Metrics in Google Analytics: Your Key to Data-Driven Decisions

by | Aug 26, 2023 | Blog

Building impactful online content is much like creating a hit song. You see, putting together a chart-topper is a science and an art. A study into 80,000 chords from 745 classic U.S. Billboard songs revealed as much. 

A chart-topping song needs a number of key components, including; the right keys and modes, a danceability factor, the right volume and tempo, and the perfect valence—what we perceive as the song’s impact on our emotions. 

The same principles apply to building an effective digital marketing strategy. Only that instead of keys, tempo, and valence, you’ll need the data, metrics, and insights provided by Google Analytics. 

Only by leveraging the powerful information from Google Analytics, will you be able to gain valuable insights into your website’s performance, audience behavior, and effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. 

Everybody needs data literacy, because data is everywhere. It’s the new currency, it’s the language of the business. We need to be able to speak that.

— Piyanka Jain, Author, and Data Science Expert

Today, we explore some of the key Google Analytics metrics and how they can help you optimize your digital marketing strategies for better results. We’ll show you how through these metrics you’ll be able to:

  • Measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and channels
  • Identify areas where your conversion funnel needs improvement
  • Calculate your return on investment (ROI) for specific marketing efforts
  • Gain insights into user behavior and preferences

So let’s dive right in with a look into your most vital asset’s metric—your audience—and how Google Analytics will help you understand them better. 

Audience Metrics: Understanding Your Website Visitors

website analytics

In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, understanding your audience is the key to unlocking growth and success

By leveraging Google Analytics insights, you can gain a deeper understanding of your audience, allowing you to create more targeted marketing strategies. 

So let’s take a look at some essential audience metrics that’ll help you perform an audience behavior analysis to create more compelling content.

Current vs. New Users: Analyzing Your Audience Size and Growth

In the world of online marketing analysis, one truth rings true: the lifeblood of any website lies in its users. 

Monitoring the number of current and new users visiting your site is an integral part of your web traffic analysis. The term ‘users’ represent the total number of unique visitors to your site during a specified time period, while ‘new users’ refers to first-time visitors. 

Tracking your user metrics will give you invaluable insights into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and help you identify trends in audience growth

With a better understanding of your audience behavior analysis, you’ll be better placed to take steps to improve your user engagement metrics through: 

  • Optimizing your content for search engines (SEO)
  • Expanding your reach through social media and email marketing
  • Collaborating with influencers and industry partners

Sessions: Gauging the Frequency of Visits to Your Website

Sessions refer to the total number of visits to your website, including multiple visits by the same user

Sessions are a key website performance evaluation tool since tracking your website sessions gives you useful information about how often your users are engaging with your site, and valuable data for conversion optimization. 

High session numbers can hint at an increased interest and engagement with your site, while low session numbers may indicate a need to improve your content marketing strategies. 

To boost your session numbers, consider marketing strategies that involve:

  • Publishing fresh, relevant, and engaging content
  • Promoting your content across multiple channels
  • Retargeting users who have shown interest in your site or products

For more insights and the latest tips on how you can successfully implement these strategies, check out our resources on OnDigitalMarketing and sign up for our newsletter to stay in the know.

Session Duration: Assessing User Engagement and Time Spent on Your Site

Session duration is a crucial user engagement metric that measures the average amount of time users spend on your website during a single visit

Session duration is another key website performance evaluation tool as it offers you a comparable metric for your website performance evaluation. You see, a high session duration suggests that your users find your content compelling and valuable. 

On the other hand, a low session duration may indicate a lack of engagement, or difficulty navigating your site

As such, monitoring your session duration metrics allows you to identify areas in your content strategy where there’s room, or need for improvement. They can also help guide you toward making the right optimizations, which may include:

  • Creating in-depth, informative, and engaging content
  • Ensuring your website is easy to navigate and visually appealing
  • Using multimedia elements such as images, videos, and infographics to enhance the user experience

Pageviews: Evaluating Content Popularity and User Interactions

Pageviews are a measure of the total number of pages viewed by users during a specified time period. Tracking your pageviews gives insight into your content’s popularity and can help you identify which pages are attracting the most attention. 

Analyzing your pageview further empowers you to make informed decisions about your content marketing strategy by focusing on content that your audience finds valuable and engaging. 

