Killer Analytics: Focusing on Metrics
This is the third part of a series about website analytics. Previous entries included how to use analytics to improve website performance and focus on your goals and audiences.
Once the audience and goals for your site are identified, it is time to collect and clean your data. The goals help provide a framework for what metrics to use. Google analytics groups metrics by topic to locate available metrics. The groupings include:
Consider which metrics can be combined to show a relationship. For instance, using a chart reflecting the number of sessions, new sessions, and pages per session provides information about how engaged your audience is with your website.
With over 200 metrics to choose from in Google Analytics this task can feel daunting. Remember to tie your metrics to the goals of the web page/site. Rather than searching the internet for the top 10 metrics, which may not match the identified goals.
Fortunately, the web community has plenty of resources available:
- User Experience: The Nielsen Norman Group’s Translating UX Goals into Analytics Measurement Plans.
- Consider whether you will need to add Google Tag Manager (GTM) metrics to measure goals. While GTM can be intimidating, use of it greatly expands your tracking capabilities. The resources provided by these GTM experts are really helpful:
- Bounteous - Easy to read and understand if you are not a developer. Includes a large number of prewritten tags, called “recipes,” for the frequently used tags.
- Analytics Mania - Includes helpful YouTube videos.
- Simo Ahava - Contains more technical information predominantly for developers.
- Higher education specific resources:
Once you collect the metrics, make sure the data is reporting correctly. Are your percentages reporting as percentages or are they still in decimal format? How are missing metrics being handled? Is duplicate data misrepresenting any trends? Look for outliers. Are they reporting incorrectly or are they worth watching for trends?
The most important thing to do is to start working with your Google Analytics data. See what you can find, start tracking various metrics, connect with others. If you are interested in forming a group to share website analytics questions and ideas with, let us know.
Watch for the next Killer Analytics blog about using your analytics to drive decisions.