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The Google Analytics Homepage is Useless

The Google Analytics homepage is useless. There, we said it.

Many marketers are quick to assume that the metrics you see on the homepage are “what you see is what you get.” When in fact, Google Analytics is a tool, and the insights you get out are only as good as what you put in. Let’s dive into what you should be doing in Google Analytics that is more useful than the data on its homepage. Hint: Consider your business goals first.


Before anything else, you need to define your business objectives and tell Google Analytics to keep track of what’s important to your business (KPI’s). Depending on your business model, important KPI’s may be leads captured, customers acquired, time on site, and many others. You relay this information to Google Analytics by setting up “Goals”. KISSmetrics breaks down how to set up Google Analytics Goals for your website & explains each type in detail—URL tracking goals, visit duration goals, pages/visit goals, or event goals.

If you haven’t spent the time to sit down and understand the most valuable KPI’s to your business, it’s worth the time. If you are having trouble, feel free to shoot us a note, and we can shed light on some of the KPI’s that would be most relevant to you based on our experiences.

The ABO Framework

After you have defined your business goals, Avinash Kaushik recommends looking at critical metrics/KPI’s using the Acquisition-Behavior-Outcome Framework. Using this framework will show you the end-to-end journey of your visitors. Although some KPI’s vary per company, here’s a breakdown of metrics that every company should measure, no matter what.

Acquisition. Acquisition metrics tell you where a visitor comes from (organic, paid search, display ads, etc.) & the traffic’s value. Avinash recommends looking at these 3 important acquisition KPI’s:

  1. Click-through-Rate – CTR shows you how your advertising is performing (how many people are clicking through to your page).  A higher CTR means your ad’s intent aligns with that of the visitor.
  2. Cost-per-Acquisition – How much is it costing you to convert a visitor (i.e. purchase a product, download a demo, etc.)? It’s an important metric that shows your campaign’s bottom-line performance.
  3. Percent of New Visits – Are you trying to attract new visitors with your paid advertising (besides site retargeting)? Well, then this metric is obviously important.

Behavior. Typically speaking, once a visitor comes to your site, they do 1 of 3 things: read the entry page, read additional pages, or leave. Behavior metrics focus on the actions visitors take when they get to your site and how good you are at keeping them engaged. Look at these 3 KPI’s:

  1. Bounce Rate – Represents the single-page visits to your site. It tells you how many people are leaving your website without visiting any additional pages. If you have a high bounce rate, take a second look at the page’s content. Or what I like to call, the “It’s not you, it’s me” approach.
  2. Page Depth– How are users consuming the content on your site? Truth is, a very small number of visitors will see more than 1-2 pages. Noting page depth will help identify necessary website improvements regarding user experience, information architecture and content relevancy.
  3. Loyalty (Count of Visits) – How good are you at getting people to return to your site? In the long run, this can make a significant difference. Set up Google Analytics to tell you which sources and content are driving loyal traffic.

Outcome. Outcome metrics show you what visitors do before leaving your site—submitting their email address, downloading a whitepaper, buying a product, buying multiple products, etc. It’s important not to obsess over these metrics, however, without putting them in context with acquisition & behavior metrics.

  1. Conversion Rate – Tells you the percentage of visitors that convert. Look at both macro (revenue) and micro conversions (downloads, email signups, etc.). Many people fail to consider micro conversions, even though they often provide far greater economic value than macro.
  2. Per Visit Goal Value – Shows you the economic value each visitor contributes to your Goals. Not every visitor will convert, but every visitor will ideally contribute some value. This metric will help you identify which goals are providing the most economic value, and hence, what you should be focusing on (SEO vs. Social, etc.).
  3. Days to Conversion – Don’t fret if visitors aren’t converting immediately. This metric identifies the average time it takes your customer to convert. Let this influence your campaign’s messaging, calls-to-action, and landing page content.  Perhaps “Buy Now” is a little too forward for some people.

If you’re having trouble developing meaningful KPI’s, collecting the data to track those KPI’s, or developing more complex marketing analytics using marketing automation systems or CRM data, ask about our audits at


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