A valuable, free metrics tool, Google Analytics can still be challenging for the average user to sort through the myriad of data and glean useful insights on how effective their web properties and marketing tools are through traffic data.
Acquisition: Tracking the amount of visitors, where they are in the world, what sites they are coming from, if they are new to your site, and how many of them are coming from mobile devices.
Engagement: Do people stay on your site, explore further pages, or leave right away? The data behind these questions explores the quality of your incoming traffic – engagement metrics such as Pages per Visit, Average Time on the Site, and your Bounce Rate give you a sense of where your visitors are spending time on there site and where you might improve to keep them there longer.
Outcome: Are you achieving your goals with your website? Once you have defined specific goal objectives (such as driving online purchases or downloading content) the Goals section of Analytics can help you monitor and adjust one of four different goals as necessary, as explained in the article:
- URL destination: This metric is best if your goal is to get visits to a key page of your site, such as your homepage or a post-purchase message page.
- Time on Site: If you’re looking to measure engagement, this will track visitors spending a defined amount of time on your site.
- Pages per Visit: Also important for engagement, Pages per Visit will keep tabs on a defined number of pages visitors view in a session on your site.
- Events: Released in the most recent version of Google Analytics, Event Goals allow you to track specific actions visitors are taking on a page. This includes anything from downloading a PDF to watching a video.
For more in-depth information on these three metrics and how to navigate Google Analytics to read them, as well as specific tips for online retailers, Google Adwords users, and other available features the tool provides, read the entire Mashable article by Meghan Peters.
Too in-depth for you? Peters also points to a primer on how to get started with Google Analytics of you haven’t mastered the basics yet, and this post from Social Media Examiner instructs how to add your social media sites to your Google Analytics account so you can track your tweets and Likes as well.