October 26th, 2018

4 Google Analytics KPIs for Site Performance

Author: Laura Lynch
Laura Lynch
Director of Marketing

Make Your Website Successful with Key Performance Indicators

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are web analytics that measure the web traffic and visitor behavior of your business in order to understand and improve your website’s practice and user flow. Google Analytics provides a free tool for businesses to utilize and track these key performance indicators. While there are many KPIs that Google Analytics provides, we will be focusing on the four that will help you and your marketing team make educated decisions in order to improve your website based on your audience’s behavior.

1.  Understanding Your Audience

The audience tab in Google Analytics is critical for understanding your website’s performance and decision-making capabilities. Who is coming to your site? Are they a returning visitor? And at what page did they decide to leave? These questions really allow you to take a deep dive into the analytics. However, before you can do that you need to know the basics, which means taking a look at the overview of your audience first. GA allows you to create a date range of when you want to look at the data. We advise looking at a month to month basis in order to make the best decisions for the future.

So, let’s say you wanted to look at how your site performed in September. You would modify that date range in GA in the top right-hand corner and then select the audience tab over on the left-hand side. The overview of the audience analytics that GA provides are the number of users, new users, total number of sessions, sessions per user, page views, pages viewed per session, the average session duration, and the bounce rate. These performance indicators are pretty broad and easy to understand, even for novices. However, I have received several questions from clients wanting to know what a “bounce rate” is. Straight from the horse’s mouth, a bounce rate is when a user opens a single web page and then exits without triggering any other requests to the analytics during that specific session, according to Google Analytics.

The Deal with High Bounce Rates

Having a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a faux pas. It really varies on how large your website is. If you have a home page with a large navigation that houses different articles and services for your business, then having a bounce rate of more than 50%  would be a problem, because ideally, there are other pages they should be visiting from your home page. On the other hand, if your business is just utilizing a landing page and sending traffic there from social ads, then yes, obviously that landing page will have a high bounce rate because users wouldn’t have anywhere else to go. Other factors that influence your bounce rate include where your traffic is coming from, which brings us to the next KPI: traffic sources.

2.  Traffic Sources and Acquisition

Where your web traffic is coming from is single-handedly the most important KPI for understanding how users are getting to your website. Using this information, you can make informed decisions about how to modify campaigns to better serve user needs. Depending on the traffic source, you can make decisions based on the campaigns for that particular date range. For example, let’s say your business constructed a large back to school promotion for your tech-based computer business. In this campaign, you had a budget for social ads and targeted the age range 18-55 to include students and their parents. After the campaign was over, you checked GA to see how your social traffic did for that date range. By utilizing GA Acquisition, you can see if your social traffic increased by a particular percentage over last year’s back to school season based on the efforts of the campaign. That allows you to make sophisticated decisions for future campaigns, founded on these results.

Knowing the Different Types of Traffic Sources

Understanding the different source sessions and numbers of each source is essential in the development of your marketing campaign focus. Below are the different types of traffic sources Google Analytics provides data on:

  • Organic Search – Traffic coming to your site organically through search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
  • Direct – Users going to your site by typing the URL in directly. This type of channel source goes hand-in-hand with brand awareness. This user is already familiar with your site and goes back for further information or purchasing.
  • Paid Search – Paid Google ads that are associated with your site and directing users to a specific page.
  • Referral – Links to your site on other directories.
  • Email – Visitors who clicked on links in a newsletter or eBlast.
  • Social – Users that land on your website based on one of your social links or ads via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or many other social platforms associated with your website.

3.  Setting Up Goals and Monitoring Conversions

Now that you know the difference between each channel and traffic source, you can create goals based on that knowledge and what you actually want your users to do on your website. Do you have an ecommerce site and the goal is for the visitors to make a purchase? Or do you have a new eBook that you want your users to download? Setting up those goals in GA will help you track conversions, so you can monitor if the traffic you are bringing in is actually communicating with your site.

Every business is different, therefore every business has different goals. With that being said, each company needs to set up their own goals in GA based on business objectives. Monitoring the conversions after the goals are set up will allow you to know if your marketing dollars are being spent in the right area and what the return on investment is.

4.  Event Tracking to Optimize Conversions

An event in Google Analytics is referred to as a visitor’s interaction with an element on a web page that is tracked. This element could be a form submission, phone button click, video view, etc. For instance, say you have a plumbing business and your internal objective is to receive 20 form submissions for plumbing emergencies. In order to track that goal, your marketing team would set up event tracking for form submissions on the emergency plumbing landing page. The conversion would then be for every form event submission. Your marketing team would then create campaigns to send traffic to this emergency plumbing landing page, and have a call to action on that page to encourage visitors to fill out the form. Being able to track these events and optimize conversions goes back to the importance of knowing where your marketing dollars are being spent.

If you are spending $1,000/month on campaigns for emergency plumbing. Your average emergency value is $500, and your goal is to have 20 conversions a month, then the ROI would be $9,000!

$500 x 20 = $10,000

$10,000 – $1,000 = $9,000

Wrap it up

These data points may seem a little overwhelming now, but as you start to utilize them on a more regular basis, you will understand that they really are beneficial to your website’s performance and future. Google Analytics provides an academy for anyone using their tools and would like to become certified. We suggest learning more about the GA tool and the academy to fully understand these KPI’s. Our marketers here at build/create are certified and willing to help you comprehend which key performance indicators are valuable to your business. Let us help you build your web traffic today!

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