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Website Performance Metrics: A Guide to the Google Analytics Dashboard

Posted by Allison Sturtevant on August 31, 2016 at 11:37 AM

Website performance metricsIf you can't measure it, did it have an impact? Without website performance metrics, the only thing you can say for sure is that you don't know how your campaigns are working. Many businesses don't make it because they fail to learn from mistakes and course-correct. Google Analytics can give you the insights you need to make those changes. When Marketing Land compiled estimates for Google Analytics' 10th anniversary last fall, they put the number of websites using the service between 30 and 50 million.

Once you set up a Google Analytics account, you can monitor multiple websites. Each will have its own dashboard, featuring six broad categories and sub-menus. The service also provides you some examples of how to use the tools within each section to drive positive results for your business. Here are some of the metrics and how they can work for you.

Intelligence Events

This section reports on your website's traffic and can generate alerts when variations occur in traffic patterns. You can create custom alerts for events ranging from a spike in the number of page visits to an increase in registrations.

Real-Time

Here you'll find real-time data on current site visitors. You can see how many people are on your site right now, the page they're visiting, their geographical location and their traffic source. This can be an excellent way to check on a particular campaign, but it's only a snapshot of a single moment, and not as useful as aggregate data when it comes to planning.

Audience

This tab offers insight into the behavior of your site visitors, including their location, how they browsed your site and if they used a mobile device.

Acquisition

These reports show how users got to your website, whether directly or through a search engine. Knowing whether customers are coming to your site from organic searches or a social media posting can profoundly aid in planning.

Behavior

Under this tab, you'll come to understand how visitors move through your site's pages, which gives you information about how and why your users respond to your pages (or don't). For example, if you want your visitors to contact you, but discover under the "User Flow" tab that most visitors bounce off your landing page without ever visiting your contact form, you'd want to redesign the landing page or tweak your call-to-action. You can then go back and monitor the results of testing various options.

Conversions

This report can show conversions (e.g., filling out a form or completing a purchase). This is a game-changer. Look at your website and think about all the desired actions a user can take; then, go to your Admin tab to set up goals, whether it's signing up for your newsletter, visiting a particular URL or completing a purchase. The results of the goals that you set in the Admin tab will appear in this section.

These are just a few ways website performance metrics can inform your planning and help you make smart marketing decisions, driving higher ROI for your campaigns.

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