The Best Google Analytics Glossary

the best google analytics glossary

the best google analytics glossary

Google Analytics is one of the most advanced tracking software but there are a number of terms and definitions to remember. In this glossary, we list every single Google Analytics term you will hear and give you an easy-to-read definition.

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Account

This refers to the overall account in your Google Analytics account. You can create multiple Google Analytics accounts if you manage other businesses or manage peoples accounts. It’s also good practice to keep accounts separate for each business in case you sell it and need to transfer the account to a new owner.

% Exit

The Exit % is the percent of people that leave a certain page on your website. This can show you your pages people are leaving the most often from. It can also mean nothing if, for example, you have a high Exit % on your contact us page. This is because people will fill out the form and then leave most of the time.

If you run an e-commerce or service-based website, you should be looking at your % Exit on your products or services to see which ones are performing the worse.

Acquisition

An acquisition is a way that a user reaches your website. There are a number of different channels that visitors can reach your site from. Some of them include direct traffic, referring traffic, organic, email and social.

Adwords

Google Adwords is a pay-per-click advertising system in which advertisers bid on keywords to show their ad in the Google Search Engine pages. If you use Google Adwords to generate traffic to your website, you can track all your Adwords data inside Google Analytics.

Audiences

Audiences are a new feature of Google Analytics that allows you to build specific audiences from your website data. For example, you can create an audience from anyone who has completed a transaction on your website. You can use this data to find your target demographic or ideal customer.

Average Session Duration

The Average Session Duration will tell you the average amount of time (in seconds) that sessions (visitors) were on your website. This is calculated by taking the total session duration / total sessions. Average session is heavily influenced by the lack of timing on exit pages so its recommended to use Average Time on Page instead.

Behavior Flow

Behavior flow visually maps how users travel from one page or Event to the next. Importantly, behavior flow also shows what page or Event a user exits off of on the website. Viewing this info shows what content engages users and what content causes them to leave.

Benchmarking

Benchmarking allows you to compare your data to data in the same industry or to get to compete with relevant companies.

Bounce

A bounce is when a visitor lands on a website then immediately leaves. This means the user lands on the page then does not request any other information from the website’s server.  It indicates whether viewers are exploring into deeper inner pages of the website or immediately leaving once landing on the page.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of single pageviews per session on a website. A single pageview means the user lands on your website then does not click on anything else before departing. The bounce rate percentage is calculated by dividing the number of times a viewer landed on your page and did nothing by the total number of sessions.

Channels

Channels group all incoming traffic data together in pre-defined segments. This is a great way to gauge the success of inbound marketing efforts. Channels are automatically set to ‘Organic Search’, ‘Paid Search’, ‘Social’ and ‘Email’. You can create your own custom channels based on incoming traffic sources.

Cohort Analysis

Cohort Analysis groups users together by what they have in common. The most commonly used and default coAcquisitionqusition date. You can run cohort analysis to isolate users by date or other unique behavior.

Conversion

Conversions measures when a user completes a specific goal set by the Google Analytics account holder. A conversion can be as simple as visiting more than one page or it can involve a purchase. By setting conversion goals, one can measure if a website is performing as expected.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rates add up all the successful conversions into one percentage. For example, if you have four conversion goals with a 10% conversion rate, your site’s total conversion rate would be 40%. Keep in mind your site’s overall conversation rate can be well over 100%, so don’t think the ceiling of number of conversions stops there.

Cost Analysis

Cost analysis measures the amount of money spent compared to successful sessions. Google Analytics automatically imports the cost of Google AdWords campaigns and measures when users complete goals/conversions. You can also import costs of other inbound marketing efforts to gauge campaigns other than your Google PPC efforts.

CPC

CPC, or cost-per-click, is the total charge for a user clicking on an Ad. Google AdWords has different websites bid on the same keywords, so the cost can fluctuate dramatically. Google Analytics reports the cost-per-click for users who end up landing on your website after clicking a Google Ad.

Custom Reports

A custom report allows the Google Analytics account holder to create a report with the data and metrics most relevant to the information needed. It is a great time-saving measure for individuals who only need to access some of the information offered by Google Analytics.

