The new Google Analytics (GA) website states that:
GA makes it easy to improve your results online. Write better ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives, and create higher-converting websites. Google Analytics is free to all advertisers, publishers, and site owners.
The current problem with GA is that it's:
- 'too big a beast',
- there is 'data overload' (who needs so much information, apart from the ones who actively use AdWords?) and
- there are no user-friendly, online tutorials on GA.
It's only recently that I have started making use of GA. Nevertheless, here are the 5 Google Analytics Metrics I Use.
For all the metrics mentioned below, login to your GA account and select the View Reports - New Beta for your site. On the Dashboard, select the date range you want (I made changes to my site RubyLearning.com - the site teaches Ruby programming language - around 1st May 2007 and therefore the data I am using here is from 1st May to 31st May 2007). For Analysis, I am also using Pareto's Law of 80:20 (The Pareto law, in its generalized form, states that 80% of the objectives - or more generally the effects - are achieved with 20% of the means).
- New or Old Visitors: In the left navigation panel, click on Visitors and then on New vs Returning. The reports shows that 75% of my visitors are new and 25% are returning. For new visitors maybe adding a mailing list / newsletter sign up is important. Now click on New Visitor below the graph on the Dashboard. It shows me a Bounce Rate of 68% and Avg. Time on Site of 00:2:21 which is pretty decent. Bounce Rate means that a visitor comes to my site, views that particular page and leaves without looking around at other pages. Also a good Avg. Time on Site means that the visitor is spending more time on your page.
- Visitors' Language Preferences: In the left navigation panel, click on Visitors and then on Languages. The report says that 12,038 visits used 68 languages. Using Pareto's law I find that the top 20% visits used English, but French and German also figures high in the list. Knowing which languages your site visitors prefer to speak and read can dramatically increase customer satisfaction and increase return visits. Maybe, I should translate my site into French and German OR maybe just have a separate landing page tailored to these specific languages? Food for thought!
- Where do my Visitors Live?: In the left navigation panel, click on Visitors. The Visitors Overview graph you get a trend of the Visitors to the site but you can also get all your key metrics in one "page view". Now click on Map Overlay. For me it shows that 12,038 visits came from 6 continents and that from Americas there were 5,525 visitors. I can drill down from Continents to Regions to Countries to States to Cities. How could I use this information? Below each graph there is a Segment option. You could choose what you want to analyze from the Segment drop-down. The possibilities are endless.
- Screen Resolution: In the left navigation panel, click on Visitors. Under the Visitors Overview graph and under Visitor Segmentation, click on screen resolutions. For me it says that 80% of my visitors used 1024x768, 1280x1024 and 1280x800 screen resolution. Check whether your site/blog looks okay in all these resolutions. Maybe you need to change your site to a fluid layout?
- Source of Traffic: In the left navigation panel, click on Traffic Sources. Check out your top traffic sources.
Closing thought: I have barely scratched the surface of GA and there are many other metrics (metrics like Keywords, Browsers, Landing pages to name a few) that I need to monitor. As I get familiar with GA, I would list down some more metrics one should use. If any of you use any other metrics, I would appreciate if you would comment here about that particular metric(s) and why they are useful to you.
For those who are seriously interested in using Google Analytics you can purchase Avinash Kaushik's book - Web Analytics An Hour A Day. Kaushik wrote to me saying that the pdf version of this book would be available by end July 2007.
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