A pool full of metrics and you dive in it…yeah OK, Kendrick’s real song was not about website metrics but the haze of interpretation can be the same in both cases.
If you’re anywhere close to digital, marketing or IT, someone is likely to have thrust a Google Analytics report in your face and asked, “Is this good?” Instantaneously they’ve pushed you into the pool full of metrics, your clothes are sopping wet and you’ve got to make the best of it.
No one wants to look silly but its really easy when you look at the volumes of website usage data you can track in Google Analytics (GA) . If you can count the number of times you’ve looked at GA data on one hand (or no hands) then these 3 statistics below will help you turn the inquisition into a conversation.
1. Site Visitors
This is the total number of unique visitors to your website for the time period of the report. Essentially, how many different people took the time to visit the website because they were interested enough in the content.
So what is a good site visitor number? This depends entirely on whether the site is being actively promoted but also what kind of traffic can be expected for the topic and the time period.
Websites that are likely to have less than 1000 visitors per month:
- Sheep Farmers Union of Invercargill
- Knitters Guild of Kalgoorlie
It’s always possible a global revolution is being launched from these places but you probably get the picture, hyperlocal concerns that don’t change too frequently for an already small user base.
Websites that should have much, much more than 1000 visitors per month:
- Australian Bureau of Meteorology
- You Tube
Extreme examples yes, but the point here is that sites that provide everchanging information and/or entertainment for a wide audience should be in the millions of site visitors per month.
Once you’ve had a look at the Site Visitor number on the report turn it around and start asking questions like:
- How does that number compare to last month, last year?
- Have you been actively promoting the site?
Timing is everything, maybe the website is seasonal like truffles or has a increasing visitor rate compared to previous time periods then the news story is better or more normal than you might think.
2. Bounce Rate
This one is really important. It represents the percentage of users that visited the site and did not proceed to any other pages.
A bounce rate of between 26-40% is excellent, 41-55% is average, 56-70% is below average, and anything higher than 70% is poor.
A high bounce rate (56%+) probably occurs for one of the following reasons:
- What they thought they would find on your site was not at all relevant to the reason for their visit
- What they found on the site WAS related to what they wanted, but it was not sufficiently engaging to stay
- It took so long to load your website that they just clicked off because they got impatient
Ultimately if the website does not have interesting, relevant content or performs slowly once the visitors arrive then you could just be giving a lot of people a really bad experience. An important lesson for big and small organisations.
3. Device Type
As web designers we think this number needs more attention than it gets now, if only to illustrate the importance of flexible responsive design.
Broken down into Desktop, Mobile and Tablet, if you have a Mobile and/or Tablet usage of 25% or more than you must have a site design that rearranges to look good and flow well on mobile and tablet devices.
It has been over two years since Google declared that websites must focus on the mobile experience first, ahead of desktop, an edict no organisation wanting to grow can ignore.
Looking Smart, Sexy and Delivering Value
It might not be in your job description to understand Google Analytics but giving customers, including yours, a good experience with value-added information is going to keep them in your good sted.
Just like reading your first word or first book, digital literacy simply requires you to keep taking one step forward at a time, one topic at a time.