What Metrics in Google Analytics Should You Care About

  1. Source medium  02:00
  2. Channels  03:53
  3. Sources for incoming traffic 04:58
  4. Interactions per visit05:25
  5. Location07:09
  6. Devices 09:10

Read the full episode transcript below:

00:29 David Blackmon: Hey, everybody. Welcome to another episode of WP the Podcast, brought to you by WP Gears. I’m David Blackmon.

00:37 Tim Strifler: And I’m Tim Strifler.

00:38 David Blackmon: Today we’re going to talk about Google Analytics and specifically what metrics in Google Analytics you should actually care about. If you’ve ever looked into your Google Analytics for your website traffic, you can see that it can be a little bit overwhelming. There’s a lot of information there. There’s a ton of data.

01:01 David Blackmon: We’ve decided to kind of talk about what we feel is the most important thing that you should be focusing on when you do go into Analytics, if you’re like Tim and I and time is a very valuable resource and you don’t have much of it, but you kind of want to have a good understanding of who’s coming to your site, what they’re doing, how much time they’re spending, and so on. We decided to talk about what you should be paying attention to.

01:28 Tim Strifler: Yeah, definitely. To be clear, this is definitely not a exclusive list. This is just what we think are the most important things. If you’re not used to Google Analytics and you get overwhelmed by the incredible amount of data that’s there, this can be a good list to start with. Depending on what industry that you’re in and what kind of website you have, it’s going to vary based off of what’s important. But I think this is a good starter list. For just about every website, these things are going to be important.

02:00 David Blackmon: Absolutely. The first thing that we think is important is the source medium. What we mean by that is what type of traffic’s coming to your site and how they’re getting there, whether it’s organic from Google, whether it’s direct traffic, someone has your link and they’re coming straight to your website, or whether or not it’s a referral from another website. For example, Tim and I have Divi product businesses and we get a lot of traffic from ElegantThemes.com, which is the creator of Divi, because they’re always doing blog posts and write-ups and reviews and tutorials and stuff, and sometimes they feature us. A lot of our traffic is going to come from there, and it’ll tell you that it’s a referral of traffic.

02:47 David Blackmon: Now, how do you access and find that? The path is going to be acquisition, traffic, source medium. We’ll put this in the show notes so that you can see the path that we’re talking about specifically, but that’s going to tell you … It’s really important to know where your traffic’s coming from, because if your traffic is coming from a referral, for example, a lot of traffic, well, you want to know that. Why is this site sending us a tremendous amount of traffic and stuff? It’s just good information to have.

03:22 Tim Strifler: Yeah, absolutely. The next one on the list here is very similar. Source and medium is going to show you, as David described, where your traffic’s coming from, but referrals. Similar path, acquisition, traffic, referrals. That’s going to show you just the referral traffic. Source medium is going to include direct traffic, your Google traffic, if you’re running Google ads, and then it’s going to show you the referrals, so that way you can see what percentage is coming from there.

03:53 Tim Strifler: Then another one I’m going to touch on here is channels. If you want to see high level or you can see direct versus organic versus referral versus social versus paid search versus email, well, then, acquisition, all traffic, channels is going to show you that breakdown as well. But referrals is going to show you just the websites that are sending you traffic. It’s not going to include your direct traffic or email or social or anything like that. It can be a really good way to see, as David mentioned, who’s sending you traffic. You want to know where those traffic is coming from.

04:36 Tim Strifler: For example, if you get a lot of traffic from one particular site, well, then, you can figure out ways to increase that. You want to double down on what’s working. Or if you can see a certain traffic might not be that much, but it converts really well, well, then you can go and figure out how to increase that, because the traffic that that website’s sending you is really well targeted and they’re buyers or whatnot. Yeah, that’s definitely a very valuable metric.

04:58 David Blackmon: All right. The next thing we’re going to talk about that we think you should pay attention to is how are they getting to your website. Where are people landing, when they come to your website? Are they coming straight to your home page? Are they coming into another page? This is really valuable information. It lets you know the entry points of how people are getting to your website, or where a lot of them are landing.

05:25 David Blackmon: For example, you’re going to want to go to behavior, site content, all pages, and then it’s going to give you all of the pages your top … Immediately, it’ll show you your top 10 entry place points on your website. If you’re doing blogs, nine times out of 10, if not 10 times out of 10, your main entry point’s going to be your home page. But beyond that, you want to see where are they landing. What are they coming to your website for? If you’ve got a blog and you’re producing a lot of blog content, you can see where a lot of times the blog content … What’s ranking well, what people are coming to your site to read and stuff. You can actually produce more content around that type of topic to get people to come back to your website more consistently and stuff.

06:14 David Blackmon: I remember a few years ago, before I knew anything about Analytics or what it meant to look at it and stuff, Nick Roach from Elegant Themes told me that your Analytics should be dictating the type of content that you’re producing. At the time, I really didn’t understand it, but this pertained to what I’m talking about right now, because this will give you a good idea of what users are interested in that are coming to your website.

