This post is a continuation from my blog post, “Google Analytics Basics: The Visitors Report” and intended to provide further insight into the basics of your Google Analytics reports. In addition to reviewing our clients’ Visitors Report, we also can extract valuable data from the content report. Here is a break down of the most common sub-reports we look at under this category.
What it Means: The Top Content report breaks down the metrics for the most-viewed pages on your site. For each of the top pages, it shows pageviews, unique pageviews, average time on page, bounce rate, % exit and $ index. The Content Performance at the top of the report provides overall site-wide information for each of these metrics, as a frame of reference for this data. Although most of these metrics seem self-explanatory, let’s dive into each one anyway – you may learn something you didn’t know before.
Pageviews: Any view of any page on your site is being tracked by the Analytics tracking code. This metric reports on the total number of times a page is viewed during a particular time period, regardless of who the visitor is. Every time a visitor visits a particular page on the site, it is tracked as a separate pageview, even during the same session on the site.
Unique Pageviews: Counts one visit per visitor per session to a particular page on the site. In other words, if Jonny visited your site yesterday and looked at the About Us page three times during that session, and comes back today and looks at the About Us page twice during today’s session, that counts as two unique pageviews (one from yesterday’s session, and one from today’s session).
Average Time on Page: This metric IS pretty self-explanatory. This is essentially telling you, on average, how much time prospects spend on this page per visit.
Bounce Rate: This metric measures the percentage of visits in which a visitor left your site entirely from a landing page. The key word here is “landing page.” That means the visitor came from an outside source (could be a natural search result, a referring site, a PPC ad, a banner ad), directly to this page, and immediately left your site and went somewhere else.
% Exit: The percentage of exit measures the rate of visitors that navigate away from a page on the site by exiting the site altogether vs. navigating to another page on the site. These visitors may have come to this page from another page within your site, or from an outside source… this is what distinguishes it from Bounce Rate.
$ Index: Dollar Index is a way of attributing a dollar value to a particular page on your site, by linking the number of unique views of the page to the value of a subsequent goal completion or purchase. It calculates the average value for a page that user(s) visited before landing on a goal page or completing an ecommerce transaction (or both). To learn how dollar index is calculated, see this Google Help article.
What it Tells You: Pageviews and Unique Pageviews give you an understanding of what pages on your site are receiving the most traffic. These can be areas of the site where you may want to spend some time optimizing, particularly if the other metrics on the page are not where you would like them to be.
If the page you are looking at in GA is a landing page, then the bounce rate can provide you with an indicator on how well the page is performing at making a first impression on your visitors, and engaging them in your content. If there is a high bounce rate, then there could be a poor scent from the traffic source to the content featured on the page. Similarly the % Exit is telling you what percentage of prospects are leaving the site from that page. So if it’s high, especially in conjunction with a high Bounce Rate, it’s a pretty good indicator that there are some problems with the content featured on the page.
The dollar index is intended to help you determine which pages on your site contribute most to site revenue. Generally speaking, you are aiming for higher numbers here, meaning that viewing a particular page is linked to successful revenue generation. Naturally, we expect pages that are further along the conversion process (ie, closer to goal completion and purchase) to have higher dollar indices. If you are seeing a page on the site, pretty far down into your persuasive funnel with a low $ index, this could be an indication that this page needs some attention. But as you work toward making your website better, especially if you’re engaged in a program of continuous optimization like our OnTarget subscriptions, you will naturally turn your attention to earlier and earlier steps of the buying process. Then the goal is to start making pages further away from your goal purchase page have higher and higher values. Low numbers are an indicator that you may have some problems lurking in the steps between this page and your goal or a purchase. This is an especially big concern when you see a low dollar index for highly trafficked pages. Make sure that there are clear calls to actions and ways for prospects to move forward on high trafficked pages of your site.
Top Landing Pages
What it Means: The Top Landing Pages Report provides you with a list of all your landing pages, default sorted to show you pages by the highest number of entrances. This report will provide you with Entrance, Bounces, and Bounce Rate-determined by Entrances/Bounces metrics.
What it Tells You: This report can provide you with an overview of how well your landing pages are performing. If you are investing in any marketing efforts, no doubt you already are familiar with this report. You can drill down into a specific landing page and get more in-depth information on the performance of your marketing efforts/landing pages is to click on entrance sources. If you tag your marketing efforts properly, you will be able to see performance data for each of your marketing efforts.
Top Exit Pages
What it Means: Top Exit Pages simply provides you with a report of pages on your site that have the highest number of exits.
What it Tells You: This report could signal a content issue on a critical page in a persuasive funnel if you see a high number of exits from the page. That’s an indicator that you may want to revisit the persona at whom the content is aimed, the questions they are likely to have on the page, and the various pieces of the page aimed at addressing those questions for further testing. If you uncover a problem such as that, you will benefit from working backwards through each of those issues (content first, then questions, then the persona itself).