Users, Page-Views, Sessions, and Segmentations:
Analytics has an answer for...
- How many people visit my website?
- Where do my visitors live?
- Do I need a mobile-friendly website? (YES)
- What websites are sending traffic to my website?
- What marketing tactics drive the most traffic to my website?
- Which pages on my website are the most popular?
- How many visitors have I converted into leads or customers?
- Where did my converting visitors come from and go on my website?
- How can I improve my website’s speed?
- What blog content do my visitors like the most?
User is Google Analytics best-guess of an anonymous person
- Used to understand the overall size of your audience
- You can segment users into new users and returning users and we would highly recommend doing so
A page view is an instance of a page being loaded, or reloaded, in a browser. Pageviews is a metrics defined as the total number of pages viewed.
A session is a collection of hits, or page views. In other words, a session is a container for all of the actions a user takes (type, click, touch). Sessions will time out after 30 minutes, meaning if you are inactive for 30 minutes the session will close out. For example, if you visit a website, click on 7 pages, and then get up from your computer and walk away, that would be 1 sessions, 7 page views.
- Session duration = first hit and last event
- Time on page = time from when you landed on a page until the time you hit the next page.
BOUNCE & BOUNCE RATE
Bounce rate is the percentage of sessions with only one user hit. This means your visitor landed on a page, but instead of continuing their session on their site they then clicked the back button or exited out. You will want to monitor which pages have the highest bounce rates on your site as you will want to improve these.
EACH SESSION WE CAN ANALYZE…
Everything in Google Analytics is derived from sessions, NOT users, this is important to understanding before you can properly interpret all the data.
- Operating system: Whether the sessions was from a computer or a mobile device
- Geography: Country, state, metropolitan area, city
- Traffic source: Where the session came from - direct, search, e-mail, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
- New vs. Returning: How many sessions are from new visitors vs. returning visitors
- Frequency & recency: Number of sessions, and when the last session occurred.
- Depth (or lack of ): Number of pages during the session, and which pages were visited. Ideally, the more pages visited the better, but in some instances if you can direct your visitors to your conversion page (lead signup or purchase) and get them there quickly, efficiently, and at a high conversion rate that is also good.
- Outcome: Did the session result in the action your company wanted?
- Date & Time
CHANGING THE TIME PERIOD
Select dates and time periods with seven-day weeks starting on a Sunday and ending on a Saturday. Simply click on the desired dates, or enter them. Don’t use calendar months because each month has a different number of days, and a different number of days of the week (weekends vs. weekdays). Seeing the data by day isn’t useful for some companies. You can look at hourly data, daily data, weekly data, or monthly data.
Click the “+Add Segment” circle above your data overview to get the trended data to compare segments. We recommend initially segmenting based on sessions from new users vs. sessions from returning users. Ask yourself, is the trend different for sessions/visits from new vs. returning users? Is your site lacking return users? What caused that spike in new users visiting your site?
COMMON GOOGLE ANALYTIC METRICS TO COMPARE SEGMENTS…
- % new sessions: Which segment has more sessions from new users? A high number isn’t necessarily good, it depends on your goals.
- Bounce rate: Did your site have what people thought they would find?
- Pages per session: On average, which segments led to the most multipage sessions?
- Avg. sessions duration: Really weak metric, don’t use!
- Conversions (custom set-up): Which segments had the highest sales? If not sales, whatever your company defines as a conversion, such as a sign-up for more information.
We don’t know whether more pages views is good for our website or whether fewer page views are bad. On the one hand, more page views means that are visitors go to lots of pages so they must like your content. On the other hand, people could also be going to a lot of pages because they aren’t finding what they want. In other instances, after an SEO friendly website redesign your visitors may begin to find what they want and are looking for much more quickly. Or, after adding dynamic content, you may see a drop in page views. What is always bad? Visitors coming to your site but bouncing immediately!
In addition to whether or not more or less page views is a good thing, understand that unique users does not mean actual unique different people can be challenging. For instance, 1 actual person with 5 different devices will be counted as 5 unique users, once each for her laptop, tablet, iPhone, desktop, and iPad. Whereas 14 actual people can be counted as 1 unique user, at schools and libraries, where 14 people use 1 computer and 1 browser.
It's important to not misinterpret the data Google is serving with you. With all of the information provided it's hard to separate the noise from actionable insights, but if you're able to do so your site will be miles ahead of your competitors.
SO HOW CAN WE REACH AND ENGAGE THE AUDIENCES THAT WILL SUPPORT US?
These are the 3 main Google Analytics Reports with which you should familiarize yourself with and use to improve your site.
Ready to dive into some more information on how you can utilize the many facets of Google Analytics? Choose from one of our next Google Analytics sections below.