Website Metrics to Watch in GA4
In today’s digital age, data-driven decision-making is a crucial aspect of managing communications and marketing. One powerful analytics tool that can aid marketers in understanding online presence and website performance is Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
According to Finalsite, GA4 differs from Universal Analytics because it’s designed to be more scalable and more focused on privacy while tracking online behavior across multiple devices. As we discussed in a previous post, the shift from sessions to an event-based data model in GA4 means users need to pay attention. You will lose access to historical reports and data along with everything else you had in the earlier version of Google Analytics by the end of this calendar year. Be sure to save your old data now.
In this article, we will explore the most essential GA4 metrics. Smart school marketers can gain valuable insights from GA4 and make informed decisions to optimize digital strategies.
User Engagement Data
User engagement is a key indicator of how well a website and digital content resonate with an audience. For a session or user to be considered engaged, a visitor has to do one or more of the following:
- Engage actively on your website or mobile app for more than 10 seconds.
- Have two or more screen or page views.
- Fire a conversion event.
Some important engagement metrics to monitor:
- Average Engagement Time: This metric measures the average time users spend on your website. It indicates how engaging your content is and whether visitors are finding what they need.
- Pageviews: Keeping track of pageviews helps you understand which pages on your website are most popular among users. Schools can use this data to optimize content and prioritize important information.
- Engagement Rate: Engagement rate is the exact opposite of bounce rate and is expressed as a percentage. This is calculated by the number of sessions divided by the engaged sessions. Engagement rate is arguably more helpful than bounce rate. It provides valuable information about how often visitors stay on and interact with your website or mobile app rather than just showing how often they leave.
- Session Duration: This metric measures the average time users spend on your website during a single visit. Longer session durations generally indicate more engaged and interested visitors.
User Acquisition Metrics
Acquisition metrics reveal how users find and arrive at your school’s website. Understanding these metrics can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and outreach strategies. Some important acquisition metrics include:
- Traffic Source: GA4 categorizes traffic sources into channels such as organic search, direct, referral, social, and paid search. By analyzing these sources, schools can identify which marketing channels are driving the most traffic.
- Landing Pages: This metric displays the first page users visit on your website. It can help you assess the effectiveness of specific landing pages and optimize them to increase conversions.
Conversions represent the completion of a specific action that aligns with your marketing objectives. Tracking conversion metrics can provide insights into the effectiveness of your digital campaigns. Working with a digital strategist can help identify the correct conversions and events to track. Important conversion metrics include:
- Conversion Events: Unlike in the previous version of Google Analytics, GA4 allows you to define multiple conversion events and track them individually. This flexibility enables you to track specific actions users take on your website, such as filling out a form, downloading a document, clicking a phone number or email address, or clicking to open driving directions.
- Event Tracking: Events are user interactions with content that can be tracked separately from pageviews. For instance, monitoring how many users download a brochure can help assess the effectiveness of marketing collateral.
- Funnel Visualization: GA4’s funnel visualization feature helps you visualize the conversion journey of your users. It allows you to identify bottlenecks in your conversion process and optimize your funnels to increase conversion rates.
Understanding your website’s audience is essential for tailoring your content and marketing strategies to meet their needs. GA4 offers valuable audience insights, including:
- Demographics: Get an overview of your audience’s age, gender, location, and interests. This data can help you create targeted content and outreach campaigns.
- New vs. Returning Users: Differentiating between new and returning users provides insights into how well your school is retaining its audience.
For the advanced Analytics user, you have the option to leverage “Enhanced Measurement,” which goes beyond the standard metrics. Now, you can automatically collect additional data for each data stream. Enhanced Measurement offers a seamless way to track specific user interactions without setting up manual event tracking. So, here are some Enhanced Measurement metrics schools may want to consider:
- Scroll Tracking: By enabling Enhanced Measurement’s scroll tracking, schools can automatically monitor how users engage with their content. GA4 will track when a user scrolls at least 90% of a page, providing valuable insights into which pages or sections are capturing users’ attention and which may need improvement.
- Outbound Clicks: Track outbound clicks, which are clicks made by users on your website that lead to other external websites. Monitoring outbound clicks can help gauge the relevance and effectiveness of external links and partnerships.
- Site Search: With Enhanced Measurement’s site search tracking, schools can automatically collect data on the keywords entered into their website’s search function. This information can be invaluable for understanding what users are searching for, helping improve the website’s navigation and content relevance.
- Video Engagement and File Downloads: Enhanced Measurement also offers automatic tracking of user interactions with videos and file downloads on your website. This metric provides insights into which videos or downloadable resources are popular among users, aiding in content optimization and decisions on where to focus your time.
Enabling or disabling these events within Enhanced Measurement is flexible, allowing schools to focus on the specific actions that align with their reporting and analysis objectives.
As technology continues to reshape the landscape of competition, schools must leverage the power of data analytics to optimize their digital presence. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) offers a wide range of metrics that can provide valuable insights into user engagement, acquisition, conversions, and audience behavior. But, don’t get lost in the sea of data; instead, choose the metrics that align with your objectives and track them consistently to unlock the full potential of GA4. By utilizing these metrics effectively, organizations can make data-driven decisions to enhance their digital strategies, improve website performance, and ultimately provide a better online experience for their customers and community.
Next up: The LifeCycle of Your Website
Published on: September 6, 2023