Some simple ways you can improve your page views include:

  • Regularly updating and promoting high-performing content
  • Interlinking relevant pages to encourage users to explore more of your site
  • A/B testing different page layouts and designs to optimize your user experience

To realize your business’ maximum potential, you need a data-driven marketing strategy—and to create such a strategy, you need to lean on insights and online marketing analytics such as those offered by Google. 

The table below provides a comparison between organic and paid traffic, highlighting key metrics such as sessions, users, pageviews, average session duration, bounce rate, conversion rate, goal completions, revenue, and the top landing and exit pages:

Metric Organic Traffic Paid Traffic
Sessions 2,500 1,800
Users 2,200 1,500
Pageviews 5,800 4,500
Average Session Duration 2 min 30 sec 1 min 45 sec
Bounce Rate 35% 50%
Conversion Rate 3% 1.5%
Goal Completions 75 25
Revenue $10,000 $5,500
Top Landing Page Home Page Product Page
Top Exit Page Contact Page Checkout Page

For more tips, information, and expert insight on how you can take advantage of Google Analytics to shape your marketing strategy, check us out on OnDigitalMarketing

Among the various resources we have to offer is a Digital and Social Media Marketing & Analytics course that’ll take your website performance optimization to the next level. 

Behavior Metrics: A Deep Dive Into User Experience and Content Performance

Google Analytics website metrics

Without the right marketing metrics, you are shooting in the dark. The only way to know if things are working for you or not is those metrics.

— Jain Brodie

Understanding your user behavior on your site is essential to creating an engaging experience and driving your conversion optimization. 

To equip you with the tools and knowledge you need to create an unforgettable user experience through high-impact content, let’s explore the three key behavior metrics you’ll find on Google Analytics:

  • Bounce rate
  • Page per session
  • Time on page

These metrics provide valuable insights you can use to optimize user engagement metrics and enhance content performance.

Bounce Rate: Decoding User Engagement and Website Navigation Challenges

Bounce rate is a powerful online marketing analytics metric that reveals the percentage of visitors who enter your website and leave without interacting with other pages or content elements. 

Think of it like this; bounce rate is your first indication of successful or poor website design. This is because a high bounce rate is often a sign of an underlying issue with user engagement.

Here’s a quick breakdown of common causes of high bounce rates, and how you can address them:

  • Page load speed: Slow-loading pages can frustrate users, causing them to leave before they have a chance to engage with your content. You can optimize your load speed by compressing images, minifying CSS, and using browser caching.
  • Content quality and relevance: Always ensure that your content matches your user’s search intent and provides value. This includes creating compelling headlines, using informative subheadings, and delivering high-quality, relevant information.
  • User interface and navigation: A cluttered layout will make it harder for your users to find what they’re looking for, leading to higher bounce rates. Streamline your website’s design and navigation through a clean layout, clear calls to action (CTAs), and optimizing menus and search functions.
  • Mobile responsiveness: With an increasing number of users accessing websites via mobile devices, it’s essential that you ensure that your site is mobile-friendly. Implement a responsive design that adapts to various screen sizes and resolutions.

Pages per Session: Unraveling User Interactions and Content Consumption Patterns

Pages per session is a marketing goal-tracking metric that measures the average number of pages viewed by users during a single session on your website. 

Higher pages per session values typically indicate high levels of user engagement with your content, while lower values might hint at content that’s not compelling, or that your site’s navigation is less than ideal. 

According to research conducted by Littledata through a survey of over 5,900 sites, the average number of pages per session is 2.6. 

If your website averages anything above 4.0 pages per session, that puts you in the top 20 percent, and 5.2 puts you in the top 10 percent of performers.

On the other hand, if your site averages anything at or below 1.4 pages per session, then you may be burning your valuable marketing dollars, and should definitely consider adopting a data-driven marketing strategy. 

To help boost your pages per session, here are some website performance optimizations you can implement on your site:

  • Internal linking: Provide links to related content within your web content to encourage users to explore more pages on your site.
  • Related content recommendations: Use a related content plugin or widget to display suggestions for further reading based on the user’s current page or interests.
  • Accessible navigation: Ensure that your navigation menus and search functionality are user-friendly and intuitive, making it easy for users to find more content.

Average Time on Page: Assessing Content Appeal and Effectiveness

Average Time on Page is a marketing goal-tracking metric that indicates the average time users spend on a specific page on your website. It provides you with valuable information about the appeal and effectiveness of your content.

