Top 5 Google Analytics stats & how to improve them

Knowledge is power and Google Analytics gives you plenty of knowledge indeed. And guess what…it’s only ruddy free!  If you’ve not plugged it into your site already, what are you playing at?! Go and do this immediately. Go on…. you’re missing out!
It’s an invaluable tool when it comes to understanding your audience, how your acquisition marketing is performing, plus it will also show you what parts of your website are smashing it by driving engagement and conversion. What’s not to love from a free tool like that?!

There are loads of different stats to be taken from Google Analytics, but we’re picking out the top ones to look at and sharing ideas on how you might go about improving your results.

Before we get into it though, do bear in mind that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to improving your results. Depending on the type of business you have, the products you sell and most importantly the differences in your audience, all this means you’ll need a bespoke plan to get the best results. What Google Analytics does is give you insight into what’s currently working and what isn’t. This helps steer your marketing plan as to which levels to pull and where to effectively spend your marketing budget to reap the biggest rewards.

Right….what you came for…..the nuts and bolts!

1. Users / New Users (How much Traffic you’re getting)

Where to find it:
Audience > Overview

What does Users mean?
As you’d probably expect, this is simply how many visitors you are getting to your site within your chosen timeframe (Day, Week, Month….whatever you want). This is immediately split into New Visitors and Returning Visitors for you in a handy pie chart (if you like that kind of thing).

What does ‘good’ look like?
This one is completely down to your expectations and what is an acceptable return on investing figure for your website to deliver. For example, if you know you need to be turning over £1000 per month and each customer is worth £10, then you need 100 customers to purchase each month. With an average conversion rate being around 3% (varies by industry), this means you’d need a total of 3333 visitors each month to hit that 100 customers goal. Simples.

What causes a low traffic rate?
This is going to sound pretty obvious but if your brand/business isn’t well known, nobody will be looking for it. You can build a beautiful website with amazing content but if nobody is looking for it, they’ll never arrive. So you’ve got to either put the work or money in to drive more traffic to your site.

How to improve this rate? 

  1. Improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). SEO is the process of getting your business as close to the top of a Google search result as possible for specific search terms which are relevant to your business. For example, if you are running an optician, potential customers might be searching in Google with terms such as ‘local optician’ or ‘eye test’. By ensuring that your website has plenty of good content which is relevant to these search terms you will find that, over time, you improve your SEO and in turn your Organic Search Ranking. This will help to ensure that more often then not your Opticians shows up on the first page of a google search. The more you invest in SEO the higher up the ranking you will show up. Bear in mind that over 90% of people will choose a business found on the first page of results and over 70% off traffic clicks on one of the top 3 results. Miss it…miss out!
  2. Support your SEO by creating blogs, articles, videos which you host on relevant pages of your website and share on your social media channels. It’s a great free way of driving more traffic. Make them relevant to your brand, get all your website ‘keywords’ in there. Google Trends ( is a great free tool to help you decide which topics and search terms are trending and will, therefore, drive the most traffic to your website. 
  3. Use Pay Per Click advertising (PPC). You can complement your organic search (or SEO) with paid Google Advertising. This means you pay Google to show up higher on the page rankings. PPC search results are generally found at the top of the page and are the ones with ‘Ad’ next to the result. It’s worth bearing in mind that Google doesn’t just give the top spot to the business which pays the most money. Even with a PPC campaign, Google will look at your SEO ranking and website authority, how relevant your page content is to the specific search term you are bidding on and how useful other visitors found your landing page, as well as how much money you are willing to spend. 
  4. Use Paid Social Media advertising. Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. Depending on where your audience hangs out, this can be a great way to drive traffic….and cost-effective too if your targeting and creative is right. Before you do any paid social media ensure you have installed the relevant pixels on your website (pixels are a piece of code with allows you to track visitors from social media channels to your website) so you can create the most relevant audiences and retarget to potential customers who visit your site. You also need to get the creative right – a recent Facebook study showed that creative accounted for 49% of your advert’s success.


