This is why navigating the vast amounts of data provided by Google Analytics can seem like a daunting and time-consuming task. But, as one small business owner to another, I’m here to tell you about three key performance indicators (KPIs) you should focus on as you review your Google Analytics account.
A quick overview of Google Analytics
Before we dive deep into the key data you should be checking, let’s first look at the benefits of implementing Google Analytics on your website.
Google Analytics is a free, easy-to-use tool that provides you with a wide range of data relating to your website. Just embed the unique code into your site and in time you will have access to data such as:
- where users are coming from;
- what devices they are using; and
Today, however, we are going to focus on some key performance metrics that all business owners and marketers should be looking at as part of their digital data analysis – sessions, traffic by channel, and goals/e-commerce data.
Sessions: Overall and unique
One of the first things I like to look at when reviewing Google Analytics is the sessions and unique users.
- Sessions (formerly referred to as visits)—a metric that gives you an idea of how many visits you are getting to your website
- Unique users (formerly referred to as unique visitors)—a metric that tells you how many people are visiting your website
For instance, if someone visits your website several times within a given month, each session (visit) will be tracked, but they will only be counted as one unique user.
Obviously, we want to see the number of sessions increase each year to help indicate the success of our digital marketing efforts, but it’s also equally important to see the number of unique users increase year to year as well.
This allows you to track how effectively your marketing efforts are at bringing in new potential customers to your website.
Traffic by channel
The next KPI metric you should be looking at is the traffic/sessions by specific channel.
Google breaks down your traffic in terms of specific channels, allowing you to better determine which of your marketing efforts is working best so you can decide where to focus your efforts moving forward.
The main channels we tend to focus on include:
- Organic—This refers to any traffic that comes through people performing a search via search engines such as Google or Bing and clicking on a link to your website. This is where digital marketing efforts like search engine optimization truly show their success.
- Direct—This is anytime someone types your website’s specific URL into the address bar. Direct traffic tends to be either returning users or someone who saw your URL from some form of traditional marketing.
- Paid—Paid can include traffic coming from any type of pay-per-click campaigns you might be running, including Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads. These users are people who clicked on one of your ads and were taken to your website.
By reviewing the individual traffic channels, you can get a better idea of the ROI of your digital marketing efforts.
Goals and e-commerce Data
The final KPI metric you should be reviewing is your goals/e-commerce data.
Once you implement goal tracking and/or e-commerce tracking on your website (which is not set up by default), it not only allows you to see how many people are reaching out to you/purchasing through your website, but it also allows you to see which channel your leads came from.
There are many goals you can set up on your site, but I typically create thank-you pages for clients to track form submissions on their sites. I’ve found this helps provide a more accurate assessment of the digital efforts.
Whatever you decide, though, make sure you’re tracking it! This will help you prove ROI and track sales through your pipeline long term.
If you have a question about this or any of the other KPI metrics in Google Analytics, feel free to reach out to Sixth City Marketing! We also have a YouTube webinar that walks you through Google Analytics too.
John Sammon is the CEO of Sixth City Marketing, a Cleveland-based agency focused on helping businesses create a revenue-generation system through online marketing channels (such as SEO, PPC and social media).