13 Google Analytics Metrics to Monitor & Why | There are dozens of reports to run inside Google Analytics. See which Google Analytics metrics you actually need.

It’s no secret that the success of your business is directly tied to the success of your website. But how do you know if your website is working for you? Google Analytics is one of our favorite ways to check in on websites. And the best part? It’s free and, when used well, you can use it to grow your site’s reach

Of course, if you’ve ever looked at Google Analytics, you probably know that it’s overwhelming. Learning how to read a tool like Google Analytics can take time — but it’s worth it if you want to improve user engagement and boost leads and revenue. We want to help you cut down on the Google Analytics learning curve, though, so we’re going to walk you through how the GA dashboard is organized and what each section does. 

If you haven’t set up Google Analytics on your site yet, Google has a great tutorial to help you do that!

13 Google Analytics Metrics You Should Be Monitoring and Why

1 | Reports: Real-Time 

Google Analytics Real Time

The different reports that are filed under the “Real Time” tab on the left side of your Google Analytics dashboard are used to monitor activity that is happening right now. Real-time reports are largely used to track traffic metrics, which can also be analyzed later to show the success of  promotional campaigns and/or posted ads. 

Real-Time: Locations 

By running a Real-Time Locations report, you will be able to monitor the number of active users on your site seconds after the activity occurs. You can also see the geographic locations of all users that were active within the last 30 minutes! By clicking anywhere that shows activity on the map provided in the report, you can see how many pages were viewed from each city in that country. 

Google Analytics Real Time Location

When you are able to understand where in the world your site visitors are from, you can begin to better market to certain groups of people depending on their location. You can even tap into markets that you didn’t know existed within the scope of your business.

Real-Time: Traffic Sources

When you run a Real-Time Traffic Sources report, it shows you not only the traffic source but also the “medium” of users currently on your site. Mediums are how the user got to your site, such as by referral, social media, or organic search. The report itself has two different dimensions: Active Users and Pageviews. 

Google Analytics Real Time Traffic Sources

Active Users include any user that has interacted with the site in the past 5 minutes. Pageviews indicate the medium and source statistics for the pageviews that have occurred in the past 30 minutes.

Traffic Sources also gives you valuable insight into which mediums are working well. You can measure your social media success by tracking which users are coming from that medium, for example. And if you’re running a sale, you can see in real-time where those buyers are coming from so you can do more promotions on that platform.

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Real-Time: Conversions

The most important thing that the Real-Time Conversions report shows is whether or not people are actually using your site the way you want them to be using it – buying or booking! The report does this by showing recent conversions from destination and event goals (you have to set these up). As all of this is being measured while it’s happening, you will be able to monitor and track your marketing live, which is great for product launches. 

Google Analytics Real Time Conversion

By monitoring the data in this report, you will be able to find patterns of when users are most likely to convert, which you can use to base future marketing campaigns on. It will also tell you whether or not you are completing goals and which marketing efforts are worth your time and money and which are not. 

2 | Reports: Audience 

Next up on the left-hand side of your Google Analytics dashboard, you will find “Audience” Reports.

Google Analytic Target Audience

The common goal of Audience reports is to help you to understand the perception of your users in relation to your marketing. By analyzing things like demographics, interests, and technology, you can better see who you’re talking to and who wants your products, services, or offers.

Audience: Demographics, Interests, Geo

Running a Demographics report gives you a full understanding of the age and gender makeup of your audience. The dimensions that are included in a Demographics report are: age, gender, affinity categories (lifestyle), in-market segments (purchase interests), and other categories (additional metric breakdowns). 

Google Analytics Real Time Audience Demographics

Information like gender, interests, and age all help you target your messaging more. All of this data helps to expand your advertising into related demographics which make up your users. You won’t want to miss out on high-conversion users because you are marketing in English/Spanish and they only speak French, for example!  

Knowing demographics can also help with ads targeting, as well as future offers and promotions.

Audience: Technology/Mobile

By running Technology and Mobile reports you will receive a better understanding of the different types of technologies users are employing to reach your content. Technology reports will tell you whether or not users are on a desktop, laptop, or mobile browser/app. Mobile reports will tell you which type of mobile device is being used to reach your site (or even which device model, like an iPhone 6 versus an iPhone 11 based on iOS data).

Google Analytics Audience Browser
Google Analytics Audience Mobiles

This information gives you a chance to fine-tune current versions of your site, making sure that it is fully functional in every type of browser or situation. You can also gauge how you want to plan upcoming implementations, like developing an app if you don’t already have one if you notice that many of your users are reaching your site from a cell phone. 

Related post: How to Reach Your Business Goals With Blogging

3 | Reports: Acquisition 

No website is perfect — but it can be really frustrating to pour so much time, energy, and money into creating something only to feel like you’re not getting any results. 

