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July 25., 2022·6m 20s

Your 101 Guide on Analytics

Breaking down web analytics to make it easier for you to understand what matters and why it matters. Read this guide to learn how metrics can help enhance your business.
Levente Ludvig
Levente LudvigPRO
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At first glance, Web Analytics can look daunting. Even though most metrics are valuable, they can easily overwhelm a newbie. You can quickly get information overload from an analytic overdose. (we call it METRICDOZZED)

With a plethora of tools in the market, it can get quite challenging to distinguish between metrics that matter and those that don't. An analysis that needs only minutes can stretch for hours if you get caught up in the whirlwind of big data.

To save you time and give your eyes a rest, we did the hard work. By sifting through dozens of web analytics software and tools, we narrowed it down to 4 crucial metrics. These matter the most and are the ones you should track.

Let's crunch the numbers and get the ball rolling, only if you're ready.

traffic graph

Overall traffic - the bird's eye view

The number of people who visit your website. You can measure your website's effectiveness in several ways. But sometimes, the easiest way is the best way. So question yourself, what is the most fundamental thing for your site. Yes, the answer is traffic.

Just by looking at your web traffic, you can get a snapshot of your performance. Depending upon the tools you use, it can be presented in the form of mean page views or visitors. Within traffic, you will get to see many numbers. Don't let them fool you. Focus on visitors per month as it is the metric that matters.

The reason for looking at users and not views is that visitors are real people, whereas views are just numbers that can be manipulated. Ps: comparing month-to-month data is much easier. No, we are not saying this to decrease your workload. Instead, monthly information is more valuable than smaller periods as there is less variability. (no spikes due to one-off events)

What qualifies as Adequate Traffic?

Well, we cant anwer that because traffic isn't some magic number or range, you must reach. It depends upon the nature of your business and the number of years in the industry. A high number isn't necessarily an indication of success, so dont lose your sleep over it. Your goal should be to perform better than you did this last month.

Quick tip: The key is not to drive the most traffic but to ensure that it is the right traffic. You should always prefer 'quality over quantity,' which our next metric is all about. So read along…

Bounce rate (Single-page Visits)

The number of folks who leave after visiting a single page on your site (we call them the abandoners). Most of the metrics show what's good for your site, but only a few show what's not working for you. Bounce rate is one of them. It is shown as the percentage of visitors that leave your website right after the first interaction.

Unlike overall traffic, which is an absolute measure, bounce rate is a measure of quality. It drills the overall traffic and identifies whether visitors are genuinely interested in your content or not. But remember, you cannot blame the users, so either your content quality is pushing them away, or you are generating the wrong type of traffic.

As bounce rate relies on user engagement, it can signal when problems exist on your site. For example, it will indicate which pages are popular (have low bounce rates) and, conversely, which pages aren't retaining as much traffic as they should (high bounce rates). By knowing this, you can improve your content and internal linking to drive more qualified leads.

What’s a reasonable bounce rate?

Typically rising metrics indicate success, but for bounce rate, the lower it is, the more relaxed you can be. But there is no hard and fast rule as it varies from industry to industry. Usually, bounce rates range from 25% - 65% across different sectors. This metric will only make sense when compared with the industry bounce rate. You should only be concerned if your rate seems too high for your industry.

Quick tip: Bounce rates are unreliable on their own. So they must be used alongside other metrics like average session duration and conversion rates which we have mentioned below.

Average Session Duration (Longer Sessions = Engagement)

The time users spend on your site. Time is money, right? Well this indicator shows you just how valuable it is. Average Session Duration tells you how long, on average, users spend on all site visits. So it is a very reliable measure for indicating the actual retention value of your content.

When combined with bounce rate and pages per session, Average duration provides a better picture of the user engagement story. It can help you figure out whether your content is sticky enough or not. Longer sessions will indicate more engaged visitors, while sessions that only last a few seconds will give you the red signal.

What should your Average Session Duration be?

According to most analysts, a good average session duration lies between 2 to 3 minutes. Well, this might sound meager to you, but a lot can happen in two minutes. It's enough for users to interact with your website and decide whether it was worth it. Pat yourself on the back if users are willing to sacrifice more than 5 minutes for your content.

Quick tip: As duration is an average-based metric, dont trust this number without further context. Consider it with other metrics such as traffic sources and pages per session to get a better idea of what's happening at large.

Conversion Rate (The Real Deal)

The measure of goal completion Conversion rate is what you do with all the traffic you have accumulated on your site. It measures the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by quantifying desirable site outcomes. These outcomes can be anything from signing up for newsletters to buying a product. The conversion rate tells you how successful you are at persuading your user to take the final leap. If your content is good enough, it will be able to push the readers to carry out profitable tasks for your business. However, if there are issues with your call to action and your engagement is low, your conversion rate will suffer.

What’s a reasonable conversion rate?

Industry-standard suggests a 2% conversion rate as satisfactory. But this benchmark can vary as conversion take different forms for different businesses. Generally, a reasonable conversion rate brings enough achievements (sales or sign-ups) to break even. A high conversion rate will typically give you a much better ROI (Return on Investment)

Quick tip: Driving traffic is typically step one, but converting is the real deal. It would be pretty fruitless to gain many visitors yet fail to make them achieve your goal. So your marketing efforts should make conversion the focal point instead of traffic.

Other metrics

Obviously the world o web analytics doesnt end at these 4 metric. There are other important measures too that you can look to get a better picture of your performance. We are going to briefly describe 2 of themr ,

Traffic source

This measure shows how people find your website. Most people usually come across your site via links on other websites or social networks. These are known as Referrals, and it can really help to know how much traffic is sourced by each link.

Knowing this can helps you understand which marketing channel is working for you. However, some sites like Facebook remove or delete the referrer when driving traffic to your site. But fear not. You can use UTM parameters and track the source of incoming traffic. By adding UTM tags to your referral links, you can see where site users are coming from.

For example, if you have a shared a link on Facebook and want to track its incoming traffic, you have to use a UTM extended URL like the one given below:

Overall knowing this metric can indicate which platforms are helping you the most with brand awareness. It also shows sources of traffic that either need to be worked upon for more referrals or need to be abandoned as they are not just working for you!

User journey

The user journey is another important metric as it lets you plot the path that a user takes to reach their goal. User journeys often consist of the decision points and webs pages that carry the viewer from one step to another and highlight the areas where the majority of the users leave the site.

It is usually in the form of a flow diagram shown below:

The user journey is crucial for understanding how a typical user travels through your website. After mapping the current journey you can see the loopholes and fix them to form an ‘ideal’ user journey. The metric helps you redesign the user experience so that your potential customers can achieve their goals as quickly as possible without any frustrations. This helps improve other metrics like reducing bounce rates and improving conversions.

Some Words of Wisdom (Webdom)

When deciding on which metric to use, we suggest you use all of them. You cannot gauge your site's success through a single measure. Each metric mentioned above presents only one piece of the puzzle. To fully solve the puzzle, you need to join all of them.

We know all of this can be overwhelming, so the key is to start slowly. Understand a single metric first and see if it makes sense. Then use it to track your business. You don’t have to dive all in. What's critical is to figure out which metrics relate to your business goals and then gradually link them together.

We hope that this guide helps you understand web analytics better. Use it well to tweak and update your website. If things still doesnt make sense, we are always here to help you out. Just leave us a message.

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