Custom Segment

Google Analytics allows account holders to build custom segments through filters on the website. Each segment groups website visitors together by certain commonalities. This segment can then generate a report where you see data from a specific user subset.

Dashboard

The Google Dashboard collects the most pertinent data and allows users to access it immediately when logging into their Google Analytics account. You can also make custom Google Analytics dashboards that compile the information most relevant to your website.

Demographics

Demographic divides user by gender, interest, age and more. It allows Google Analytics account users to view exactly what type of user is being attracted to their website currently. One can also examine how different demographic groups interact on the website. It is important information to have on hand when one is trying to appeal to a certain type of audience.

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic is website viewers who directly entry through the home page URL. This can be typing the URL into the search bar, or it can be clicking on an anchor tag with a direct link to the website’s main page. Sometimes due to browser issues, this data also can include organic traffic.

Display Targeting

Display targeting reports website visitor behavior after they click on one of your Google Display Ads. The targeting options available for Google Display Ads are all available for analysis on the Google Analytics including Display Keywords, Placements, Topics, Interests, Remarketing, Gender & Age. Overall this tool helps you better understand the performance on your Display Ads and website by allowing you to measure how well your Display Ads are converting visitors.

E-commerce

Google Analytics allows you to measure the amount of money made through business transactions. After a user makes a purchase, they are usually sent to a thank you page. By measuring the number of visitors on this page, website owners can track how many successfully completed purchases are made from their website.

Entrances

Entrances show many users begin a session on a certain page. For example, if you viewed this post on Ninja Reports after browsing some other pages it counts one entrance for this post along with all the other pages you visited. People often think entrance means it is just the first page that viewers see when entering the website, but that is not the case.

Events

Events track a specific type of visitor interactions with your web pages like ad clicks, video views, and downloads. You can also manually setup your own events to track specific Events on your website that are not set up by the default settings of Google Analytics.

Events Flow

Event flows track the order in which visitors trigger events on your website. Events are things like ad clicks, downloads and widget clicks. It is a good way to gauge how your site is keeping users engaged with the content.

Experiments

Experiments allow you to test tweaks you make to your website with the goal of increasing conversions. For example, you may alter the position of a button in the hopes of making more sales. You can track the success of this change with Google Analytic’s experiment tracking.

Filter

A filter allows you to narrow down the amount of data you are viewing. For example, you can filter through traffic to see data from a certain date range. By excluding and/or including certain data, you can get the specific information you want to gather from Google Analytics.

Funnel Visualization

The funnel visualization tool is a map that shows the steps/pages a customer takes when visiting your website. By tracking this information you can see what pages seem to be leading to conversions and what pages are making customers leave. It is a great way to gauge the performance of funnels you’ve created with the hopes of converting visitors.

Goal Flow

Goal flow shows what steps visitors are taking before reaching the goals you’ve set up with your Google Analytics account. When you combine goals with your custom funnels, you can measure if customers are interacting with your content as expected. This way you can make changes if traffic is not engaging with your content as anticipated.

Goal Value

Goal value is the specific monetary amount you set to certain goals. You can set this up to filter through the most valuable conversions by setting up goals such as minimum purchase amounts. You also can monetize goals where there isn’t necessarily a transaction taking place. For example, you can set up a goal value for when a user signs up for your newsletter. Each time a goal is completed the money is added up to a total lump sum you can track to see how profitable your website is overall.

Goals

Goals allow you to set up a target objectives for a website. Whether this is a user making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter, you can set it up as a goal in Google Analytics. In order to effectively measure the analytics of a website, it is imperative to create goals to see how well the website performs.

Google Analytics API

Google Analytics API allows you to take the data gathered from Google Analytics then integrate it with custom dashboards or third party software. It also allows you to automate complex marketing targeting reports.

Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a tag management system which allows one to easily alter code created to track marketing analytics to a website. A tag allows one to send data from a third party to Google Analytics to track the information. Without this tool, one needs to directly add tags to the website/app.

Hostname

Each time a page is viewed on a website, Google Analytics records the domain of the site on which the page was viewed.

Landing Page

The landing page report shows information related to the most popular sites where visitors enter your website. It determines landing pages by counting the number of visitors land on that page rather than what you may designate as a landing page. This shows you which web pages are greeting your visitors, and how effective that greeting works in achieving your goals.

