Understanding Google Analytics: What Are Dimensions, Metrics & Bounce Rate?

October 17, 2019

As a marketing professional, e-commerce retailer or website owner, you’re probably familiar with Google Analytics, but are you using it to your full advantage?


What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool that you can use to track and analyze your website traffic and visitor data over time. In order to make the most of your website and marketing, you should understand where your visitors are coming from and what they’re doing once they arrive – that’s essentially what Google Analytics provides. This information is essential in order to make informed, data-driven decisions and maximize the value of your website and marketing efforts. Otherwise, you could be leaving money on the table.

To get started, all you need is the Google Analytics tracking script added to each URL of your website. The tracking script records various activities (such as pageviews, sessions and time spent on site) of your users when they visit the website, along with the attributes (such as gender, age and interests) of those users. You can then view aggregated views of this data in the Google Analytics dashboard in real time and over time.

Google Analytics classifies your data into four main reporting segments:

  1. Audience (learn about who’s visiting your website).
  2. Acquisition (learn about where your website traffic is coming from).
  3. Behavior (learn about what visitors are actually doing on your website).
  4. Conversions (learn about how people convert on your website).

Within each of these segments, there are detailed views with pre-built reports that will allow you to dive deep into your data. You can also create custom reports and views to analyze data that’s specifically relevant to your business. These reports contain two types of data – dimensions and metrics.

What is a Dimension in Google Analytics?

Dimensions in Google Analytics are the qualitative attributes associated to visitors to your website.  Some examples of dimensions are age, gender, location, device, keyword, source, medium, product, goals, etc. In short, all the qualitative characteristics of your website users will be classified as dimensions.

What is a Secondary Dimension in Google Analytics?

Besides your primary dimension, Google Analytics also allows you to segment your dimension data further by adding a “Secondary Dimension.” The Secondary Dimension feature allows you to define a primary dimension and then view that data by a secondary dimension within the same table. For example, in the “Acquisition Traffic” report for Channels, the default dimension is “Default Channel Grouping”; however, if you select a secondary dimension of “Device,” then you can see the default channels by device from which the traffic originated. This can be extremely valuable when determining anomalies in your data or to better understand what the reports actually mean.

What is a Metric in Google Analytics?

On the other hand, metrics are the quantitative values associated with a dimension within Google Analytics. Metrics show you what a user did on your site, expressed in numbers. Some examples of metrics include pageviews, sessions, users and bounce rate. All metrics are associated with a dimension or dimensions, such as the web page a user is visiting.

What is Bounce Rate in Google Analytics?

One metric of particular interest is bounce rate. “Bounce rate” is a metric that measures the percentage of users who visit your site and then immediately leave the page they entered, without interacting with another page. In Google Analytics, bounce rate is calculated by taking the total number of one-page visits (bounces) divided by the total number of entries to the site. Bounce rate is a great indicator of the quality and user experience of a web page. Now you may be wondering, “What’s an ideal bounce rate?” In short, it depends on your industry and the goal of your site, but the general rule of thumb is that the lower the bounce rate, the better.

Our experienced Marketing Analytics team works with a variety of analytics platforms to track your offline and online channels. We’re always discovering new ways to turn data into insights that can inform our online marketing strategies and increase your ROI. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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