Key Terms in Google Analytics
Hello! I'm Charlotte, and I'm the founder of Blog and Beyond. I'm a slightly sarcastic 22-year-old grandma from Glasgow who loves The Sims, Hugh Laurie and programmes about airports. I've been blogging at Colours and Carousels for nearly eight years and work freelance in digital marketing.
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When you first open Google Analytics, you’re faced with a slightly intimidating looking dashboard. At first, it looks like it's full of nonsensical mumbo jumbo, but once you get to grips with some of the key terms and phrases it's nowhere near as bad as it seems. Here's a quick rundown of the most common phrases, what they mean, and a rough idea of the sort of figures you should be looking for as a blogger…
Simply put, this is the number of views your page gets. Straightforward, eh? This is the total number of times your pages have been viewed, including repeat views on the same page from the same user. What makes a "good" page views figure is totally subjective, as it can range anywhere from 1 to 100,000,000. I'd like to say that I'm somewhere in the middle, but in reality, I sit much closer to the lower end of the scale…
Okay, this is where things start to get broken down a little bit more. Your unique users represent how many individual users have viewed your pages. This will most likely be lower than your total page views, as each person may read multiple posts. For example, if one person reads three pages of your blog, you'll have three page views but only one unique user.
A session is the period of time that a user interacts with your web page, and this figure will take into account multiple interactions from one user. Google Analytics uses a default timeframe of 30 minutes per session and this figure will be similar to your page views, albeit slightly lower because it will count return visits within a set period of time as being the same session.
The bounce rate relates to how much time users spend on your web page before clicking off. A "bounced" session is where the user doesn't interact with your page at all before they leave, for example, they may have clicked through to a link from Twitter, but it wasn't what they were expecting so they left. What could be considered a "good" bounce rate will differ from site to site, but industry averages sit at around 40%. Blogs tend to sit slightly higher than this, as more often than not users come to read one specific post, then click off. It's a tricky one, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. For reference, my bounce rate currently sits at around 60%.
% of New Sessions
Another one that does what it says on the tin! This figure shows how many of your users are visiting your blog for the first time. The nature of blogs means that ideally, you do want some returning traffic, but new visitors are always good, too!
This figure shows the average number of pages viewed by a user in a session. I find this tends to be around 1.5-2, as a lot of my users click on to my blog to read one individual post, then leave. It is nice when it's a bit higher because it means people are sticking around, but if you have a loyal follower who reads every single post as and when they go live, they're not necessarily going to be visiting multiple pages in their session.
Average Session Duration
Again, this is quite self-explanatory, with this figure relating to the amount of time the average user spends on your pages.