What are the most important things to track in Google Analytics? WebLink International, which provides membership management technology to business associations and other member based organizations, just issued a new, free e-book that might help you answer that question.
The e-book, "Top 10 Things Your Association Should Measure in Google Analytics," recommends these top metrics for Google Analytics:
1 - Audience Location
DJ Muller, president and founder of WebLink, told CMSWire that "a lot of people don't look at audience location, but, if you're a small business," this data could help you target your marketing. The e-book notes, however, that "web traffic from outside the target audience location does not necessarily mean the association should expand its marketing area," as the audience could be commuters or the traffic could result from social sharing.
Audience location screen in Google Analytics
2 - Audience Engagement
This metric, measuring a viewer's time on a page and the number of pages accessed, indicates how well an audience's attention is being captured. A web site owner can add calls to action or links to encourage users to visit more pages.
3 - Mobile Traffic Behavior
Muller pointed out that increasing mobile traffic is one reason to follow this metric, but there's also the fact that Google ranking – the result of a secret algorithm – might be adversely affected for sites that do not have a mobile site. The e-book notes that Net searches from mobile devices have doubled from 2012 to 2013. More time on a mobile site – Average Visit Duration – can also indicate a better mobile user experience, since users won't spend much time on a badly optimized mobile version.
4 - Traffic Sources
Obviously, this metric can help a company determine the strengths and weaknesses of an online marketing campaign, since it identifies the online sources leading people to your site.
5 - Social Media Traffic
This metric identifies the top social media referrals and can help you target your social marketing.
6 - Site Content Trends
Performance over time can show such trends as traffic spikes around holidays or the benefits of specific promotions.
7 - Page Bounce Rates
The e-Book notes that landing page bounce rates are "a better indicator of the website's performance than the overall site page bounce rate." Bounce rates can be improved with calls to action or more interesting content. The reasons for bouncers, Muller told us, could be anything from the page not looking good on mobile to the content being hard to understand. "If bouncers are huge," he added, you might want to have "more calls to action or smaller chunks of content."
8 - Site Search Behavior
This metric can indicate if visitors are looking for something that isn't obvious in your site. If it needs improvement, remedies can include additional or clearer content, better navigation and better optimized search engine keywords.
9 - Events
10 – Funnel Visualization
How effective is your strategy, based on your goals? This metric allows a site owner to determine if users are, say, reading about member benefits and joining – and, if not, where they bailed.