Last updated on September 14th, 2017 at 01:55 pm
From our previous posts, you learned how to successfully set up your Google Analytics account. We then explained how to create a measurement plan and reach your website objectives with Google Analytics. And then we gave you some tips on how to easily analyze your data. However, even with all this useful information, Google Analytics can still be overwhelming due to its technical terms. So today we’re going to explain all that jargon so that you will feel less stressed when opening up your Analytics dashboard.
Google Analytics Definition of Terms
We will discuss the most important terms which are the ones you see frequently and when opening the Google Analytics Dashboard.
A user is someone who is browsing your website – or technically, a unique browser cookie. Thus, be aware. Do you have one computer at home and both you and a partner are browsing the Internet on this device? You both would be considered the same user. One user can visit your website multiple times – if a user visited your website 3 times, GA will count it as “3 sessions” for this. Google Analytics is getting significantly smarter – in the past, Google Analytics would count two different users if you would, for example, visit a website first with your mobile phone, while afterward making a purchase using your laptop or computer. These days, GA is often able to track if those two separate sessions have been conducted by the same user.
These are the amount of users who have never visited your website before, or have deleted their cookies, in the selected date range.
A session is a single website visit, including at least one page visit. By default, a session timeout is at 30 minutes – this means that if someone is inactive for 30 minutes or longer, their session will be ended. If, after these 30 minutes, the user shows activity by interacting with the website, GA will report a new session.
NUMBER OF SESSIONS PER USER
This analytics definition is a handy overview of the total amount of session divided by the total amount of users, showing the average number of sessions per user.
Page views are the total number of pages viewed in the selected time range. If you go to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages, you can see your best-performing pages.
Pages per session is a metric used to show the user-engagement of your website – it shows how many pages were visited in one session. The higher this number, the higher the engagement.
AVERAGE SESSION DURATION
This metric shows the average session duration. For example, if user 1 visited your website for a total of 5 minutes, and user 2 visited your website for 1 minute, this results in an average session duration of 3 minutes (6 minutes/2 users). Google Analytics does not count time for the last page visited on your website. It is hard to determine a goal for your average session duration since this highly depends on the type of website you have. You can do a quick search on Google to see the average session duration of websites in your industry.
A “bounce” is when someone leaves your website after visiting one page, without clicking through to other pages. For example – You’ve created a Facebook Campaign leading to a specific link on your website, but the person who clicked the link was expecting a different offer. This can lead to a “bounce”: the person leaving your website without interacting with it.
The Bounce Rate is a percentage of a session with a single page visit. This metric can help you understand if people appreciate the content they’re seeing and if the landing page matches their expectations. Don’t be discouraged if you think that you have a high bounce rate. Depending on the industry, anything between 25% and 70% is normal.
Having talked a bit about the “landing page”, it would be helpful actually understanding the term. The landing page is the first page a user sees when visiting a website which is why it’s important to have a well-presented and interesting one. You want your visitors to see it and read through your offers and promotions or click around your site to find out more information. A landing page can be as simple as the “Home” URL (www.hitcontinue.eu), or this can be a link clicked due to a campaign or a link clicked on an external website, for example (www.hitcontinue.eu/google-analytics-for-beginners/).
Google Analytics Definition of Frequently Used Terms
Every time you access your Google Analytics dashboard, these are the terms you’ll most likely see first so we hope this list made Google Analytics jargon a little less daunting for you. You should also be able to tweak your website objectives to further advance your strategies and reach your goals now that you know what each metric covers.
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