06:41 David Blackmon: If you keep getting this one blog post that consistently ranks really high as an entry point and it’s getting a lot of traffic, you’re probably going to want to write more blog posts around that specific type of topic because your audience is very interested in it. I understand now more fully what he meant by that statement, and it is very, very true. This is going to help you do that.

07:09 Tim Strifler: Yeah, definitely. Then the next section we want to talk about is location. We talked about referrals, where your traffic is coming from from the internet, but now we want to talk about where they’re coming from geographically, where they’re actually located physically. This might not pertain to all businesses. If you have a local-only business, well, you’re going to see that all your traffic is coming from your local area.

07:35 Tim Strifler: But if you have an online business like David and I have, where we have traffic from all over the world, people buying our products from all over the world, well, that’s very valuable data. To find that, the path is audience, geo, location. Then you can see what countries you’re getting the most traffic from. Then something that kind of goes along with that, and I guess it goes along with all of this, if you have an e-commerce website, what we highly recommend doing is make sure that you have a plug-in, a WordPress plug-in, that is able to send your e-commerce conversion data to Google Analytics, and then you have to enable that data within Google Analytics.

08:19 Tim Strifler: Basically, if you’re using WooCommerce, for example, WooCommerce has an official Google Analytics plug-in. You just plug it in, put in your Google Analytics U.A. code, and then it’ll start tracking your actual purchase data. Then everything we just talked about becomes so much more valuable, because now you can see … Okay, we’re talking about geographical location. You can see what countries you’re getting the most revenue from.

08:44 Tim Strifler: Then you can go and you can look at your referrals or your source medium, and you can see if email is giving you the most revenue, or if it’s from Google organic, or if it’s from a certain website that’s referring a lot of traffic from you. That is crucial for an e-commerce website to be able to see what’s working, and not just working from a traffic standpoint, but what’s working from a revenue standpoint.

09:08 David Blackmon: Absolutely. I know we didn’t talk about this, but I do want to throw this out there, because this is hugely important. You can use your analytics to see what types of devices that they’re viewing your website on. Now, it’s a mobile-first world. Everybody’s got, and rightly so … I mean, everything is moving to mobile, and you need to understand what your visitors are viewing your website on. For example, Tim and I’s web design WordPress web development and stuff, nine times out of 10, those people have desktops. They’re viewing us from the desktop. Mobile first doesn’t really apply to us, because our audience is desktop first.

09:49 David Blackmon: But if your audience is mobile first, it’s going to let you know if you need to specifically focus on that, and you can get all of that information in Google Analytics. As a matter of fact, it is insane the amount of information that is there, that you can dig in and optimize and just take your business to the next level.

10:13 David Blackmon: Do what I did. I didn’t know anything about Google Analytics in the beginning, but I knew it was important, so I made sure that I had the tracking pixels on my website, I had my U.A. code set, to where when I did understand it and I did have the bandwidth and time to come back and look at it, at least all of the data would be there for me, because it’s not retroactive. You can’t put it on two years after your website’s been built and online and expect to get that information two years down the road. If you don’t use it, at least have it turned on and put in there so that when you do have the bandwidth or the time to go in and learn it, it’ll be there for you.

10:58 Tim Strifler: Yeah. I want to add something here. As David was talking, I was thinking, “Huh, I wonder what percentage of my visits are desktop and mobile?” I’ve looked at that in the past, but I haven’t looked at it lately. Just for this year, year to date, January 1st, 2019 through March 6th, 2019 … We’re recording on the 7th here … just about 85% of my traffic is from desktop, which as David mentioned, we’re selling products and we have resources for web designers, so it just makes sense that they’re visiting us through desktop computers.

11:34 Tim Strifler: But here’s the interesting thing. Since I have my e-commerce data tracking on, 99% of the transactions are coming from desktop. Even though there’s only 85% of the traffic is desktop, which leaves about 13% mobile, about 2.5% tablet, I’m rounding numbers, probably didn’t do the math correctly there, but 99% of the actual transactions are coming from desktop. Just a fun fact for you there. This is the kind of data that you can hone in on with Google Analytics. But you’ve got to, as David mentioned, set up the tracking. Even if you don’t have time to look at it now, set it up so that you can look at the data later.

12:19 David Blackmon: Yeah, ours is a fun fact, I guess. I opened it because I wanted to see it, and ours is actually close to 90% desktop, 89.67% desktop, 8.96% mobile, and then 1.3% tablet, and then I’m also at 99% purchases, because we have e-commerce tracking turned on, too. In our world, it’s not a mobile-first world. Just because you hear that term, and you’re throwing that out there to your customers that you’re building websites for, make sure you educate yourself, because their audience may not be mobile first. Their audience may be desktop, and this is the way you find that out. All right.

13:06 David Blackmon: Tomorrow we’ve got another great topic for you. You’re going to love it. It’s going to be a fun one, Outsource What You Don’t Like Doing. I’m all for it.

13:17 David Blackmon: Tim, until tomorrow, we’ll see you then.

13:20 Tim Strifler: Take care. Bye bye.

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