Metrics are quantitative measures calculated based on various factors from a user visiting your website to exiting the website. Metrics are calculated in two ways.
The first way is as overview totals where a summary statistics of the entire website is displayed. These include metrics like total page views and bounce rates.
The second way to calculate metrics is in association with one or more dimensions. You need to understand that not all dimensions can be used with all metrics. The right combinations can give you the correct measures and results.
Dimensions are categories or attributes which can be used to define metrics like location, language, devices, etc. These can be primary and secondary. Primary dimensions are provided by GA while secondary dimensions or custom dimensions can be added by the user.
Your Google Analytics dashboard has four main tabs or sections to generate reports based on various attributes, metrics, and dimensions.
Audience – This defines who your users are. This includes information on demographics, devices, and locations. Users can be divided into different segments and you can find out how your marketing efforts impact them.
Acquisition – This shows how users find you online. This includes channels they use such as organic traffic, social media, Ads and emails, etc. This helps to find out which channels your users use to find you.
Behaviour– This shows the user activity on your website, how they interact with the web pages and how long they stay. This is used to show user experience and engagement on-page.
Conversions – A user converts when they take specific actions you want them to take on the website, like signing up for a quote, creating an account, adding a product to a cart, etc. These can be tracked using conversion metrics.
Here are some of the most important Google Analytics metrics that can show the results of your marketing efforts, measure your growth, show areas of improvement, and help you optimize your digital marketing strategy.
Google Analytics doesn’t give a complete picture of user behaviour on the website. There are shortcomings when it comes to calculating metrics like average session duration because Google Analytics doesn’t take into account the time spent on the last page unless the user interacts with it. This is because Google Analytics calculates the time spent on a page as the difference between the time a user visits a page and moves on to the next page. There are also cases of unaccounted sampling errors. When there is a large amount of data to be processed, GA takes samples of data for analysis. The error margin is accounted only for some metrics.
Some browsers have Ad Blockers which can block the Google Analytics tracking code.
Google Analytics cannot also account for and calculate offline conversions. To overcome all these shortcomings you can integrate trustworthy third-party tools that can source data and give a clear picture. You can use HeatMaps, session recordings, and Scrollmaps to find out what users do exactly on your website.
Google Analytics is one of the most popular and reliable analytics services. It offers a wealth of information using hundreds of metrics and dimensions from how users are finding you online to how they behave on your website. You cannot track all the metrics but understanding which metrics are the most important can help you focus on what is necessary. But, Google Analytics can’t always provide a complete picture as it cannot explain why users did what they did, especially when it comes to bounces or when users leave the webpage without doing anything. You need to use additional services like heatmaps or on-page pop-up questions to gain more insights into user behaviour. Google is always constantly improving its analytics services, both GA and GA 360 which might overcome these limitations in the future.