The most important parts of Google analytics

Most important stats in Google Analytics

Where do I start!

Most clients ask me that when I set them up with Google Analytics. And of course it’s free.

When you log in you will be presented with what Google determines as the most important statistics for your web site:

  1. Sessions (Used to be called Visits. A session ends after 30 minutes)
  2. Users (Users can create more than one session)
  3. Pageviews
  4. Pages / Session
  5. Average Visit Duration
  6. Bounce Rate
  7. % New Sessions

Personally I think you could drop half initially because you can work out the rest (or ignore, or assume) the other statistics. And I would add one to this list:

  1. Sessions
  2. Users
  3. Pageviews
  4. Pages / Session
  5. Average Visit Duration
  6. Bounce Rate
  7. % New Sessions
  8. % Mobile

A quick explanation in order of importance

  • Sessions are users who visit your site, they may visit it more than once, but if it’s within half an hour it’s counted as the same session.
  • Bounce rate is 100% if everyone who visits your site only visits one page and then leaves. Ideally you want 0% bounce rate. This means than every visitor visits more than one page. It simply means than the person visiting your site finds your content, product, or service interesting and wants to know more. A good bounce rate would be around 50% or lower.
  • Pages per session (Pages / Session) are how many pages someone visits per session. The more the better. If you multiply pages per session by sessions, you get pageviews. And the average session duration can be assumed from that to with a quick guess. And if you have 100% bounce rate then pages per session will be 1.
  • Finally the % of people using mobile devices to access your web site is of huge importance and becoming more important by the minute. This is in the left navigation on the home page of Analytics. If your site is not mobile compatible and 50% people visiting your site are on mobiles then make it compatible (by emailing me or phoning me today for a quote!).

The importance of trends in statistics

After a site is re-designed or newly launched clients get excited and rightly so. It is exciting. However statistics can vary widely from day to day, week to week, and sometimes month to month. Always wait about 3 months to get a good idea of what’s happening with your site. For newly launched sites it can take 6 months to get a good idea because search engines will take that long to give you street cred.

Other stuff

Hope all this makes sense. Don’t forget there are plenty of other statistics including location of your users, the browser they are using, and even real time sessions. So even though I’m just pointing out what I think are the most important statistics, don’t be afraid to poke around a little.