Using Google Analytics is a brilliant way to find out what content your website visitors love, what they don’t, how they find you and why they leave.

But it can be a daunting platform to us, especially since those pesky Googlers like to change the dashboard and User Interface (UI) every few months.

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Big companies will hire people whose sole responsibility is to analyse their data and produce reports and recommendations – but for small businesses that really isn’t practical.

But fear not, with a simple understanding of some of the key metrics in Google Analytics, you can use the information to improve your online marketing!

So which metrics should you take notice of if you’re a small business?

1) Users
2) Acquisition
3) Bounce Rate

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These are the unique visitors who visit your website in the given date range. Ideally, this number will grow steadily through consistent sharing of content, targeting keywords, and advertising.

Publicity and events can help to create spikes in traffic, especially if you are featured on popular websites with the same target audience as your own.

On the Google Analytics dashboard, you can see how many of your visitors are new, and how many have visited you before. If people aren’t returning, you can use the information in the ‘Behaviours’ tab to see where they leave the website, and optimise those pages.


Sessions refers to the total visits to the website, including the return visits of users who have visited your website more than once.

acquisition Acquisition

How did visitors find your website? Through a search engine like Google or Bing, via a link on Social Media, through a paid advert (PPC)?

Knowing how visitors arrive at your website will help to inform you what marketing efforts to focus on.
If social media is your biggest source of traffic, focus your efforts on building your social network.

If most people are finding you on a search engine, keep creating online content to improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and SERP results (Search Engine Results Page).

If your website is relatively new, and your sector is full of competitors, you may want to look at investing in paid advertising (through Google, Bing or Social Media) as a quick way to grow awareness and website traffic.

UTM Tracking

You can find out exactly whih emails, links, documents etc. are sending people to your website with UTM tracking. It works by giving each link a uniue identity.
For example, if we create an infographic for this post (which we did;-)), and posted it on Facebook, we would create a specific link like this…

You can use Google’s URL builder so you don’t have to type the link information yourself

bounce rate Bounce Rate

How quickly do visitors leave your website once they arrive? Bounce rate is the percent of visitors who leave the website without clicking on any other pages, or without taking any action.

Average bounce rates vary by industry, with the retail sector enjoying a low bounce rate of 20-40%, and simple landing pages that only have one piece of information or cal to action reaching up to 90% bounce rates.

You should be aiming for a bounce rate of less than 50% as average across you website. Anything higher than that and your website isn’t engaging the visitors enough to stay.

Try changing the layout and information on the page. Is there a clear call to action? Do you use a contact form or have clickable contact details?

You can split test landing pages to see what content your website visitors like the best.

Compare the bounce rate on different pages of your website. If one has a much lower bounce rate than others, what’s different? Is it a particular service or product? Are there more pictures than text? Use what works and replicate that on other landing pages.

How people are reaching the pages with high bounce rates is also important. Is the content irrelevant to the webpage? Are you targeting keywords that have little relevance to your business?
Try changing the initial content, or updating the landing page so that both pieces of content are consistent.

Your next step is…Goals

Setting goals up on your analytics is a great way to measure the conversion rates on your website. They’re a little more advanced, but Google provide some templates to help you get started.

If you sell anything online, Goals are really important to track the sales journey, as you can then improve your processes to increase your sales rates. Adding goals to your contact forms can also help to measure your conversion rate of visitors into leads.

Need some help with Google Analytics? We offer a 2 hour Google Analytics workshop to get you started with the platform, or help you understand the data better.

Get in touch now.