Lifetime Value

The lifetime value measures how different users interact with your business, and the value these users offer. One common lifetime value to explore is the visitors gained from inbound marketing efforts like paid search and email marketing. Using the Lifetime value report, you can determine which marketing efforts give you the best ROI.

Medium

Medium measures the type of source of traffic where a visitor came from before landing on your website. For example, they will measure a PPC Google AdWord referral as cost-per-click for the medium. It generalizes the sources of incoming traffic to allow one to easily sort through referral traffic types.

Metric

Metric are quantitative, something with concrete numerical value, measurements of data on Google Analytics. These are the hard numbers one pulls from analytics reports that one interprets to gauge the success of a website.

Model Comparison Tool

A Google Analytics attribution model gives credit for goals, sales, and conversions to certain visitor interactions. For example, one default attribution model is the last interaction a user has with the website before converting. The Model Comparison Tool allows you to compare and measure how different attribution models perform on your website.

Multi-channel Funnels

Multi-channel funnels allow one to view all aspects of a visitor’s interactions with channels that led to a conversion. This tracks the user’s behavior over the last 30 days to allow you to analyze how behavior on different visits ended in achieving the website’s objective. It takes into account everything from paid search ads to social media marketing, so you can see if users are using multiple channels to reach your website.

New Visitor

New visitors are people coming to a website for the first time.

Organic Keywords

An organic keyword is a word or group of words someone types into a search engine that in turn pulls up your website. Organic keywords are free, so all you need to do is put certain combinations of words in your website’s content to increase your search engine ranking and attract more viewers.

Organic

Organic means viewers are attracted to a website via a search engine without any paid search ad efforts.

Referring Traffic

Referring traffic is visitors that land on your page thanks to links somewhere else online. Google Analytics tracks what websites post links to your site, so you can keep track of where your referral traffic originates.

Page Timings

The page timing reports offer data regarding page performance. This includes data regarding how users interact with your website, how fast your website’s server works and other details regarding how quickly a web page loads. A slow web page can drive away traffic, so this is an important metric to note.

Page Value

Page value is a set of data to give you an idea which pages are contributing the most to conversions. When a page is involved in a lot of conversions it will have a higher value than a page that is not. This data is tracked across all sessions to give owners a glimpse into the big picture of how each web page is performing.

Pages per Visit

Page per visit indicates how many pages visitors view when browsing through a website. This is calculated by the total number of web pages visited by the total amount of website visitors. This data type gives good insight as to how engaged an audience is with a multi-page website.

Pageview

A pageview is when one page is loaded for a visitor. If your webpage loads dynamically without needing to fully load a new page but showing new content, this will only count as one-page view. It is a good idea to setup tracking to account for dynamic web pages to not exclude them from this data set.

Paid Keywords

Paid keywords are single words or groups of words website owners bid on for ad placement with Google AdWords. When a user types in the keyword the highest bid gets their website’s ad ranked. When the visitor clicks on the add, this shows up as a paid keyword metric in your Google Analytics account.

Property

Google Analytics defines a property as anything associated with a tracking ID. This means if you set more than one website with the same tracking ID, it will show up as one set of data in the Google Analytics account.

Publisher

A publisher is a digital entity that displays your ad on their website, app, game, etc. In an era where pushing ads through third-party properties are commonplace, this metric holds particular importance.

Real-Time

Real-time analytics show what is going on currently on your website in actual time. You can log on Google Analytics any time of day to track the activity of users. Each interaction is reported just seconds after it occurs, so real-time data is updated almost immediately.

Referring Traffic

Referring traffic refers to visitors who land on your website thanks to an outside source. When someone clicks on a hyperlink leading to your page – excluding search engines – they are considered referring traffic.

Returning Visitor

A returning visitor is someone who has visited your site before and now has returned.

Reverse Goal Path

A reverse goal path is a report shows all steps users took before reaching a specific goal on your website. It is different than a funnel because it records all pages a visitor uses instead of just a select few. Finding out how exactly a user reaches a goal isn’t always a direct line from page A to page B, and the reverse goal path report allows you to figure out what unique path viewers take on your website.

