What each of the top Google Analytics metrics means

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When it comes to Web Analytics, the first tool that comes to mind for many people is the Google Analytics . Besides being the most widely used analytics service in the world, it is quite complete in terms of information and provides very deep data, whatever the need.

Nevertheless, for those who are new to it and still have little familiarity with the tool, many of the metrics brought by Google Analytics are not easily understood.

In this post, we will explain the meaning of each one of the basic metrics from Google Analytics and can be concluded in analyzing them.

Visits and Visitors

Visits and visitors are two terms that are easily confused. Even the most experienced in metric already caught with questions on the subject.

Visitors number (or Unique Visitors) is the number of people who visited the site, regardless of how many times you did.

Number of visits shows how many times the site was accessed, regardless of the amount of people.

For example, if a visitor reaches the same site three times during the day, Google Analytics will compute 1 guest and 3 visits.

These metrics are important to be monitored because they reflect directly the audience that the website or blog of your own company. For example, a site that always keeps stable the number of visitors and visits can show that you are not attracting new visitors, or that people who access the site are always the same.

Page views

Page views, or Pageviews says how many pages of the site were visited. By itself, this is nothing but a vanity metric .

For example, owning 50,000 pageviews and 100 visitors on the site is completely different to have 50,000 page views and 50,000 visitors. Both cases are extreme and different, and require specific improvement actions.

A metric that is derived from page views and it brings the most relevant information regarding site visitors’ behavior is the Pages / Visit. It is a number that shows the average page views per visit that the site obtained.

It is hard to say what is a good number because it varies for each type of business and purpose you have with the site. In this case, it is worth examining whether, for a given amount of pages / visit the site’s conversion rate is satisfactorily. If not, it pays to optimize the flow for visitors make more conversions to navigate the site.

Rejection Rate (Bounce Rate) and output rate

bounce rate shows the percentage of people accessing only one page of the website of your company and do not continue navigating to a second page.

Here on the blog, in a previous post, we explain more fully what it means to bounce rate and how to optimize it .

In short, the rejection rate should not be viewed on a gross basis, for the entire site, but to each of the sources of traffic and also the bounce rate of each of the most important pages, such as Landing Pages, Pages selling products and services, among others.

The output rate, in turn, shows the percentage of visitors who were on a particular page and left the site. However, unlike the bounce rate, the exit rate does not take into consideration whether or not the front page of the site viewed by a visitor.

Thus, each one of the most important pages of the website should have the output rate analyzed piecemeal basis, so that he could think of optimizations.

Percentage of new visits

The percentage of new visits shows how many of the visitors of a certain period are visiting the site for the first time.

To analyze this metric, it common sense: a very low rate means that the retention of the site is good, but have not attracted new visitors; has a very high rate means that the site is attracting a lot of people, but these people do not return.

Here also applies an important observation: the identification of new and returnees visitors is done through a cookie , a sort of “stamp” made in the visitor’s browser the first time he accesses the site. When the visitor returns, Google Analytics sees this stamp and know that that person has been this way before. What happens is that this cookie can be deleted manually, or even turned off, and when the visitor returns, is counted as a new visitor. Although not so common, it happens, and so there is a small margin of error.

Traffic Sources

Several analyzes can be made for each traffic source. For example, the rejection rate can be analyzed for both people arriving via Google (organic traffic), and for those who access via links (referral traffic, or referral ).

Report RD Station showing visits by source of traffic.

Below is a brief explanation of each of the main sources:

  • Direct Traffic : are the people who access the site by typing the address in the browser, or by going through the favorites;
  • Links (other sites) : also known as referral traffic, or referral . Shows all third-party sites that lead visitors to your site. This list also enter social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
  • Organic Search : shows all the keywords that brought visitors to your company’s website through Google and other search engines.
  • Campaigns (CPC) : also known as paid traffic are all keywords that brought visitors to your site but through AdWords ads.