Google Analytics: 3 basic ways to measure audience engagement

November 19, 2016

If you have a website, it’s imperative that you measure its performance. You’ve spent the time and money to set it up, and you think it’s pretty good, but if you are not regularly checking your analytics, you may be missing out on some key areas for improvement.

I can build very detailed custom Google Analytics reports for you, but it’s helpful to have the knowledge to be able to interpret the results at a very high level. Here’s my way of sharing my knowledge with you.


What is a KPI?

A key performance index (KPI) is a specific unit of measurement used to determine how well your website is performing. For example, you may want to see how many of your visitors are new vs. returning. Or you may want to measure the success of your free giveaway.

Your KPIs will be unique to your business and what you are trying to achieve. It’s not easy to define your KPIs upfront, and you will need to refine your goals as you collect more data. However, I’ve identified 5 goals and KPIs that you can measure right now.

I recommend installing Google Analytics if you have not yet done so. There are other products that offer analytics, but Google Analytics is free and very robust. The user interface will take some getting used to, but the information is extremely valuable.

And you can do this all in Google Analytics!

In this series of blog posts, I’ll show you some very simple KPIs that you can look at today! I’ll explain which metrics are the most important to analyze if you are just starting out.


1) View your site’s overall performance

If the primary purpose of your website is to have people read your blog content, you’ll want to pay attention to these major KPIs.

Objective: Learn about your audience

Go To: Audience -> Overview in the sidebar

measure_analysis_audience

Here you will find the basic information about your overall audience. You’ll find out if they are new vs. returning, how many pages they are looking at, and how many visits you’ve received over a period of time.

New vs Returning Visitors: You can’t go by the raw numbers alone. You’ll need to analyze the percentage of new vs. returning customers. If you have a blog, you’ll want a higher number of returning visitors. If your blog has a higher percentage of returning visitors, people are engaged with your content, or your marketing efforts are successful.

If you want to improve, you can drill down to the specific posts. You’ll be able to see which posts perform the best and create similar posts in the future. Or you can increase your announcements of new posts via email or social media.

bounce rateBounce Rate: The rate at which visitors visit a single page and leave. This means that the higher this percentage is, the more visitors have viewed a single page without clicking through to other pages.

Try to keep the bounce rate as low as possible. If your bounce rate is high, you can lower if by linking to related posts and articles and making your content as engaging as possible. You might want to include an offer with every post as well.

(This image shows the bounce rate over a specified time period)

Pages per Session: This number will tell you how many pages the average user visits per session. You’ll want to increase this number by giving the visitor incentive to click around on your site. The most content you have, the more opportunity you have to increase this number.


2) See which pages/posts perform better!

Objective: Improve audience engagement with the most popular types of content.

Go To: Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages in the sidebar

Analysis All Pages

By default, this is listed in decreasing order of pageviews. Your most visited page will appear first.

Pageviews: The number of times a particular page/post has been viewed.

Average Time on Page: Just what it says! This is the time someone is on your page before clicking to another page or leaving. This time may vary depending on the content of the page.

Entrances: This is the number of visits where someone has entered through that particular page. For example, most visitors enter through the home page, but many may find the site through a different page. This is common from search engines or other places that will link directly to specific pages.

Exits: The percentage at which users exit your site through a particular page. This may be useful to understand where your users are leaving and try to figure out why.


3) See where your visitors are coming from

Finally, you can find out where your visitors are coming from.

Objective: To concentrate your efforts on the sources that bring you the most traffic.

Go to: Aquisition ->Overview in the sidebar

analysis_acquisition_channels

analysis_acquisition

If you click on any of the channels, you can drive down for further information. This is helpful to see what your referrals are, or from which social networks your visitors are coming from.

For example, clicking on the social channel will give you the exact numbers and percentages for each social network. The screenshot below is that analytics view for Google’s merchandise store. There are at least 7 different social networks that provide traffic to this site.

By default, it’s ordered from greatest to least.

analysis_acquisition_social

You can also do the same with the referral channel. It will show you which sites provide traffic by linking to your site.

Hopefully, you now know a little about how Google Analytics can help you measure your site’s performance. If you enjoyed this post, stay tuned for more information about how to segment your audience and track any specific goals that you have.

However, I haven’t even scratched the surface of what you can do with Google Analytics. If you would like to go deeper, I encourage you to book a 15 mins strategy call with me.

Let’s chat and see what reports I can build for your site! Until next time ….


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Kimberly Inez Mays

Kimberly Inez Mays

Online Brand Strategist, Founder

With over 10 years of web design and development experience, I help entrepreneurs build and grow their online brands. I love everything tech and can't wait to help you shine online!

I currently reside in NYC with my 2 selfish cats and I'm addicted to caffeine (which helps with the late night coding). 

Fun fact: My initials are K.I.M 🙂

About Foolishly Creative

I help ambitious entrepreneurs create and launch the website and branding designs of their dreams. I help them elevate their visual presence and inspire their dream clients to take action.

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