Luckily, Google Analytics Acquisition Reports will let you monitor where your website users are coming from and how they are behaving on your site. Having this information means that you can start reallocating your resources to boost what you know works.

Google Analytic Acquisition

Acquisition: All Traffic 

All Traffic Reports include four subreports: Channels, Treemaps, Source/Medium, and Referrals. These reports can help you identify the different sources that bring the most traffic to your site as well as analyze users’ behaviors while on your site. 

For example, the Source/Medium subreport analyzes the following components: acquisition, behavior, and conversion. When broken down these components show how users behave on your website. 

Google Analytics Acquisition

Referrals do something a little different and allow you to get a better and more detailed insight into what websites referred the most user traffic to your site and, again, how users behave on your site once they reach it. All the subreports share the same metrics, but the particulars of each traffic source and pattern can mean different outcomes moving forward. 

This could help you decide to dedicate more resources to link-building if your referrals show promise. Or, if your Source/Medium report shows that you are receiving the most traffic to conversion rates from Instagram, you can spend more time targeting users via that platform. 

Acquisition: Social 

Running a Social report will give you an in-depth understanding of how your social traffic is performing across platforms and the overall benefit it is providing your website by how much traffic it is bringing in. 

Google Analytics Acquisition

Like with All Traffic reports, Social reports have several subreports that further break down things like your network referrals, landing pages, plugins, and user flow. These metrics provide even more specific insight into how traffic from your socials is being used to improve your site’s engagement and overall revenue. 

The Social report (and its subreports) creates data that allows you to see which pages your users visit before exiting your site. So, if you find that they are leaving right after visiting your landing page, you can improve your landing page copy to counteract that. Or if they leave in the middle of the checkout process, you could make that process smoother. 

4| Reports: Behavior 

Running Behavior reports monitors what pages users are visiting, what actions they’re taking while visiting, what they’re finding most interesting, and what landing/exit pages they are entering/leaving the site from. 

Google Analytics Behavior

Behavior: Overview 

The Overview report under the Behavior tab provides a graph that shows the overall traffic that your website receives plus a breakdown of those metrics. Here is where you will be able to see the total number of page views, the number of individual people who have viewed specific pages, the average amount of time spent on a page, the bounce rate (percentage of single-page visits), and exit percentages. 

Behavior: Site Content

This subreport monitors how visitors are engaging with the different pages on your site, including particular metrics on content drill down, landing pages, and exit pages. Remember, your website should act like a web: every page connects back to another by links and options. 

Behavior: Site Search

Site Search reports will give you important metrics regarding keyword data. The Site Search Overview will display the metrics for visitors who use the search bar to reach your site and pages where users initiated the search. With the Usage subreport, you can monitor those who do use the search bar vs those who do not, which will help you decide its degree of usefulness. 

Related post: How to Update Your Website Without Getting Stuck

5 | Reports: Conversions

Tracking conversions is the bread and butter of your website and your business. So you’ll want to pay close attention to monitoring the metrics in these reports. Like Behavior, Conversions are a part of most of the report and subreport types on your GA dashboard. 

Google Analytic Conversion

The conversions reports in this section are used to accurately track the journey a user takes on your site in order to convert. This includes Goals, Ecommerce, and Multi-Channel Funnels. Just remember: You have to set these! 

Conversions: Goals

This report is used to track the individual goals based on conversion rates related to the goal you’ve set. By knowing how the goal is performing, you can either strengthen it or modify it. For example, if you set a goal to have 1,000 visits to your homepage, but you only have 800, you know you need to do more work to get people to your site. 

Conversions: E-commerce

The E-commerce report will display the metrics on shopping and checkout behavior of users, your product performance and sales, and successful/unsuccessful marketing promotions that were used. All of this data helps to assist and ensure future conversions. Of course, you have  to have a proper e-commerce setup, meaning you’ll need to set it up with your shop tool, like Shopify, and you will also need to enable e-commerce.

Conversions: Multi-Channel Funnels

The Multi-Channel Funnels report will let you see the path of a goal conversion on your site. It does this by tracking visitors who have been to the website more than once and creating a sequence of their interactions before they finally convert. It also tracks where the visitor first discovered the website. This can help you understand how your site’s channels are attracting people into your funnels and how the funnel performs!

Related post: Tripwire Funnels: What They Are & How to Use Them

Final Thoughts 

There are over a dozen different reports and subreports that you can run on Google Analytics to monitor your site’s success. All you need to do is set up this free tool within your website and let the metrics work themselves out. 

These metrics are so important and USEFUL for small businesses. They will tell you exactly how to tailor your website, emails, and social media in order to boost conversions in a way that is foolproof and data-driven. 

For even more information on monitoring Google Analytics reports to their fullest potential, consider joining our Beautiful Biz Lounge membership

This month, our member marketing guide is all about Google Analytics: How to understand your site visitors, how to get MORE people on your site, and how to use all that data to turn warm audiences into paying customers!