Ranking the Most Important Google Analytics Metrics

Tracking your website and marketing efforts is critical. If you do not have your tracking dialed in and you’re considering investing in digital marketing and advertising, or, even worse, you’re actually running marketing campaigns right now, STOP!

Make sure you check out this article highlighting how you properly configure your website tracking. Without tracking, you cannot confidently know if your investment is generating any return.

Google Analytics is the most well-known and most oft-utilized tool for website tracking, so in this article, we’ll dive into the most important metrics within Google Analytics.

However, Google Analytics isn’t the only tracking software your aesthetic practice needs to utilize. If you run email marketing campaigns, run Facebook/Instagram ads, run Google ads, or you simply want to track your website health (uptime, speed, crawl issues, etc.) then you need additional tracking tools. For now, we’ll stay focused on the most important metrics to track in Google Analytics.

Understanding How to Evaluate the Metrics is Critical

Before we dive into the metrics, we need some perspective on how to evaluate this information. It’s not enough to know that your sessions and conversions are up vs. the same period a year ago. That’s great, on the surface, but it doesn’t quite give you the whole picture. Are your paid ads conversions up? What about mobile paid ads? What was the budget of the paid ad campaign we’re comparing to?

Gathering Data

These are a few things to keep in mind as you explore the data:

  1. What are you comparing to? Once you’ve picked out your date range, are you comparing your data to the previous month or the previous year? Be consistent.
  2. Understand your traffic sources. You may see increases in certain metrics for all traffic, but make sure you dig into the metrics for your unique traffic sources and evaluate the performance of each individually. This is especially important if you’re investing in ads that are run to your website. Prioritize the sources that are generating the most traffic, but don’t overlook the others.
  3. Delineate desktop vs. mobile. Mobile traffic has been on the rise for years and is still growing. Similar to your unique sources of traffic, you need to dig into the metrics highlighting unique device types that are driving traffic and generating leads, so you know if a device type is underperforming and, if it is, gameplan for how you can make effective updates to address this underperformance.
  4. Context is everything. Did you just re-design your old website? Start an ad campaign? Re-open after being shut down? All of these variables play a role in your data so remember to keep everything in perspective.
  5. Metrics can be misleading. I’ll touch on this a little below, and I’ve created an entire article that highlights the most misleading stats to watch out for, but it’s worth emphasizing this fact before we dive in. Some metrics are simply calculated in a way that makes them less important or even misleading. Other metrics are calculated in an accurate, reliable way but without context or more insight can be disingenuous. Bottom line: do not take every metric at face value.

Most Important Metrics

Most Important:

Conversions: If you’re an aesthetic practice, the goal of your website is to generate conversions, and when I say “conversions” I mean prospects who either pick up the phone to call or fill out a web form with the intent of requesting a consultation or booking an appointment. Make sure you know exactly what your conversions are because if you’re tracking page visits or video views or any other “event” as a conversion your analysis is flawed.

You’re not an e-commerce site focusing on sales and you’re not selling an info product with a foot-in-the-door free guide to collect email addresses to market to. Your goal should be crystal clear: generate leads.

Know your top sources of conversions, your top devices for conversions, and your top website pages for conversion. This starts with getting conversion tracking properly configured within Google Analytics.

Very Important:

Conversion Rate: The percentage of your traffic that converts into a lead. You might have a growing number of conversions, satisfying your #1 goal, but if your conversion rate is dropping then you need to dig into why? Is mobile traffic not converting? Is it a landing page issue? Weak call to action?

You might have a “full bucket” of leads now but be proactive about plugging leaks (a wilting conversion rate) before your bucket runs dry.

Sessions/Users/New Users: Without website traffic and you cannot generate leads. Traffic is critical to your growth, but traffic can be misleading. How? Not all traffic is created equal. First, it’s important to understand that sessions are defined as “a period of user activity not interrupted by more than 30 minutes.” Simply put, a single visitor can account for multiple sessions. This can be misleading.

Additionally, know where your traffic is coming from and what percentage is coming from mobile vs. desktop.

*Important Tip: “Direct” traffic does not just mean people who went directly to your website. Check out this article to learn more about what Direct traffic really means.

