At Walsh Creative, we know that trying to fully understand Google Analytics and the types of reporting can sometimes be overwhelming. Here, we have provided a list of key terms that are important to know when it comes to reporting:
Type of Reports:
These reports tell you about the users that accessed your website. More specifically, they'll tell you everything that can be gleaned just by the user arriving on your site. What type of device are they on, have they been here before, where are they coming from geographically.
These reports help determine how someone arrived at your site. Without going into too much detail, this is determined by looking at what was the previous page someone was on before they arrived on your site. Users are placed into different channels like Organic, Paid Search, Social, and Referral.
This section focuses on what users did on your website. By default, you get information about what pages people look at – which landing pages are most popular, how long people spend on specific pages, etc.
This last group of reports is your chance to tell Google what's most important to you. You can define certain pages or actions that you hope visitors to your site will accomplish, and then be able to see how often those conversions occur. This section requires configuration to make it specific to your site.
Type of Metrics:
It is important to understand that users do NOT tell us the number of PEOPLE that arrive on our website. In practice, users is a count of the number of unique devices that access our website. Even more specifically, a unique browser on a unique device. Remember those cookies we talked about earlier? Each set of cookies is a different user.
Think about your own digital life – how many computers/devices do you use during the day to access the internet? Work PC vs Home PC? Phone vs Laptop? Each different device counts as a different user.
Typically, this number is higher than it should be. We have more users than actual people visiting the website.People can clear their cookies and get new computers. It's still worth reporting on, but be clear when talking about this particular metric.
A session is all of a user's activities on your site within a given time period. If I come to your website and view five pages, that is all grouped into my one session. It determines that a session is over after a user has been inactive for more than 30 minutes.
Each session gets attributed back to a specific channel in the Acquisition reports, so if someone arrives on our site from Social media or a Google search, all of the activity in that particular session gets credited to that particular channel. If they come back from a different source (or after 30 minutes of inactivity) then a new session is started.
This a great metric to track and report on. We clearly want to see more sessions coming to our site and sessions is a great indicator of activity on the site.
This counts how many pages are viewed on the website. For general reporting, month over month, it's an OK metric to use to see ups and downs. Keep in mind what it's really measuring though. If you have “hub" pages, like your homepage, where people branch off from and then return to frequently, your pageview numbers will go up, but you haven't necessarily increased value from those extra pageviews.
Avg. Session Duration
One of the most misunderstood metrics, we'd ideally want Session Duration to be just that – how long did users on average spend on our site. Instead, you're reporting how much time we've measured that users spent on our site. It may seem obvious, but it's worth making the distinction.
This metric tells you the percentage of sessions on your site that only completed one action. Typically this means how many people arrived on your site and then left without doing anything else, or “bounced." This metric is extremely helpful for gauging the effectiveness of landing pages or from specific channels.
Do you need help understanding and optimizing your Google Analytics reports? If so, contact your team at Walsh Creative. Our certified Google Analytics experts are ready to assist you!