Metrics To Use in Google Analytics

The Internet has made marketing easier than ever before with the abundance of tools that exist online. These online tools allow us to connect directly with potential customers without ever having to leave home. Since marketing is defined by the action of promotion and adverting, it’s very important to know what’s working, and what efforts are eating your time and budget.

This is where data comes into play, and despite the ease in which we can share content, knowing which data metrics are important can be much more challenging. Why is this?

Well, because there are virtually hundreds of ways you can examine how your content is reaching customers, but only a few measurements actually tell you what’s providing returns on your investments.

In this article I’m going to discuss five Google Analytics reports that every small business owner should be monitoring.

1. The Acquisition Overview

To find this report in the Google Analytics dashboard select Acquisition > Overview.

Reviewing Acquisition Overview in Google Analytics

This report will break down how many people have visited your site within a given interval, and where they came from. The most important number within this report is search traffic, with a good rating being above 50%. This is because ‘search traffic’ is synonymous to how many people found your website using a search engine.

If your website is optimized correctly, you should be appearing within the first couple pages of Google. 75% of people using a search engine won’t look beyond the first page, and so if your search traffic is under 50% it might be time to work on improving your SEO.

2. Social Reach and Engagement

To find this report select Acquisition → Social → Landing Pages.

How To See Social Reach in Google Analytics

Social media metrics, while they’re straightforward to get, can be difficult to correlate between reach, engagement, and action. However, the best figures to pay attention to are which Social Networks are sending you the most visits. If you’re using more than five different platforms, this report will show you which platform deserves the most attention.

If Facebook is driving the most traffic, you can then head to Facebook Insights and see what type of content is producing the best returns.

3. Total Conversions

One of the biggest mistakes most businesses make when reviewing their reports, is strictly looking at site averages, and not setting up any goals. Without setting up goals you won’t be able to see whether or not your visitors are taking actions to complete conversions, i.e. making a purchase, subscribing to your newsletter, or signing up for a service.

Setting Google Analytics Goals

To start setting up your goals:

  1. Go to your Google Analytics standard reports
  2. Click on the “Admin” button in the top right.
  3. Click on “Goals”

Here you can create a number of customized metrics to account for specific actions that take place on your website. Common goals include: Tracking specific URL’s, visit durations, sign-ups from specific URLs, and conversions from social media advertising.

4. Bounce & Exit Rates

You’ve probably heard the statistic before, but for the emphasis of this metric, as it has been shown you only have three seconds to capture a visitors attention on your website. Therefore, it’s highly important to trace which pages are bringing them in, and which are causing them to ‘bounce’ in search of more appealing content.

Bounce Rate – Bounce rate measures the number of visitors who landed on a specific page and then left without visiting any other pages on your site.

Exit Rates – Exit rates will show you visitors who landed on your site elsewhere, viewed two or more pages, and then decided to leave. This is equally important as it also indicates a page where your visitors tend to lose interest.

5. Conversion Rate By Channel

Measuring conversion rates by specific channels will assist you in determining your ROI. Google Analytics has a campaign tracking tool that monitors specific URLs attached to Ad campaigns. For example, by running a Facebook Ad campaign targeting a product, or landing page for a service, you’ll be able to analyze meaningful data on how well that campaign is performing independent of other campaigns.

Learn more about monitoring performance by channel in our video below:

If you have any questions on how to set-up any of these metrics, feel free to leave it in the comments!


Screenshots provided by Jeremy Jensen 

Jeremy Jensen is a Professional Photographer and Freelance Writer based in Lake Tahoe, CA. His work is centered around photojournalism, nature and music, but also loves any opportunity to work with people. To view his portfolio or to follow him on Social Media visit