A good benchmark for average time on a page is 52 seconds, with B2B websites showing the highest durations with averages of about 82 seconds. However, a good average time on page depends on various factors, including the type of device and audience. 

Your goal is to implement strategies that increase the average time on page through high-quality content that resonates with your site visitors.

Remember, while 31 percent of Americans admit to being online almost constantly, a longer average time on a page isn’t necessarily always better. You want users to stay on your website because they enjoy the content and experience. 

Not because they cannot find what they are looking for, are unable to complete a desired action, or are having trouble completing a purchase. 

To that end, here are some content strategy tactics you can implement to help improve your average time on page.

  • Content formatting: Use formatting styles, including headings, subheadings, bullet points, and short paragraphs to break up long blocks of text and make content more digestible.
  • Multimedia elements: Incorporate diverse media, including relevant images, videos, infographics, and other visual elements to enhance the user experience and support your written content.
  • Storytelling and writing style: Engage your website users through a conversational content tone, relatable examples, and storytelling techniques that capture their attention and maintain their interest.
  • User-focused content: Create content that addresses your audience’s needs, pain points, and questions. You can use keyword research to ensure that you’re covering all the topics that are relevant to your target audience.
  • Calls to action: Encourage users to spend more time on your website and engage with your content by including clear and compelling calls to action (CTAs). For example, you can invite them to leave a comment, share your content, or sign up for your newsletter.

Speaking of, what better way to stay on top of the latest Google Analytics and content marketing strategies than signing up for our OnDigitalMarketing newsletter?

Here, you’ll find all the information you need to harness the power of Google Analytic insights, social media, and the web to grow your brand and build a foolproof content marketing strategy.

Expand Your Knowledge

To deepen your understanding of these key behavior metrics and explore more comprehensive strategies for improving them, we recommend diving into OnDigitalMarketing’s “A Beginners Guide to Digital Marketing and Social Media.” 

Chapter 5: “Getting to Know Your Customer” offers invaluable insights into understanding and addressing user needs and behaviors. 

It outlines the importance of Design Thinking in digital marketing and provides a practical example of a User Persona to guide your strategies. 

Also covered in this chapter is a guide to conducting secondary market research to help you gather crucial data about your target audience. 

You can use these insights to enhance your website’s user experience and increase your conversion optimization, contributing to better performance on key Google Analytics behavior metrics. 

Traffic Source Metrics: Unlocking the Secrets of Web Traffic 

Understanding how users find your website is crucial for optimizing your online presence and maximizing your marketing efforts. Analyzing your source metrics in Google Analytics will give you the insights you need to tailor your content strategy to your audience. 

So here’s a closer look at the key traffic source metric you need to get better acquainted with:

Channels: Exploring the Multifaceted Sources of Your Website’s Traffic

In the realm of web traffic analysis, channels refer to the various paths users take to arrive at your website. Google Analytics classifies these paths into distinct categories, providing you with a comprehensive overview of your website’s traffic sources. These categories include:

  • Organic Search: Users who find your website through search engine results pages (SERPs) without the involvement of paid advertising.
    To improve your organic search performance, focus on search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, such as keyword research, on-page optimization, and high-quality content.
  • Direct: This refers to users who access your website directly by typing your URL into their browser or using bookmarks. Enhancing your brand recognition and increasing user loyalty will help boost direct traffic to your website.
  • Referral: This refers to users who land on your website through a link on another website. To increase referral traffic, engage in link-building strategies, such as guest blogging, outreach, and creating shareable content.
  • Social: Users who visit your website through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Creating compelling content and engaging with your audience on social media will organically draw traffic to your website. 
  • Paid Search: These are users who arrive at your website through paid search advertising, including Google Ads or Bing Ads. For optimal paid search performance, focus on keyword bidding, ad copy optimization, targeted at the right audience.
  • Email: These are users who follow links in email campaigns and newsletters to visit your website. To improve your mail traffic, create engaging email content, segment your audience, and personalize your email campaigns.
  • Display: These are users who find their way to your site by clicking on display ads (e.g., banner ads or rich media ads) placed on other websites.
    You can improve your display traffic by targeting relevant websites, optimizing your ad creatives, and monitoring your campaign performance.

