Web analytics provide a wealth of insights on website performance. Companies need rich data to understand the impact of marketing campaigns on conversions and buyers behaviours. Analytics data indicate if marketing is working or not and give precise insight where improvements are needed. That’s why it is essential to know the basic concepts of web analytics. Let’s get know most of them to turn analytics right data into actionable insights.
What is Web Analytics
Web analytic is the logic of adequate measurements for web project management. It is not necessary to measure everything. You have to measure only what affects the result.
Let’s look at the example: imagine you made five improvements on the site ($1000 for each, the total is $5000), and even got a result. But without analytics, it is impossible to find out exactly which improvement led to success. So those five improvements will need to be made again and spent an additional $5000. If we knew what kind of change led to success, next time we would spend only $1000 for that improvement that succeeded and that saves us $4000.
Web analytics’ terms and definitions.
They are used in reports and educational articles.
Users are people who visit your site. Web Analytic takes into account visits in a particular browser. If a person opens your page in two different browsers, the system counts it as two users.
If a user visited your page for two days in a row on March 1 and 2, it would count as one user, and on March 2, it will also count as one user, and in the statistics for the period from March 1 to 2, it will be the same one user. GA determines users via a browser Cookie.
How to look at users in GA4 (beta version of Google Analytics)
Session (visit) – each visit by a user to your site. The time he opened a tab, read, clicked, navigated, returned, bought, ordered, and closed.
The session is considered to be completed in 4 cases:
- The user has closed the page. If the user closed the window and opened it again after 2 minutes, this will be a new session.
- Shows no activity for 30 minutes. For example, if a user opened a tab and then switched to another tab and returned to the original one after more than 30 minutes, it would be two sessions.
- The user was navigated to the page from another source. For example, first, he typed the website address in the address bar, opened a search engine in the next tab, typed a request, and got back to your page. It will be counted for two sessions.
- The user went to the page from another source, e.g. first he entered the site address in the address bar and then opened a search engine in the next tab, wrote a request, and again got to your page. It will be counted as two sessions.
- A new day has come
A session can include pageview, screen view, event, transaction, etc.
Pages and screenviews
The number of pages viewed by visitors. Sessions and pageviews are sometimes confused, but they are different concepts. If a person visited the site, viewed the main page, looked through other website’s pages (blog, features, prices), then returned to the homepage and after that left. Then in Analytics, it will be reflected as one session and four views.
A session can have one or more page views. That makes another vital metric – Pages per session.
This is an essential measurement in revealing what pages are directing the user deeper into the site. It also shows the content value while many companies use the content for driving visitors into the conversion funnel.
Bounce rate is the percentage of visits during which no more than a single page(landing page) was visited without browsing any further on your website and without taking any targeted actions. Google collects all sessions where a visitor visited only one page and divided it by all sessions.
High bounce rate can indicate:
- Poor content quality. There is nothing engaging on the page.
- Visitors didn’t find what they were searching for
- The content of the page is not related to the audience needs.
Sometimes, the page doesn’t suggest actions or transitions, e.g. you have published an article, and it is enough to read it without going to other pages or merely clicking. However, Google calculates it as a bounce rate too.
To reduce the bounce rate in GA, you need to add a script to the page.
After 15 seconds of opening the page, the code will send information to the GA server that this visit should not be considered a bounce.
Goal is a user action you are interested in. For example, purchase, registration, or subscription. The goal is a key feature of analytics, as it allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of the business processes. Use goals to measure how your site fulfils your target objectives. Goals can be applied to the pages the users visit, how long they stay on the page, how many pages they view in a session.
Conversion – the ratio of the number of visitors who completed the target action to the total number of visitors, expressed as a percentage. For example, if 1000 users visit the page and 70 of them leave a request (the goal of the landing page), then the conversion is 7%
Since conversions are closely related to goals, you can have several of them, and they will have different meanings. For example, the conversion of applications can be 20%, and conversion to purchases – 3%.
It is a good rule to measure the conversion path. This engagement metric gives a visual understanding of what steps people make to convert on the site.
One of the most important metrics marketers usually ignore is event tracking. It tells what key phrases drive ROI. That helps to create the proper content decision that brings value. Events can also track newsletter signups, new comments, purchases, revenue, downloads tracking.
GA4 allows automatically tracking specific conversions or making an event by clicking on the event tab and toggle.
Source – the place where the visitor came from to your page. It can be search engines, social networks, or another site that has a link to your page
Channels – types of sources.
Each source belongs to one of the following channels.
- Organic search: the user made a request in a search engine and went to your site using a link.
- Paid search: the same, but the link was paid by you when you bought contextual advertising
- Display: display advertising (advertising on the display network)
- Social: referrals from social networks
- Referral: referrals from other sites
- Email: the transition from the mailing list
- Direct: direct access to the site, the user typed the name of your site in the address bar of the browser
Referrals – sites from which people go to your site (except for search engines and social networks)
How to use this information?
Choose a certain period and look at the traffic sources and conversion.
User engagement is the key to your profit. The unique user won’t make your business profitable, the engaged visitors will. Web analytics allows you to figure out why people come and leave, and then you are one step closer to growing the conversion rate.
What can web analytics measure for e-commerce
- Channels that drives the most conversions
- What landing page needs to be improved, and in what channel
- Devices consumers used to make an order.
- The leaking holes on the site (places where users leave)
- Expected purchase relationship for products or product category.
Web analytics allows for identifying the most efficient channel for better decision making.
The latest research shows that many companies fail to utilise core analytics’s best practices to improve digital marketing and web performance. That’s why it is important to know the basic Web Analytics metrics.
If you need any assistance in Web Analytics, please contact