Top Landing Pages: You cannot see organic keywords that drive visitors to your website anymore. That’s been the case for about 7+ years, unfortunately. However, your landing pages can shed light on which keywords drove the visitor to your page. You’ll need to cross-reference the organic rankings that page has and identify any growth in these rankings with growth in organic traffic.

If you’re dedicating time to blogging as a means to drive organic traffic to your website, then it makes sense to evaluate how many of your blog articles are showing up in your landing page report.

*Important Tip: make sure you segment your landing pages by utilizing the secondary dimension to show landing pages by “source/medium”

Top Pages Viewed: This is similar to top landing pages, except this is overall page views. One valuable tip when viewing your top pages viewed is to cross-reference the top landing pages and identify the biggest discrepancies. These are your pages visitors aren’t landing on but are navigating to.

What our data has shown is that very rarely is a website’s Specials page or Photo Gallery in the top 10 landing pages. For many clients, neither are in the top 10 landing pages. However, for nearly every single practice that has a Specials page and a Gallery page, they are both in the top 3 for most page views.

Why? This is what prospects want to see before they do business with you. There’s a predictable mental checklist each runs through in their head… Will it work? Go check the photo gallery… Is it affordable? How much does it cost? Go check the specials page. The next step after they’ve got some idea of your aesthetic practice’s credibility and pricing is to seek out 3rd party reviews. This means they’ll often leave the site and then come back.

Important, But Can Be Misleading:

Bounce Rate: % of visitors who land on the site and take no action. Over an extended period of time, keeping all variables the same, this can be helpful information. However, too many people fall into the trap of evaluating the bounce rate as a KPI (key performance indicator) when the conversion rate is the key engagement metric.

If a conversion rate drops, we look to the bounce rate, but you can have a relatively high bounce rate and still have an excellent conversion rate. This is especially true of landing pages of ad campaigns where the user is essentially forced to convert or leave (bounce).

Additionally, what exactly is a “high” bounce rate? Search Engine Journal says that 70% is “average” but it seems high, right? It really depends on the website as there are many variables to account for.

*Important Tip: don’t rely solely on “industry averages.” Set your own benchmarks based on your historical performance and then work to beat those benchmarks.

The other thing to keep in mind with bounce rates is how Google calculates sessions. If a visitor goes to your website and while reading content on the page they landed on, get distracted or have a phone call, then come back 30 minutes later a new session begins and your original session is counted as a bounce.

To learn more about how to interpret bounce rates, check out this article. As Neil Patel, one of the most influential marketers online says: your bounce rate is a lie.

Demographics: Google Analytics now shows gender and age breakdowns for your traffic. On the surface this a great new piece of information. The downside is that the accuracy is questionable. To gather this info Google relies on the browser of the visitor to either identify or infer your age and gender.

Somewhat Important, Often Misleading:

Pages/Session: Because of the way Google calculates sessions, your pages/session data is unreliable at best. A single user can jack up the number of sessions but inadvertently increase the bounce rate and lower the pages/session.

Avg. Session Duration: Same problem here. If someone’s first visit ends in a bounce, doesn’t matter if they were on for 1 second or 30 minutes, the average session duration for that visitor was 0:00.

This metric has the potential to be accurate if one visit is counted as one session, but do not read into this metric on the page level

Ignore Entirely:

Goal Value: don’t even set this up unless you only offer one service and the price for this service doesn’t change. If your goal is to understand your average value of a lead, your average value of a consultation, and your average value of a new patient then utilize a robust CRM.

TRBO offers an amazing CRM called Sticky Leadz that automates follow-up for leads – including text, email drip sequences, and ghost voice mail – all tailored to your specific campaigns, that allows you to score leads based on the stage they’re in. You can also track dollar amounts collected to easily reverse engineer the value of each new patient, consultation, and lead.

Do You Run a Plastic Surgery, Med Spa, Dermatology, or other Aesthetic Practice and Struggle with Tracking Your Marketing or Advertising Efforts?

TRBO can help with evaluating and improving your “Track Stack” or simply getting set up with Google Analytics. If you would like to speak to one of our aesthetic marketing specialists here at TRBO ADvance, then drop us a note here. You can also reach TRBO directly at 877-673-7096 x2.

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