Do you know this joke?
Bill Gates walks into a bar. Everyone in there becomes a millionaire… on average.
When it comes to reporting website metrics, average rate is about as much use as one of those fetid SEO companies that promise you ‘page 1 of Google guaranteed!’
Of course, Google Analytics doesn’t help.
Every time you login to your dashboard, there it is. Average session rate, average bounce rate. All those averages, slapping you in the face like a wet fish.
Naturally, you need to know if your website is getting you results.
But when it comes to knowing what’s happening online, avoid spending any seconds of your life on ‘average’ metrics.
Imagine you’ve got a microsite comprising 9 pages (it’s an example, so let’s keep it simple).
Average exit rate across those pages is 71%.
What are you comparing it to?
Unless you have access to your competitor’s analytics so you can compare, averages tell you zilch, nowt, nada.
So drill down. That’s the only way to get anything out of Google Analytics.
First, let’s look at the goals you want your website to achieve.
That means looking at things that grow your business.
For example, if you’re selling online you want to track goals like:
Now make a list of the pages where all those actions are possible. They’re your high priority pages, where you should start looking for possible errors.
Let’s look again at that 71% exit rate.
|Page||Exit rate %|
Want to know where to start analysing and optimising a website’s performance? Follow the money.
That means starting with the point that’s closest to the final conversion.
“Want to know where to start analysing and optimising a website’s performance? Follow the money. That means starting with the point that’s closest to the final conversion”.
Achieve a 5% lift here and you’ll increase conversions by 5%. Achieve a 5% lift further back, and there are still places where people can exit.
In this example, the step before conversion is the ‘view basket’ page. On this page, the only thing left to do is click buy, and then get taken to the ‘thank you’ page. However, 90% of users are viewing their basket, but not buying.
There’s also a 90% exit rate on the thank you page. But that’s normal. Those people have done what they came to do. Their job here is done.
Contact us. Yes, 80% is another high one. But that’s normal as well. People go there, get what they want – a phone number or email address – and leave.
One of the product pages also has a 90% exit rate. That’s a problem, but it’s not as close to the checkout stage. So start with the ‘view basket’ page, solve that, and then analyse the product page.
This is where you start uncovering the treasure.
Start segmenting these metrics in Google Analytics.
Try segmenting by:
If there’s only one thing you ever learn about Google Analytics, learn how to segment.
Segment across any dimension that makes a difference to your website’s bottom line.
Then you’ll be well on the way to understanding what’s happening on your website. And most importantly, taking action to fix things and boosting your business, campaign or KPIs.