Five web metrics businesses should pay attention to
Google Analytics and web analytics can be very overwhelming. There are hundreds of metrics and reports to browse through and sometimes it is difficult to determine where to focus when it comes to this data overload.
That said, from my 12 years of experience in the digital marketing world, I learned that there are five metrics that we should watch closely, metrics that should spark deliberation if they rise or fall, and metrics that can impact our decision-making process.
When I open Google Analytics every morning, these are the five metrics that I keep an eye on:
Average session duration
This is the average time people spend visiting a website. This is a particularly important metric from both a user standpoint and a search engine standpoint.
From a user standpoint, you want to ensure that the content you are creating is being viewed by your client and is also capturing their attention. Thus, a high average session duration reflects that you are reaching the right audience with the right information. Conversely, a low average session duration signals a lack of interest or connection amongst your visitors.
Average session duration is ideally analyzed on a page-by-page basis and not just generally across the site because the hard truth of marketing is that the session duration varies from high value pages to low value pages. Being able to see this on a page-by-page basis will help you better understand the preferences of your visitors.
From a search engine standpoint, average session duration is in the top 5 SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking factors in 2021. As a result, if you get users to stay longer on your site or “property,” your chances of getting a higher ranking on Google search results are better.
Conversions & conversion rates
A conversion is anytime a customer or site visitor completes a desired action on your web property. Conversions will differ from business to business, depending on your unique goals and objectives. The action must be fully completed to be considered a conversion.
Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your site or web property who complete a specific goal or objective.
Examples of conversions:
Visiting more than two pages on a site
Purchasing a product
Given that these metrics often result in financial gain, it is important to keep any eye on the rise and fall of each of these conversions.
If one of them rises, you must understand why this occurred. By determining where the increase in sales came from, you can replicate it and capitalize on it in the future.
If there is a drop, then you must investigate. Did your campaigns suddenly pause? Are your ads underperforming? Is your site not loading properly? Is the checkout process malfunctioning?
The bounce rate is important for both search engines and user behaviour.
What is a bounce? A bounce occurs when a visitor leaves your site without taking any action.
The bounce rate is the rate at which visitors leave your site—most of the time immediately—without taking any action. For example, if 100 visitors came to your site and 70 per cent left without taking any actions, then your bounce rate would be 70 per cent.
So why is the bounce rate important for user behaviour? Logically speaking, if there are many visitors to your site that leave quickly, it is a bad sign. The reasons can range from:
Site speed and performance (having a slow loading site)
Lack of engaging content
Too much text, not enough visuals
A non-responsive site
No clear CTA (Call-to-Action)
The list can go on. It is imperative that you keep an eye on the bounce rate and always investigate any rise or fall.
Keep in mind that the bounce rate on blogs is often higher than e-commerce sites. Additionally, the bounce rate on mobile devices and tablets is higher than it is on laptops.
Acquisition metrics are typically found under “Acquisition Overview.” They are usually what marketers analyze the most. The metrics show where visitors are coming from and how the sources of traffic are performing when it comes to engagement and conversions.
These reports help reveal the performance of your paid campaigns, if your ads are paying off, if there are any problems with your SEO, and a lot more.
I reference this report twice weekly for all my clients. It gives me direction on where to put my efforts and how to prioritize my marketing plan.
Landing page metrics
The landing page is the specific page a visitor lands on when they first arrive to your site. For example, if someone visiting your company’s Facebook page clicks a link to your latest blog post, they should be taken to the landing page.
As they say, there are no second chances when it comes to first impressions. Your landing page is your first impression when it comes to digital marketing, therefore, it is vital you leave the right one.
With my clients, I tend to look at the best performing pages and apply these findings to the pages that are underperforming.
I also tend to revise my marketing strategies accordingly. If I see that a landing page is bringing me a higher conversion, I will increase the paid traffic campaigns to these pages. And if there are pages that are performing poorly, I usually revise their campaigns or reduce their budgets until the landing page has improved.
To learn more about web metrics and Google Analytics, register for Tarek Riman’s Introduction to Google Analytics online workshop.
Want to learn more about Tarek Riman? You can find his bio here.