2. Bounce Rate

Where to find it:
Audience > Overview

What does Bounce Rate mean?
Bounce rate is the number of people who come onto your website and leave again without taking any significant actions. For example, someone clicks on a social media or search link and leaves your site again after a couple of seconds. This is bad because it means that either you are driving the wrong traffic to your website or people landing on your website don’t find the content useful. 

What does ‘good’ look like?
Many things will skew this result. The industry sector the website falls within, the audience you are targeting and where your traffic is coming from (organic search traffic tends to have a lower bounce rate than PPC or Social for example). But if you want a good rule of thumb then they are:
Great – 26-40%
Good – 41-55%
Not Great – 56-70%
Super Bad – +71% 

What causes a poor bounce rate?
If you have a poor bounce rate it could mean several things. It could be that you are marketing to the wrong audience so when they arrive they find something that just isn’t their bag and they move on. Or it could be that what they do find on your site isn’t engaging or compelling for them. 

How to improve this rate? 

  1. Be 100% clear with whom your customer is. That sounds obvious I know, but I mean really drill down into who they are and what they are interested in. This way you can be laser focussed with your marketing, hitting the right target audience with the right message. Those who do respond to your marketing, arrive to find a product or content perfectly aligned to their interests. These guys are far less likely to bounce!
  2. If your product is good and you’re talking to the right audience and you still have a poor bounce rate, this could be a sign that you need to work on the content of your site. You need to woo your customers, enticing them to the next stage of your sales funnel with engaging and compelling content that is….above all….RELEVANT to them! Add videos, pictures etc. Make it visually appealing, not just reams of copy! 
  3. Your website speed could be hurting you. Sadly us humans have become used to having things now….this instant…….I can’t wait! Amazon Prime you have a lot to answer for! 🙂
    So this means, if your website is slow to load, your audience might just go back to google and click on a competitor’s site instead. According to an article from Deloitte, increasing your site loading speed by as little as 0.1 seconds can increase conversions by 8%. Nobody can afford a slow site these days…. Google suggests an average site speed of 2 secs per page load and they will penalise your search rankings if you are much higher than that. Avoid at all costs! A good way to speed up your site quickly is to reduce the size of your images. Ensure your website images are jpegs, saved for web and optimised. 
  4. Improve website design/experience. Humans are hardwired to take the path of least resistance. If your site isn’t easy to navigate with clear calls to action to move them onto the next nugget of info, your customers will be gone in no time. Make it beautifully compelling and make it simple to use. Remove clutter and unnecessary steps, your audience will thank you for it with their fingers (WOW…didn’t mean that to sound quite so creepy. I meant by clicking more of your site!).


3. Average Session Duration

Where to find it:
Audience > Overview

What does Average Session Duration mean?
This might be my favourite piece of info that Google analytics gives (yes I’m aware of what a geek that makes me sounds like!). Average Session Duration means an average of time spent on your site for all your visitors. The longer they spend on your site, combined with the more pages they look at, the more engaged they are with your content which can only be a good thing. ….i.e more conversions! 

What does ‘good’ look like?
Again, it depends on the sector and content but as a guide, something like 2-3 minutes per session is considered as good, with 2 or more pages per session being viewed. This is classed as the industry standard. Longer durations generally mean you’re saying the right things…..although if people are staying a long time and not converting it could mean you need to look at your call to action (CTA) and make it clearer what action you would like visitors to take.

What causes a poor Average Session Duration?
Same as Bounce rate issues really. If your session durations are low, you’re either speaking to the wrong people, you’re not saying the right stuff in the right way to them or they are struggling with the experience given by your website.

How to improve this rate?
This can be a similar solution to improving your bounce rate (see above). However, creating great content, such as blogs and videos, which people want to engage with can help. So too can things like informative and helpful product or service descriptions or a well thought through customer journey.  


4. Acquisition

Where to find it:
Acquisition > Overview

What does Acquisition mean?
This area shows where your traffic is coming from i.e from which channel did they arrive at your site. Be that: 

Organic Search – They found you via a google search

Direct – Some typed in your URL and arrived straight at your site.

Referral – They clicked a link on another site to arrive at yours.

