We should start this post by saying if you’re not using analytics, then you really should be. Google Analytics is arguably one of the most powerful tools available in a modern marketer’s arsenal. You NEED have it on your site, it’s easy to install and you can start tracking visitors right here.
With this article, hopefully, we’ll show you what metrics actually matter and what metrics aren’t such a big deal. We’ll also cover what we’ve come to term ‘ego-metrics’ and we’ll discuss why you shouldn’t get hung up on those. Let’s dive in:
Probably the most important metric to measure and really easy to understand is your traffic source. It covers where your website traffic originated from, be it Seach Engine (organic), Social Media, Direct traffic or Referral. It gives you a very quick snapshot of what’s working and what’s not working.
To find this in Analytics, click Acquisition, then Overview, and you can see which sources are giving you the most traffic.
2: Average time on page:
This is a big one for us content focused marketers out there. We want to write awesome content for our sites and as a result, we want our site visitors to spend plenty of time on each page reading that content.
In real terms, this metric is the amount of time spent on a single page. Aim for more time if possible. The longer someone spends on your page (a blog article, especially) is a great indication of the quality and level of engagement with your content.
3: Bounce rate:
This is the percentage of single-page sessions that left without interacting further; in other words, they left your website entirely. Keep an eye on it and if any pages change drastically (or the whole site does), then you need to do some investigating. At Shareable we generally say that for high traffic sites you should be aiming for under 50%.
Where are your visitors coming from? If your school has lots of international students then you would expect to see those countries popping up in your location metrics. Are you seeing spikes from certain countries when you’re attending international education fairs? Maybe that would be a good time to coincide some targetted Facebook or country-specific Google Ads…
5: Behaviour Flow:
This one looks scary, but it’s a really useful tool to understand how people are using your website. It effectively lets you see how people travel through your site, based on some type of acquisition. You can also click into individual pages, highlight specific pages, and sort by acquisition type: source, medium, channel, etc. As an agency, we use it to ensure our client’s web visitors are moving through the site in an optimal way.
Ok, so we’ve looked at the 5 metrics that we focus on as an agency. It’s important to look at one that many people get hung up on.
It’s really easy to get blinkered into thinking that massive levels of web visitors are the be-all and end-all. True, healthy levels of site visitors are great, but it’s a relatively easy process to get lots of web visitors. What actually matters is keeping them on the site long enough for them to convert in one way or another. Focus on great content and providing excellent levels of service for your visitors and they’ll stick around. Your bounce rate stays low and people end up engaging with your content.
Our Shareable Schools site gets on average 200 visitors per day and we have a bounce rate of 40% – with an average time on site of 2 minutes and 36 seconds – For us, this is a balance we’d like to keep. Even if we got to 2000 visitors a day, we’d still want 60% of our traffic to look at multiple pages on the site and to stick around long enough to read our content.
If you’d like to attend one of our free workshops on how to use Google Analytics then please do just drop us a line. We hold them every month and they’re only 45 minutes long.