"Helping businesses operate more effectively online"

01

May

2008

Six statistics you need to check regularly in Google Analytics
Written by David Towers   

Most important stats in google analytics Using tools like Google Analytics it's possible to understand how effective your website is. Website stastic tools provide a wealth of information, so much so that sometimes you can feel lost in the details.

If you just want a very quick overview of how effective your website is, what are the key statistics to look at?

The following statistics are what we consider to be the most important stats to quickly check, month to month, to see how a website is performing:

  • Unique visitors - The number of individual visitors that have visited the website.
  • Visits - The number of visits made by all visitors (if a visitor re-visits the website they are counted again).
  • Average number of pages per visit - The average number of pages each visitor looked at (page views).
  • Average time on site - The average time in minutes that the visitor was on the website.
  • Source - A breakdown of where the visitors come from. The source should be shown as a percentage, and made up of: search engines, referring sites and direct traffic.
  • Specific goal conversion (e.g. number of sales or downloads) - Each website will have a particular objective such as generating sales or providing marketing materials as downloads. These objectives can be measured by calculating what percentage of visitors 'converted' and so fulfilled the goal. For example: 5% of visitors purchased a product or 89% of visitors downloaded a marketing pdf file. (To track downloads to pdf files in Google Analytics, see this post)

Website statistics for managers and business owners

It can be tempting to burden business owners or managers with all the statistics that you have access to. The problem with doing this is that they will often get lost in the details and struggle to see a general pattern. These 6 key statistics are ideal for presenting to managers or business owners, so that they can understand how their effective their website is.

Although it depends on the importance of the website to a business, we would suggest that a more detailed report should be presented to the business owner or manager twice a year, and the six stats above provided monthly. The more detailed report would include statistics like top pages viewed, top downloads, top products purchased, top referring sites, top keywords and top visitor locations.

Do you think that these 6 statistics are effective in giving a quick idea of website performance?


Comments (11)Add Comment
Alex Ashman
Alex Ashman
May 02, 2008
90.192.9.38
Votes: +1
...

Bounce rates can also be a useful one to look at, (even though this figure is somewhat included in page views/time on site) especially if you compare the keywords that people entered your site with, matched up to the page they landed on. That way you can ascertain what someone was hoping to see and then manipulate your page to fulfil their search. The more you do this, the lower the bounce rate (hopefully smilies/wink.gif)

0
P.J. Swesey
May 03, 2008
208.57.243.176
Votes: +1
...

Search keywords, also very important.

David Towers
David Towers
May 03, 2008
87.90.44.16
Votes: +1
...

Hi P.J. Search keywords are also very important. I'd suggest that they would go in the report done once every 6 months rather than the monthly report.

Steve | Hannisdal Express
Steve | Hannisdal Express
May 07, 2008
76.102.103.126
Votes: +0
...

Good summary guys. Thanks!

David Towers
David Towers
May 07, 2008
87.90.44.16
Votes: +0
...

Cheers Steve! smilies/smiley.gif

0
Bryan L
July 17, 2008
208.254.161.2
Votes: +0
...

I agree with most these but I'd like to know why "Average time on site" is consider more important or appropriate for these monthly updates than "top pages viewed". It might help if you explain how this information is presented.

For many sites, I find explaining average time on the site (to business owners) difficult. It usually doesn't mean a lot to them. Bounce rate seems to get the point across.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!

0
Shannon Swenson
October 07, 2008
24.174.54.177
Votes: +1
...

@Bryan L: Avg Time on Site is a useful measurement of success w/ integrated ad campaigns, especially brands that spend large budgets on broadcast production. 20 or 12 or even 2 minutes on a site is a significant impression, and usually for a much lower cost. Moreover, a rich interactive experience is more engaging. We use tools like compete.com to get a baseline and gauge how we stack against the competition.

@David: We also like to look at # of inbound links (sources). These are useful b/c 1) they speak inherently of others who've invested themselves in our brand, 2) they can help SEO and 3) brand impressions are extended beyond a single domain, effectively lowering the campaign's total CPM. We realized

0
Shannon Swenson
October 07, 2008
24.174.54.177
Votes: +0
...

@David: We also like to look at # of inbound links (sources). These are useful b/c 1) they speak inherently of others who've invested themselves in our brand, 2) they can help SEO and 3) brand impressions are extended beyond a single domain, effectively lowering the campaign's total CPM. We realized

0
Shannon Swenson
October 07, 2008
24.174.54.177
Votes: +1
...

[SO SORRY - I had some bad code in my earlier post!]

@David: We also like to look at # of inbound links (sources). These are useful b/c 1) they speak inherently of others who've invested themselves in our brand, 2) they can help SEO and 3) brand impressions are extended beyond a single domain, effectively lowering the campaign's total CPM. We realized less than 3¢ CPM on BMW 1-Series campaign.

Thanks - I subscribed to your blog. Cheers!
http://twitter.com/shannonswenson

0
andrea
September 03, 2009
94.195.196.146
Votes: +0
...

Usain Bolt runs 100m in 9.58 seconds. Is that good or bad? Unless you know what you can run it in (about double that), you've got no idea if you're doing well or not.
I compare my site's analytics to competitors' sites, where I can. Otherwise when I present my site's data, the directors just ask "is that good or bad?"

0
billibons
March 11, 2010
89.19.96.248
Votes: -1
...

last post. Usain Bolt is god. ofcourse good

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