The team has a lot to talk about today! First up on the news front, Facebook is asking people about what they want to see most from the Pages that they follow, which could have big implications for businesses on Facebook and what the Facebook algorithm will show customers (we’ll keep an eye on this for you).

In other news, Instagram’s IGTV has officially added landscape video support, which will make it a lot easier for people to simply port their videos onto IGTV from places like YouTube…although this threatens to dilute the IGTV brand.

But now onto our main topics – Google Analytics! As you may know, Google Analytics is one of the most detailed analytics tools available to study your website activity, and is absolutely the top choice for most businesses working with SEO, social media signals, PPC, mobile vs. desktop, and all similar metrics. However, this can also create some drawbacks: Google Analytics can be too big or too complicated for some businesses to use, and learning how it works may be intimidating. We can always help with this, but today we wanted to take some time and specifically talk about the top analytics you should really be paying attention to when using GA.

1. Number of Sessions

Sessions refers to visits, or the basic traffic to your website. Every time someone clicks on a link, any link, to your site and connects, the number of sessions goes up. This allows you to take a look at the total traffic to your site. Now, this has limited uses – as our other analytics picks will show – but it’s a great baseline to establish, and very handy as a way to measure how your other marketing efforts are doing when directing viewers to your site.

2. Pages Per Sessions

Pages per sessions measures how many pages, on average, that visitors see when they go to your site. More pages is, naturally, a good indicator, since it means people are sticking around and exploring what your business has to offer. This is particularly important for companies with significant product pages, as it shows how readily visitors browse those products.

3. Time on Site

Time on site refers how long people stay on your website before leaving. This indicates that ever-important “bounce rate” or the portion of people that spend only seconds on the site before leaving. This indicates that your site wasn’t what they thought it was or wasn’t what they wanted, and a high bounce rate indicates a key flaw in marketing materials or targeting. As with pages per session, a lengthy time spent on the site is usually a good thing.

4. Organic Traffic

Organic traffic refers to all the sessions that come from a search engine. This typically indicates that someone took the time to type in a phrase or brand name, and then chose your site to visit out of the results. Organic traffic is very valuable – think of it as the cream of the crop. It improves your page ranking, indicates you have good marketing content/SEO, and helps you get customers you may not otherwise reach. Always try to grow organic traffic in healthy ways!

5. Social Traffic

Social traffic, as you may have guessed, is all the sessions that originate from social sites. This is a very valuable look at how much traffic your social media marketing is bringing in. Be sure to pay close attention to these numbers when you launch a new social campaign!

6. Top Content

This shows what your most viewed pages are. We find these results are great for seeing 1)what content and landing pages are working particularly well for a business and 2)how most visited pages align with business goals. For example, if your blog scores well in top content but your product page doesn’t, you may want to start directing more people directly toward your product.

7. New Content

New content looks at the traffic for…well, your new content. Chart this over time to get a good idea of how much attention your latest content is getting, and how it’s performing compared to your past work. It’s a nice metric for seeing if your marketing content has improved over time, too! You can combine metrics like new and top content to look at the behavior paths that visitors tend to follow, or the most popular navigation routes through your site, which is also very helpful for design and marketing.

8. Top Landing Page

What is your top landing page? Is it an old favorite, or does it change based on what you are advertising? Is your top landing page in the best possible shape? Does it have a useful CTA to gather more information? Where are people coming from to visit that page? Answer these questions to find ways to improve!

9. Total Blog Traffic

If you’re trying to grow your blog, keep an eye on this number. It shows how effective your blog content is at bringing people to your site over time. It’s also a handy way to prove blog ROI.

10. “Contact Us”

Basically, this shows how many people have seen your important contact information, like your address and phone number. This is particularly important for local SEO and turning visitors into leads, so you should always try to grow this analytic!

So, do you use Google Analytics? What metrics have you found to be particularly helpful? Do you have any questions about using GA? Let us know @21handshake! If you loved this episode, please take a moment to rate us on your podcast app and maybe recommend us to a friend! Thanks!