How do I understand Google Analytics terminology?

by | Oct 15, 2014 | Integrated Marketing | 0 comments

A: Google Analytics terminology – defined. If you are ever overwhelmed or lost in the jargon of Google Analytics, you are not alone. Whether you are a new user or are familiar with the program, a business owner or a marketing assistant, there are so many facets to Analytics that it is easy to become buried in all of the terms and data. You may have high expectations to meet regarding your business or organization’s website performance and analysis. How do you begin to interpret the data if you don’t know what it all means?

A great perk to using Google Analytics is that you are no longer blindly executing your digital efforts. You can know your audience well. In addition, you can showcase the ROI on your digital marketing efforts. Whether you want to know about trends or dig deeper into specific details, this tool has a wealth of powerful information for you and your business. The first step is tackling the program’s language and functions.

The following are general terms described in a user-friendly way. Note that not all of the terms are included. Most are the basic key visitor metrics, which is a great place to start. If you’d like to dive deeper, visit the Analytics Help Center.

The Basics

Pageviews: the number of times users view a page. This covers all page views; if a user refreshes the page, or navigates away from the page and returns, these are all counted as additional page views.

Unique Pageviews: the unique pageview number counts the total number of times the page was viewed in an individual session as a single event; so whether a visitor viewed the page once in a visit or five times, the number of unique pageviews will be recorded as just one.

Sessions/Visits: the time periods that individual visitors spend on your site. A visit is ended either after 30 minutes of inactivity or if the user leaves your site for more than 30 minutes.

Users/Visitors: users are defined by a unique ID, which is usually stored in a visitor’s web/browser cookies (small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser while the user is browsing that website). This enables Google Analytics to recognize whether a user has been to the site before.

User Behavior

User Type: when a user visits your site for the first time, a new visit and unique visitor are both recorded. If the same user returns to the site after the initial visit, only a new visit is added.

New vs. Returning Visitors

        New visitors: users who have not visited your site before the time period specified.

        Returning visitors: users who have made at least one visit to at least one page on your site previously.

Bounce rate: given as a percentage, and represents the number of visits when users leave your site after just one page; regardless of how they got to your site or how long they stayed on that page.

Pages per session: The average number of pages a user viewed during time on site.

Average Session Duration: This is the sum of the time on page for all page views in a visit.


Traffic Sources: Direct vs. Referral

Direct traffic: Visitors that type a URL directly into the address bar, select an auto-complete option when typing the URL, or click on a bookmark to get to your site (however, instances when Google Analytics cannot determine a source also get automatically assigned as direct).

Referral traffic: when a user has landed on your site by clicking on a link from somewhere else; this could be another site, a social media profile or a search engine.

Search Traffic: Organic vs. Paid

        Organic search: users who came to your site by clicking on the organic links on the search engine results page.

        Paid search: users who clicked on one of your paid search engine advertisements.

Query: a user’s search term(s).

Impression: when a user performed a query, a page from your site was visible in their search results.

Click: the user selected the result.

Click through rate (CTR): percentage that the site’s page was selected in results.

At Checkerboard, we have staff who are Certified in Google Analytics, and are ready to help you analyze your digital trends, as well as assist in determining and meeting your digital marketing goals. Our Web Property Managers use their expertise to provide findings and reports, equipping you with the valuable information most useful to a successful marketing strategy.

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