Search Console

The search console collects data regarding the organic (free) search traffic that comes to your website. You can see what keywords users are searching and how often your website appears in search results. It’s a great tool when paired with Google Analytics to see how well your website is being marketed.

Search Terms

Search terms are the words and/or phrases visitors enter into a search engine before landing your website. Increasing the number of search terms, or keywords, people use regularly in search engines, helps boost the ranking of your website. It is good to have insight into which search terms are already succeeding via Google Analytics.

Session

A session is when a visitor comes to your website. In a single session, Google records all of the user’s interactions and activity on a website, and it integrates this data into most of their reports. If a user is inactive for 30 minutes, Google Analytics ends the session.

Shopping Campaigns

Shopping campaigns is a report within the Google AdWords section of Google Analytics accounts. It offers data as to which products & product categories are driving the most traffic and sales on any given website. It is a powerful tool for eCommerce websites who want to know which products are the most successful on their website thanks to paid marketing efforts.

Site Search

Site search is a report that tracks what terms visitors are typing into the search bar on your website. You also get insight into whether the search terms are matching up well with the content offered on your website after any given query.

Site Speed

Site speed measures the overall performance of your website when it comes to speed. It tracks how quickly pages load for users to view. It also looks at more specific performance issues like how fast your page loads elements like buttons and links to allow user interaction. See Page Timings.

Social

Social is a report which tracks all aspects of social media involved with your website. It tracks everything from when users share your content using social share buttons on your website to conversions driven by social media referrals. It gives you an in-depth look at whether social media marketing efforts are actually making an impact on the success of a website.

Source

The source is the original point from where traffic to your website originates. For example, if your website has a link/ad on another website and the visitor clicks this ad, that referring website is the original source. It is a list of specific links to let you know where traffic is coming from when it arrives on your website.

Time on Page

Time on page measures the span of time users spend on your page. It only accounts for visitors who do not bounce or exit for the page, so this measurement can be misleading for those who do not know the nuance of the definition since anyone who immediately leaves is not calculated into the average time spent on the page. It also resets for every single page, so if a user visits another page the timer restarts.

Time on Site

The time on site reports the entire length of time in seconds a user spends on your site. This includes time where a user may be inactive Google Analytics measures the time on site by using user interactions as marks when to record time.

Treemaps

Treemaps are a visualization of how users arrive on your site. It reports all of the Acquisition channels to allow you to quickly assess the inbound traffic to a website. The block graph allows you to see the relationship between different metrics tracked related to acquisition channels. By clicking on each block you can quickly dig deeper down into the data related to each channel.

Unique Pageviews

Unique pageviews report how many times a visitor views a page in a session. Unlike regular pageviews, it does not count when a viewer refreshes or returns to a page during a visit to a website.

URL Builder

URL Builders allows Google Analytics account holders to add parameters to a web address from a digital marketing campaign to track data from that specific link. You can use the Google Analytics URL generator to create the URL you need to get the data you want about external inbound marketing efforts.

User

A user counts as someone visiting a website on a specific device and browser. Whenever a user visits a website on a device and browser, the user is then marked with a cookie. This allows one to track when that user returns. However, if a user returns to the website on a different device or browser, they will be accounted as a different user.

User Explorer

User explorer allows you to look at specific data related to a user on a website. You can track everything from referral information to website interactions using the User Explorer tool.

User Timings

The user timing allows you to drill down to the information related to website performance for each individual user. This allows you to discover if a device, geographical location or other data is impacting the averages of your site performance.

Users Flow

The user flow tracks by volume how each individual travels from page to page on your site. Importantly, it also tracks where users exit/drop-off of a webpage. This is an important chart for understanding the efficiency of the content on each page.

View

The view is the way you see your dashboard on a Google Analytics accounts. Different views can be set up for different levels of accounts. This is great for offering specific data to different people who need/want to access certain information when logging into Google Analytics.

Visit

A visit is when someone comes to your website when referred from an outside source. It lasts as long as the user interacts with the page, and it resets after 30 minutes of inactivity.

Visitors

Visitors are the number of individuals that come to your website. Each visitor is counted only once in your visitor reports. Google Analytics tracks new and returning visitors, so you can examine data on repeat and single visit users.