types) and a website.” If that is not clear, what it really means is a visitor is and instance of someone coming to your website. Someone (or possibly a computer program) came to your website and did something. This is a very basic stat as it does not distinguish between unique and repeat visitors but it is helpful at least in terms of an overall measurement of traffic to your site.
Pageviews – Google defines this as “A pageview is an instance of a page being loaded by a browser.” Notice they define it as a page loaded into a browser, not a page read. There is no way to tell if the visitor actually read that page but again this stat has value as it is used with the stat for visits to calculate the pages/visit stat.
Pages/Visit – this is the average number of pages viewed by each visitor. It is the pageviews divided by visits. Again this is a high level stat but valuable none that less as it helps to know if your visitors are actually going into your site and looking around.
Bounce Rate – Google defines this as “the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.”
Average Time on Site – As this term implies this is the amount of time each visitor stayed on the site. This is a high level stat and can be deceiving if most visitors stayed of 10 seconds and one visitor stayed 10 hours but again it does have value particularly when you view the stat month to month.
% New Visits – Google defines this as “Google Analytics records a visitor as ‘new’ when any page on your site has been accessed for the first time by a web browser. This is accomplished by setting a first-party cookie on that browser. Thus, new visitors are not identified by the personal information they provide on your site, but are rather uniquely identified by the web browser they used.” This can be a very valuable stat. For example if your goal is to find new clients having a high rate of new visitors could mean that lots of people are interested in your type of service and found your site. That could lead to new clients. Conversely if you are trying to resell to your existing clients and this number is low then for some reason you aren’t getting the traffic from your clients that you want.
Statistics are most valuable when you properly interpret the info and take action on it. Call your web or marketing professional to help you interpret your Analytics report and use that information to develop marketing strategies to take advantage of this knowledge.