Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and tried to navigate from your bed to the bathroom in the darkness? Not having Google Analytics attached to your website is kind of like that. You can certainly do it – but if you have a flashlight it definitely makes life much easier. Google Analytics lights up your website’s darkest corners so you can make educated decisions on how to improve your presence online.
If you’ve ever used Google Analytics, you know how intimidating it can be; it seems like endless pages of numbers and words that have no meaning to them. We are going to break down some of the most common language used throughout Google Analytics so you can understand what you’re looking at.
The heartbeat of any website is the traffic that flows through it. This metric is defined as a “session” in Google Analytics. A session is a group of user interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame. It can contain multiple page views, events, and even transactions on your website. A single user can open multiple sessions, and those can occur in the same day, week, month, or even year. When one session ends, there is an opportunity for a new session to start. There are two ways a session can end: time-based expiration, which could be 30 minutes of inactivity on the website, or at midnight.
Users are simply defined as the unique individuals that are responsible for the sessions that occurred on your website within the given time frame. One user can make up multiple sessions within that time frame, as seen above. Basically, each ‘person’ that visits your site is considered a user.
Bounce rate might be the most misunderstood metric in Google Analytics. Your bounce rate is simply the percentage of one page sessions that occur on your website within the given time frame. What this means is that a visitor, or user, comes to your website and never moves off of the page they were directed to. Usually, you want your users to explore multiple pages on your site.
Typically, having a high bounce rate is not a goal. However, depending on your website and the type of information offered, it could be a good sign of proper SEO if you notice certain pages on your website have higher bounce rate than others. Having said that, if you have a high bounce rate on your homepage, (above 65%) you might want to start taking a look as to why people aren’t clicking through to your other pages.
Pageviews are just that: the total number of pages viewed within the date range. Unlike users, repeated views of the same page are counted.
Avg. Session Duration
Your average session duration is the average time a session lasts on your website. In other words, your average session duration is calculated by your total duration of all sessions divided by the number of sessions on your website.
Pages per Session (Pages / Session)
Pages per session will show how many pages a user loads within one session on your website. This is calculated by your number of page views divided by the number of sessions.
% New Sessions
Google Analytics will track new sessions by cookies – if a user visits your website and a cookie is not present; Analytics will mark that session as new. % New Sessions is simply taking the number of sessions and dividing it by new sessions to give you the percentage. This statistic can be easily skewed by the user deleting his or her browsing history — or browsing in a private setting.
Google Analytics doesn’t have to be intimidating. Once you have an understanding of what you’re looking at, Analytics will be your most helpful tool in determining how successful your digital marketing and SEO efforts have been.
You’re no dummy. Be sure to subscribe to our email updates to be notified when the next blog in the series comes out! We will be taking a deeper dive into your website audience, acquisition, and behavior.