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The 10 Most Important Google Analytics Metrics For Small Businesses

The 10 Most Important Google Analytics Metrics For Small Businesses

I don’t use every function in my iPhone, and I bet you don’t either. I’m still amazed that I can download an app with the approval of my fingerprint instead of entering a password! Most smartphones do far more than we’ll ever need from them. We know how to do what we need to do, and that’s ok. That’s how it should be with Google Analytics too. No overwhelm, no nightmares, just convenience and ease.

Would you believe Google Analytics can be as helpful (and easy!) as your trusty smartphone?

Google Analytics can seem hard. Really hard. It’s overwhelming. It’s confusing. It can feel like you need a decoder ring to try to figure it out. The problem is that for most small business owners, it’s too much information. It’s so excessive that it’s easier to ignore it all.

Do you really need to review your website’s Cohort Analysis report or the Multi-Channel Conversion Visualizer? I’m going to go out on a limb and say no.

Is it important to know which service provider networks your website visitors are on? No, not unless you’re unhappy with your current internet provider and looking for suggestions of where to switch to yourself.

Google Analytics gives online marketers a tremendous amount of valuable information. Small business owners don’t necessarily need the same level of information as online marketers though.

For small businesses, I look at just 10 basic metrics. These metrics give small business owners, like you, a good understanding of how your website is performing. Imagine knowing, after reviewing a report for just a few minutes, if your website is attracting new, potential customers, or returning customers, if your time spent on social media is effective, or if people land on your website and exit immediately.

Understanding your analytics is real gold for small businesses. This is what can help you grow.

Unfortunately, not all of these 10 metrics are shown in Google’s default report. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a custom Google Analytics report. Keep reading to learn all about it!

10 Simple Metrics to FINALLY Understand Your Google Analytics Report
  1. Total Users
    This number is the total number of visitors to your site during the period you’ve chosen to review. (To see or adjust the time period, look in the upper right corner of Google Analytics) If you’re reviewing your report to monitor progress, you’ll likely want to review each month, so change the dates to the previous month. Google used to call this metric “unique visitors.” The only problem is that it’s impossible to track visitors just once if they’re coming to the site multiple times in different browsers or devices. So while this number is likely somewhat inflated, it’s the best number for most small businesses to use.
  2. Users Per Day
    This is actually the same number as the last one, but it shows you how many users your site receives on each day of the time period.This might be overkill for some business owners but it helps to see what’s going on with your traffic. Did your website tank? Did you have a webinar? Were you mentioned on Twitter by an influencer? It’s valuable to see how these circumstances affect your website traffic. Look for spikes or sharp declines.
  3. New/Returning Users
    Pretty self-explanatory, this is the percentage of users who are new compared to returning. Both are great!Your new visitors represent potential leads & new customers. We want that number to be high. On the other hand, a returning visitor is often an engaged visitor, which is a good sign.
  4. Average Session Duration
    The average amount of time visitors are spending on your site. Are your visitors hanging out for a while or leaving as fast as they came? The higher this number is, the better. However, don’t be alarmed if it’s a low number. That’s common.
  5. Average Number of Pages
    This is the average number of pages people visit on your site before exiting. Ideally, people aren’t visiting one page and exiting. We want them to mingle, to meander through multiple pages on your website.
  6. Traffic Sources
    This is a list of where your website traffic came from. Both organic and direct traffic will be listed, and the rest will be referral links. Unfortunately, unless it’s addressed, you’ll likely see some spam referrals listed here.
  7. Type of Traffic
    Referral, organic & direct are the most common for small businesses. Direct is fairly obvious, it’s when visitors come directly to your website. Organic traffic is the traffic that comes to your site after they’ve searched for keywords and have then clicked onto your site through the organic search results, not the paid ads. Referral traffic is traffic that comes to your site from clicking on a link from outside of your website.
  8. Social Referrals
    This section tells you the number of referrals your website receives from social networks. Although the total social referrals are included in the Type of Traffic metric, it’s valuable to know which social networks are driving traffic to your site and how they compare to each other. If you’re a busy entrepreneur (and what entrepreneur isn’t busy!), I’d suggest focusing on your social efforts on the network that’s giving you the best results.
  9. Most Popular Content
    The pages and/or blog posts that have received the most visits. Check out what content is attracting the most attention. Notice a pattern with certain blog topics? Write more of what’s popular!
  10. Keywords
    The words that people search for to bring them to your website, even if they’re searching for your business name.

That’s it! The only 10 metrics that most small businesses need to focus on and put to good use. Now let’s get a custom dashboard set up so you don’t have to go fishing through Google Analytics to find the details that matter most. Sign up below to get your Google Analytics Simplified custom dashboard now!

Get Your Google Analytics Simplified Now!

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. What a succinct, clear and valuable list! Sometimes I feel like I’m making up what I’m supposed to be looking at, and not sure if I’ve interpreted what I’m seeing properly. This list gives me somewhere concrete to start – thanks!

    Do you have a post somewhere about “addressing” spam referrals? Is there actually something that can either prevent them or weed them out of the actual numbers?

    1. Cathy, I’m so glad you’ve found the list helpful! Be sure to signup for the Google Analytics Simplified custom dashboard so that you can see just these 10 metrics in 1 single dashboard. It makes it all even easier. We don’t have a post about spam referrals yet, but it’s in the works. If you sign up for the custom dashboard, you’ll get notified when that’s available too. It’s so needed!!

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