How can you tell when people stop caring about your website? How can you tell if they even cared at all? If you’ve implemented Google Analytics to track user activity on your website, but you’re not really sure about how to read the data, then this article is for you. You’ll learn how to read Google Analytics data at a basic level and listen to what it has to say about the performance of your website.
For matters of simplicity, we’re going to operate on the assumption that you’ve already implemented Google Analytics and have implemented some basic events. Once you’re able to analyze this data, you’ll be able to make educated decisions about how to improve the quality of your website and turn more clicks into customers.
Before you can get started analyzing the data, you have to know what you’re looking at. As a beginner, the most important metrics that you should be looking at are Bounce Rate and Events.
Bounce rate is the amount of people who came to your website and then left without visiting any other pages or taking any other kind of action. It’s akin to having customers walk through the door to your store, but immediately turn around and leave. You can easily figure out if something is wrong by paying attention to this metric.
Generally speaking, the higher the bounce rate, the worse your website is doing. You might be wondering what an acceptable bounce rate is? To be honest, that depends on your specific goals, business and industry. It’s believed by some that anything over 50% demands immediate attention and analysis, but that’s not always the case.
Take a look at Davis’s top three landing pages over the first few weeks of August. As you can see under “Bounce Rate”, our home page has a bounce rate of approximately 40%, which is generally pretty good. In contrast, our job opportunities page has a bounce rate of about 79%.
This doesn’t throw up any red flags right now because we don’t have many positions open at this time. Therefore, many people are going to land on this page, and immediately bounce, since they don’t find anything worthwhile for them. You can see how the importance of bounce rate can vary from page to page.
Events are user interactions that can be tracked outside of a web page such as downloads, scroll depth, video plays and form submissions. When it comes to determining how engaged your visitors are with your content, events can be very helpful. Here are some statistics on our website’s scroll depth:
While our home page has an impressive bounce rate of 40% for the month, once we drill down into the page to look at specific events, we get an even better picture about how our visitors are interacting with our home page. There were 1,408 events involving scroll depth but only 170 of those visitors scrolled all the way down the homepage. For your own website, this could be a good or bad sign. Why? Because again, it depends on the specific page and your objectives. If you look at our home page, you’ll notice that we have different calls to action. These include buttons linking to our “Industries,” “Capabilities” and “Team” pages. Each of these links appear around the 50% mark.
Once we dig deeper into the events on the homepage, you can see that there were 70 clicks on the “industries-buttons” and 50 clicks on the “capabilities-buttons.” If you have a sales page with a “Buy Now” button at the bottom, then scroll depth will be helpful in figuring out if visitors even make it that far down the sales page.
However, if you have a landing page with a call to action “above the fold,” so to speak, then scroll depth wouldn’t be useful because you’re expecting visitors to take a specific action without having to scroll down the page. Events are good at measuring how engaged your visitors are.
As you can see, there’s a lot of information in Analytics, and we haven’t even gotten to one of the most interesting areas: Goals. Goals are required to determine an accurate cost per acquisition. It requires a little more setup, and typically we suggest working with someone (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?) to get these types of metrics loaded up and in place.
Analyzing website data and constantly making improvements is just a part of what we do here at Davis Advertising. Learn more about our Digital Strategy process and how we can help your company maximize its digital ROI.