By understanding your traffic sources, you’ll be in a better position to channel your resources into the most impactful traffic generators for your website and maximize your conversion optimization. 

Pro Tip: Check out OnDigitalMarketing to learn about implementing your content strategy across different channels through expert tips and case studies.

Source/Medium: Uncovering the Origin and Type of Your Website’s Traffic

The Source/Medium report in Google Analytics gives you a detailed view of your website’s traffic sources. Here, the source refers to the origin of your traffic and the medium indicates the type of traffic. 

For example, “Google/organic” represents users who found your website through organic search results on Google, and “Facebook/CPC” indicates users who found your website through a paid Facebook ad.

By examining your Source/Medium report on Google Analytics, you gain an in-depth understanding of the performance of your marketing efforts. 

Your Source/Medium metrics will help you make informed decisions about where to allocate your resources and which channels to prioritize to improve your marketing strategy. 

In addition to the standard sources and mediums, you can also create custom UTM parameters for your marketing campaigns.

Definition: UTM parameters are tags added to URLs that enable Google Analytics to track specific campaign data. This allows you to further segment your traffic and gain deeper insights into the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Conversion Metrics: The Key to Data-Driven Marketing Success

Understanding the impact of your marketing efforts is crucial to ongoing success. Conversion metrics help you do just that. 

They provide you with precise insights into how well your campaigns are doing in driving desired outcomes, making them pivotal in your data-driven marketing. To make the most of our conversion metrics, you’ll need to understand their three main components.

Goal Completions: Pinpointing Your Marketing Milestones

Goal completions are the bread and butter of your marketing goal tracking. They represent the number of times a user completes a specific action on your website, which you have predefined as a goal

These actions can include signing up for a newsletter, downloading a whitepaper, making a purchase, or any other valuable interaction.

To effectively utilize goal completions, you’ll need to set up goals within your Google Analytics, so here’s a quick rundown on how you can do it:

  1. Navigate to the “Admin” section of your Google Analytics account.
  2. In the “View” column, click on “Goals.”
  3. Click “New Goal” and follow the prompts to set up your custom goals, or select from the pre-configured templates.

Expert Tip: Remember to define goals that directly align with your marketing objectives to ensure that the Google Analytics insights you gather are relevant and actionable.

Conversion Rate: Gauging the Potency of Your Marketing Campaigns

Conversion rate is a powerful metric that showcases the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. It’s calculated by dividing the number of goal completions by the total number of sessions, then multiplying the result by 100 to express it as a percentage. 

Effectively, your conversion rate reflects the proportion of your website visitors who complete a desired action.

Monitoring your conversion rates, allows you to evaluate the success of various marketing initiatives and identify areas for conversion optimization. 

For instance, if you notice that a particular campaign has a low conversion rate, you may need to tweak the messaging or targeting parameters to better resonate with your audience

Conversely, a high conversion rate indicates a successful campaign that may warrant increased investment.

To make the most of your conversion rate metrics, you can:

  • Compare your conversion rates across different channels, campaigns, and ad sets to identify top performers.
  • Analyze trends over time to spot patterns and fluctuations that may suggest emerging opportunities or challenges.
  • Segment your conversion rates by demographic factors, such as age and location, to better understand your audience’s behavior and tailor your marketing accordingly.

Goal Value: Putting a Price Tag on Marketing Success

While goal completions and conversion rates are invaluable for assessing the impact of your marketing efforts, understanding the monetary value of those conversions can truly elevate your website performance evaluation. 

Assigning a goal value to each conversion allows you to quantify the financial impact of your marketing initiatives and optimize your campaigns for maximum return on investment (ROI).

Goal value can be a fixed amount or dynamically calculated based on the specifics of each conversion, say, the revenue generated by a sale. 

Here are the steps you need to take to assign goal value in Google Analytics:

  1. Navigate to the “Admin” section of your Google Analytics account.
  2. In the “View” column, click on “Goals.”
  3. Select an existing goal or create a new one.
  4. In the “Goal details” section, enable the “Value” toggle and enter a fixed amount or select the “Event value” option for dynamic calculation.

To ensure accurate and meaningful analytics, be thoughtful when setting your goal values. 

By monitoring your goal values and other conversion metrics, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about your budget allocations, campaign prioritization, and overall marketing strategy. 

