We get asked about Google Analytics reports quite a bit. Here’s some common terms used in GA.
Visits: Visits are the individual periods of time (also known as “sessions”) that visitors spend on your site. A visit is ended either after 30 minutes of inactivity or if the user leaves your site for more than 30 minutes (if a user leaves your site and returns within 30 minutes, this is counted as part of the original visit). The amount of times your Website is accessed. This data allows you to see how effectively your Website is being promoted. Watching the trends in your visits allows you to analyze which aspects of your online marketing are working.
Unique Visitor: The number of individual (non-duplicate) visitors to a site over the course of a specific time period. This data is determined by cookies that are stored in visitor browsers.
Visitor: The person who goes to a Website. The “Visitor” section of Google Analytics offers data and reports concerning the behavior of the visitors that frequent your Website.
Visitor Session: The time a visitor spends on a Website. The longer a visitor stays on your Website, the more relevant it appears to search engines. To increase the amount of time visitors stay on your site, it is important to present informative content, easy to use navigation, and up to date information on your brand, products and services.
Page View: The amount of times visitors arrive on individual pages of your Website. If a user reloads a page, that action will be counted as an additional page view. If a visitor navigates to a different page and then returns to the original page, a second Page View will be recorded as well. Page views allow you to see which pages on your site are the most popular.
The unique pageview number counts all the times the page was viewed in an individual session as a single event; so whether a visitor viewed the page once in their visit or five times, the number of unique pageviews will be recorded as just one.
When a user visits your site for the first time, a new visit and unique visitor are both recorded. If the same user returns to the site after their initial visit, only a new visit is added.
The page your user begins their visit to your site on; quite simply, how they ‘land’ on your site.
Bounce rate is given as a percentage, and represents the number of visits when users leave your site after just one page; regardless of how they got to your site or how long they stayed on that page.
New vs. Returning Visitors
New visitors are those users that have not visited your site before the time period specified, while returning visitors will have made at least one visit to at least one page on your site previously. This is again determined by whether Google Analytics can detect cookies, which indicate previous visits. If Google cannot detect a cookie one will be set for future recording, unless the user has disabled cookies in their personal browser preferences.
Bounce Rate: The percentage of visits in which the visitor only views one page of your Website before leaving is known as the Bounce Rate. With Bounce Rate information, you can analyze the quality of user visits. A high Bounce Rate often indicates that your pages are not relevant to what your visitors are looking for. You can lower your bounce rate by generating better targeted ads and Landing Pages, as well as creating quality content that will engage visitors and draw them into your Website.
Top Exit Pages: The pages on your Website that visitors leave from. In Google Analytics, these pages are listed in order from those the most visitors exited your site to those pages that visitors least exited your site. Take into consideration the content of the exit page when deciding on a course of action. If people are leaving your site from a Thank You page, there is no need for worry. If one of your Top Exit Pages is another page on your site, you want to investigate why your visitors are leaving from this page.
Top Landing Pages: The first pages that users land on, or come to when entering your Website. Within Google Analytics, these pages are listed in order of most visited to least visited. This data is important because it allows you to see which pages are attracting visitors.
Referring Sites: Other Websites that refer or send visitors to your Website are called referring sites. Knowing where your traffic is coming from is an easy way to increase your ROI. You can focus more resources on sites that are referring more traffic, or re-evaluate your campaigns on sites that are not driving much traffic.
Traffic: The total number of visits to your Website. Within Google Analytics, traffic can be divided into multiple categories including, direct, organic and paid.
Traffic Sources: Where your traffic is coming from. Google Analytics includes information on which sites your visitors are coming to your Website from as well as what keywords they are using to get to your Website.
Google Analytics: Free service offering a simple way to track metrics on your Website with the addition of a small snippet of code placed on all pages of your Website. Google Analytics allows you to see how visitors found your site, what pages they visited, how long they stayed on your site, among many other facts and figures. Properly understanding and interpreting the data available through Google Analytics will allow you to improve your Website, increase your conversions and increase your Website’s effectiveness.
Tracking Code: A small snippet of code that is inserted into the body of an HTML page. The tracking code captures information about visits to a page.