Social – They clicked a link to your site from a social media ad or post

Paid Search – Traffic which is driven by any google ads you’ve paid for.

There are more but I won’t cover them all.

What makes this invaluable is it shows you, out of all of the activity you are doing, what channels are performing well and what aren’t. I.e if you’ve just posted a rad article on LinkedIn and you suddenly see an uplift of traffic from there, then you know you’re talking to the right people with the right topic. You then can invest more time in what’s working well and less time in the poorly performing channels.

What does ‘good’ look like?
There isn’t a ‘good’ benchmark here. It all depends on how much effort/activity you are investing in each route and how big the pool you are fishing from is. For example, we can see how many searches there are each month for ‘Pet Shops’ in a specific area with a radius of X miles. This then gives us an idea of how many people are searching for a business like yours (a Pet Shop in this case) and therefore we’ll be able to roughly predict how many clicks you potentially might receive via paid advertising or improved SEO. Lots of variables in here but you can begin to build a plan based on facts and figures as to which route/channel might be best to invest in.

What causes poor Acquisition?
This could be all manner of things. It could be that your social activity isn’t engaging enough with the right message to get people interested enough to click through. Or it could be what you’re selling isn’t something that is regularly searched for. Or if it is something that is searched for, it could be that you are too far down the search rankings to be in contention. 

How to improve this rate? 

  1. Improve your SEO. Showing up on the first page of Google search results is almost certainly going to drive more traffic. I will say the importance of SEO varies depending on how sought after your product/service is through a generic google search. Some things have very low search figures so the need to appear at the top of the list is less important.
  2. Improve your social activity. Either do more of it or improve the quality/look/content of anything you post to get more clicks through to your website.
  3. Paid advertising. Depending on where your audience hangs out, this can be a very effective way of driving traffic. If you have a well-targeted message hitting the right audience, this can also be quite cost-effective too. You only want people interested in what you’re selling to click through. You don’t want any Tom, Dick or Harry, as being ‘Pay Per Click’ advertising, you’ll blast through your budget in no time if everyone is clicking it. Not all traffic is quality traffic!


5. Behaviour flow

Where to find it:
Behaviour > Behaviour Flow

What does Behaviour Flow mean?
This is a superb bit of information for you. This page details how your audience is navigating through your site. It shows where they start and where then go from there. Also quite importantly, it shows where you are losing your audience as it highlights dropout figures and where this is happening. 

What does ‘good’ look like?
All businesses should have a sales funnel. Very few new visitors to your site will click your ‘contact’ or ‘buy now’ button straight away. You have to woo your customers along your sales funnel, giving them confidence every step of the way that you are the business right for them. If done correctly your website will fill your customers with confidence over potentially multiple pages (but as few as needed) moving them towards your website goal…be that entering their email address, phoning you or purchasing something. A good Behaviour Flow will show your sales funnel in action, but also highlight any chinks in its process as they drop out.

What causes poor Behaviour Flow?
Again, this is a pretty broad question with many possibilities. However, it could be the content on your website isn’t very engaging. Or poorly designed so it’s hard for them to navigate through. Or even something as simple as too many fields on a form that is scaring them off.

How to improve this rate?
Assuming your traffic levels are good and you’re attracting the right audience, the next step is to look at the pages that have a big drop off rate. Then:

  1. Ensure those pages well designed and easy to navigate
  2. Make those pages look enticing and contain engaging content. Add pictures, videos, infographics etc. to make them look appealing. 
  3. Be clear where you want them to go after they have finished on that page. Is there a clear call to action at the end of it?
  4. Simplify forms. Have as few fields as possible when capturing information, but obviously as much as is needed for you to use.
  5. Try A/B testing. This is the process of having the same page twice but with very slight differences. Maybe one has a different headline. Your website then serves these pages up to different visitors giving. This then gives you stats as to which headline people are finding more compelling as the click-throughs are higher on that page. A/B testing is a brilliant way to constantly hone your marketing to its super effective.


Hopefully now you can see the benefits of the insight this free tools brings with it. Have you installed it yet? Seriously….get on it!
If you need further help understanding your google analytics data or if you need some support improving them, please do give us a shout.

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