But that’s not all, to fully leverage goal value in your marketing analysis, here are a few more tips and best practices:

  • Regularly review and update your goal values to ensure they accurately reflect the current value of conversions.
  • Use goal value in tandem with metrics, such as content performance measurement and ecommerce tracking, to gain a comprehensive understanding of your marketing ROI.
  • Perform traffic source analysis to determine which channels are driving the highest goal value, and allocate resources accordingly.

Expand Your Knowledge

At OnDigitalMarketing we offer a resourceful textbook “A Beginners Guide to Digital Marketing and Social Media,” that’s sure to help you get on top of your conversion metrics and other online marketing analytics.

For example, Chapter 22 titled “Introduction to Basic Web Metrics Part 1,” delves into the fundamental metrics that every digital marketer should understand. 

The chapter breaks down complex concepts into easily understandable terms and provides insights into critical metrics, including:

  • Visitors and Time: We explain the significance of tracking unique visitors to your website and understanding your ‘Time on Page/Site’ metrics, which gives insights into how long users are staying on your pages or website.
  • Bouncing Along Online: Here, we elaborate on the ‘Bounce Rate’ metric and provide insights into the percentage of users who visit your site and leave without interacting further.
  • Know What Converts: The section on Website Conversion Rate illuminates how many users complete a desired action on your website, providing a deeper understanding of your website and marketing campaigns.
  • Vanity Metrics: Here we discuss the importance of measuring basic online engagement metrics, such as likes, shares, and comments.

While these may not directly translate into business objectives they are still valuable for gauging user interest and interaction. 

By building your understanding of these conversion metrics, you can make data-driven decisions that improve the effectiveness of your campaigns and drive successful outcomes

Leveraging Google Analytics Data to Optimize Your Marketing Strategy

Google Analytics provides you with an armada of data that’ll help your conversion optimization and elevate your digital marketing efforts

Watch this video to learn more about analyzing metrics using Google Analytics:

Through analyzing and building your understanding of key Google Analytics metrics, you’ll be able to identify areas for improvement, track your progress, and make informed decisions to boost your site’s performance and user experience. 

Using Key Metrics to Identify Areas for Improvement

One of the primary benefits of Google Analytics is its ability to provide detailed insights into your website’s performance. 

Google Analytics metrics build your understanding of how your users are interacting with your site, your most popular pages, and the areas where users are dropping off in your conversion funnel. 

For example, let’s say you notice that a high percentage of users are bouncing from your homepage. An examination of the bounce rate and other behavior metrics will help you narrow down the issues that may be causing your users to drop off. 

Tracking Goals and Conversions

In addition to examining metrics related to user behavior, it’s also important to set up goals and track conversions in Google Analytics. 

Goals allow you to measure specific actions users take on your site, such as filling out forms, subscribing to a newsletter, or making a purchase. 

Tracking these actions will help you better understand how your users are engaging with your site and show you which of your marketing channels are driving the most conversions. 

To set up goals in Google Analytics, first, you need to define what you want users to accomplish on your site. Once you’ve established your goals, you can use Google Analytics to track progress toward those goals and measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. 

Master Online Marketing and Google Analytics With the Right Partner

Google Analytics is an invaluable source of the information you need to make data-driven decisions and optimize your online marketing strategy. But mastering Google Analytics demands ongoing learning and adaptation. 

This is where OnDigitalMarketing comes in. 

OnDigitalMarketing provides a comprehensive range of courses and resources that cover key topics in digital marketing and analytics, including email marketing, UX design, SEO, social media, and more. 

The content is provided by leading practitioners in the field, including a cohort of experts from Google, MailChimp, and Meetup; and our founder, Jake—who has about two decades of experience in the sector.

In addition to our online resources, you may also find our book “A Beginners Guide to Digital Marketing and Social Media” another invaluable resource for practical knowledge on how to deepen your understanding of digital marketing.

So if you’re ready to master your online marketing, and learn how to make the most of Google Analytics, visit us on OnDigitalMarketing to get started. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us at [email protected] with any questions or comments, and sign up for our newsletter to stay on top of the latest developments in the world of digital marketing.

Jake Cook


I'm a forever curious entrepreneur that works across ecommerce, analytics, and AI. I've been creating and teaching courses on ecommerce, design thinking, and data science at Montana State University and University of Montana since 2007. Most recently, I've been lecturing and assisting with research and case study development for Harvard Business School.


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