Measuring website data and reporting on analytics regularly has become a vital element of digital marketing. Here at KC, we prepare monthly reports for all our clients that report on website traffic, acquisition, behaviour and other stats.
But some of these numbers can look seriously confusing! Not to mention drawing the wrong conclusions from them. So, I’ve put together a very brief guide to the metrics we report to help you get to grips with those numbers!
Sessions and Duration
A session refers to a group of interactions that one user takes on your website. This basically means that whatever one user does on your website before they leave equals 1 session. The term ‘visit’ and ‘session’ are often used interchangeably – we tend to call them visits when we’re discussing performance with clients.
Though be aware that these sessions include internal traffic so if your website is used regularly by your staff then it might be worth setting up a filter in your analytics so that you get a clearer picture of your visits.
Session duration refers to the time spent on your site by a single user so a higher session duration shows that users are spending more time on your site indicating the content is engaging and informative. Page duration, on the other hand, is the time spent by a user on a single page on your site.
This indicates the percentage of visitors who leave your website after only viewing one page or, put simply, a single page session. Your bounce rate should be monitored as a high or increasing bounce rate may mean that the content and functionality on your site needs reviewing.
However, it’s worth remembering that someone using your site may only visit one page – for example, to get your contact information or directions. But analytics tools will still consider this to be a bounce.
If you have a large amount of traffic visiting your contact page, tools such as call tracking can be put in place to monitor enquiries or conversions.
New Visitors vs Returning Visitors
This one seems pretty self-explanatory – a user on your site for the first time is referred to as a new visitor and returning visitors are those that have been on your site before. Simple!
An increase in new visitors may indicate that your audience and reach is growing through other marketing activity that increases your brand awareness. However, returning visitors are just as important and shouldn’t be ignored as it suggests a loyal audience base.
Acquisition refers to where your traffic is coming from and what those users do once they arrive on your site. There are 5 main channels of acquisition which include: Organic, Direct, Referral, Social, Paid and Email.
Organic refers to those that have found the site using a search engine such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. Direct visitors are those that type your URL into their web browser. Social traffic originates from any social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. Paid traffic comes from paid advertising through Google Adwords or other advertising platforms. And finally, Email... not to insult anyone’s intelligence but this comes from a link in an email.
So, to sum up….
None of these metrics should be analysed on their own – combining the results for each will give a much better indication of how your website is performing and where improvements could be made. Analytics should be used as part of your overall analysis to report on performance and aid future strategy and planning.
One thing is for certain, with website analytics you must establish your marketing goals and overall business objectives before diving into the data!