5 Google Analytics Metrics to Watch
You can assume what people are doing when they get to your website—but do you know for sure? Are your digital advertising campaigns leading to increased awareness and conversions? If you’re not consistently reviewing Google Analytics for your site, you just don’t know.
It’s easy to get lost in a data rabbit hole in Google Analytics—and if you’re new to Google Analytics, you might not even know where to start. Some basic metrics can give you a sense of how your customers are interacting with your digital ads and your website. Here are five metrics the Strateligent team monitors regularly.
1) Page Views + Page Path Flow
You don’t have to guess what products or services your customers are interested in once a customer visits your website, you can see which pages they visit and how they get there. Page views give you key insight into your customers’ interests—taking the guesswork out of what you should be promoting.
2) Engagement Rate
Are the people who are visiting your page interested in your content? Engagement rate looks at engaged sessions—a session where someone either visits more than one page or visits one page and spends more than ten seconds there (e.g., reads a blog post) or converts (e.g., makes a reservation). Engagement rate is a good way to get a pulse on the effectiveness of your content and web design, as well as the quality of your web traffic. A low engagement rate could be a sign of poor web design—is there a clear path to conversion or to learn more? It could also mean your digital ads are targeting the wrong audience.
3) Session Duration
People are visiting your website—are they staying? Session duration is the time people spend on your site in one sitting.
A low average session duration means people are leaving quickly and not poking around much—this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re still seeing a high engagement rate (see above). But if people are moving on quickly without converting, you may need to re-evaluate your ad relevancy and landing page content and design.
A high average session duration doesn’t always mean your website is deeply engaging, either—people do keep sessions open in the background (raise your hand if you’ve ever had 27 tabs open in your browser at once ). This is a good example of why it’s important to review several key data points and to not rely on one metric to measure success.
4) Conversions + Goals
Conversions are the actions you want your customers to take once they visit your site. Generally, these are leads or sales. Examples include clicks to call, form submissions, page views, or eCommerce sales. If you’re not seeing conversions, ask why. Are your digital ads targeting the right people? Is there a clear path for conversion on your landing page (i.e., a phone number, contact form, etc.)?
5) Source/Medium + Referrals
Where are your customers coming from? Source/medium and referrals show how your customers are getting to your website. Direct, search, and social media traffic can provide insight into campaign performance as well as your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
Direct traffic comes from typing your URL directly into a browser—a high percentage of direct traffic indicates your customers know your name. Word of mouth, radio, print, and outdoor advertising all contribute to direct traffic.
Google/organic traffic comes from a Google search. (You’ll see other search engines, too: bing/organic, yahoo/organic, duckduckgo/organic.) SEO (search engine optimization) is key to getting traffic from any search engine. Generally, the higher your business ranks on Google, the more traffic you’ll see. If you’re not seeing much search traffic, you may need to re-evaluate your keywords and revamp your SEO strategy.
Google/cpc traffic comes from paid (cost-per-click) Google ads. Monitoring the traffic from your Google search and display campaigns can tell you if they’re engaging and relevant.
Social media referrals can be either organic or paid. Either way, you can catch a glimpse of which social channels are working best. Organic content usually appears as a referral (e.g., facebook.com/referral). You can identify paid social media campaigns if you used unique URL parameters when you set them up. If you’re not seeing much traffic from your social channels ask these questions: Are you linking to your website in your posts? Is your content otherwise engaging (e.g., likes, shares, etc.)? Do you have a clear call to action?
In Practice: Cuyuna Adventure Town USA ® Case Study
How can Google Analytics tell you if your digital marketing is worth the time and money you’re putting into it? Let’s take a look at our client, Cuyuna Adventure Town USA ® (Cuyuna.com)—a destination tourism website that promotes area lodging, eateries, and outdoor adventures. We recently featured one of Cuyuna.com’s lodging partners on a weekend social media post, which we boosted (i.e., paid for additional reach outside their page followers) for $100.00.
Over four days, Cuyuna.com saw:
832 users – 700+ people visited their lodging partner’s listing in only two days!
783 new users – Note: This may not accurately reflect true new users (i.e., people who have never visited the site before), as folks do clear cookies and use different devices
3,440 page views
928 sessions – More sessions than users = people visited more than once
71 pages per sessions – People visited multiple pages, not just the landing page
An average time spent on the site of 1 minute, 40 seconds
55 conversions – Outbound clicks to the lodging partner’s Airbnb site
Following up with the lodging partner’s sales team revealed that they received five new reservations over the weekend, with more in progress. Looking at it another way, 9% of these conversions resulted in sales in just four days.
So, what’s the ROI?
- The lodging partner charges $271/night
- All five reservations were for at least two nights: 5 reservations x 2 nights = 10 nights
- 10 nights x $271.00 = $2,710.00
- $100.00 was spent to boost this social media post
- This $100.00 investment produced a 2,610% ROI for Cuyuna.com (643% for their lodging partner, who invests in an annual partnership with the site)
We call that one heck of a successful digital campaign!
Digital advertising can feel like a gamble, but you don’t have to leave it up to chance. Closely monitoring your digital ad campaign performance as well as your customers’ interactions with your website can tell you what is working and what isn’t. As a full-stack digital agency, Strateligent partners with you in developing a digital strategy, deploying targeted campaigns, tracking conversions, and analyzing your results. Contact us to see how we can help you.