Google Analytics Glossary

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I thought I would post the Google Analytics glossary that can be found in the back of my free Google Analytics Quick Start Guide. Google’s definitions are extremely important when doing analysis. Plus everyone always get’s confused by the definition of a session. I hope this helps act as a reference. I encourage you to look at the Official Google Documentation for further explanation

Metrics

Average Time on Page – 

A measure of engagement. The total duration spent on a page in seconds divided by the number of people who went on to view another page. Exits are not included.

Average Session Duration – 

A measure of engagement. The total duration of all the sessions in seconds divided by the total number of all sessions including bounces.

Bounces – 

A user that lands on a page has zero interactions with the website, and then leaves the website. Bounces are considered low-quality visits. The goal of a marketer or SEO specialist is often to minimize bounces.

Bounce Rate –

A measure of engagement. Total bounces divided by total sessions. Bounce rates are generally higher than 50%, and it’s common for them to be in the 90% range. It depends on the site and they type of traffic. Organic traffic tends to have lower bounce rates than paid traffic.

Conversion – 

A term with many definitions. Generally, it used to refer to something we want the user to do on the website. Examples: pdf download, visit a thank you page, visit three pages. Conversion varies by website and stakeholder.

Entrances – 

The count of how many users “entered” on a page. It can be thought of as the “first” pageview. If you do a Google Search, and click on a link. That first page you landed on gets 1 entrance. Entrances show which pages tend to drive the most traffic. Adding links to a page with high entrance numbers can help increase the user journey.

Exits – 

The count of how many users “exited” on a page. It can be thought of as the “last” pageview. For example if you were to close this tab. This glossary post page would get 1 exit. Exits are used for determining substandard content. For checkout funnels, the attempt is to minimize exits. If you did work on improving a checkout funnel, monitoring the exits would be a good way to judge the efficacy of the improvements.

Google Analytics Events –

A way to measure how users interact with aspects of your site. Found under the Behavior. Examples: button clicks, scrolling, video views. Events are usually set up using Google Tag Manager. This guide does not go in-depth on events.

Google Analytics Goals – 

Goals are manually configured metrics that represent your website’s objectives. They are often configured to measure a specific conversion. In essence, they label a particular activity of a user and make it easily available. This guide does not go in-depth on goals.

New Users –

A user to the site who does not have an existing tracking cookie. If the user clears their cookies often or uses incognito mode these will all trigger new users. I think of New Users as New Visitors

Pages/Session – 

A measure of engagement that takes total pageviews and divides them by total sessions. Includes bounces. This is the average number of a pages a user looks at when they come onto the site. Generally, the higher this number the better,

Pageviews – 

An instance of a page being loaded. The count of users who have been on that page. It’s just the raw number of times a page was loaded in someone browser. If a person when from page A, to page B, to page A, and to finally page C. Page A would have 2 pageviews. Page B would have 1 pageview. And page C would have 1 pageview. All three pages would have 1 unique pageview.

Sessions – 

The most misunderstood and yet one of the most important concepts. 

  • A session is the period of time a user is active on your site. If a user is inactive for 30 minutes and future activity on the site is counted as a different/new session.  
  • Sessions, as seen as a metric are the count of the number of individual sessions. 
  • I think of sessions as Visits.

Unique Page Views – 

The number of sessions which view the particular page. If a person when from page A, to page B, to page A, and to finally page C. Page A would have 2 pageviews. Page B would have 1 pageview. And page C would have 1 pageview. All three pages would have 1 unique pageview.

Users – 

The first session of a user in a defined date range. I think of Users as Visitors. Another way to think of users is unique sessions. If some one went to a site three times in a week, then that would be 3 sessions, but 1 user.

Dimensions

Channels – 

A simplified way to categorize traffic sources. They are the grouped versions of the source/medium. I recommend using channels if you’ll be presenting the data to a client.

Medium – 

A general category of traffic source. Examples: organic, cpc, referral, display, native. Think of it as the “type” of traffic.

Page – 

A page on the website displaying as the URL. It’s individual URL.

Source – 

The origin of the traffic. If it’s a referral, it’s usually a domain. If the traffic is paid, it’s usually the vendor of the ads: Google, Zemanta, etc…

Acronyms

GA – Google Analytics

GTM – Google Tag Manager

CPC – Cost Per Click – It’s also the default medium for paid search traffic

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