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Google Analytics and your Marketplace page
A question I hear quite often when working with businesses on their Marketplace pages is "Now, will you be able to tell me how many people visit my page?" The answer is, quite simply, yes. The Lawrence Journal-World uses Google analytics to monitor the traffic to their websites. Since Marketplace is a part of the ljworld.com website, our traffic is monitored as well. We can tell you how many times your page was loaded for any time frame you would like. This information is available to you at any time. You will just need to send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send you a report of the traffic to your Marketplace page. We also have the ability to schedule emails to be sent automatically to you from Google. We can set it up to come every week, month or quarter. If you are interested in setting up an automated email of your traffic from Google, just send me an email.
In this post, I would like to go over the reports we use to monitor traffic to our sites. I will go through and show you all the different sections of the reports we send out, and what all of the different stats tell you. However, an important thing to consider when viewing this report, is your long-term strategy for using your Marketplace page. Setting a goal for your Marketplace page, and defining how it will help your business, is an important thing to have when evaluating these statistics. If you're goal is to generate traffic to your website, then there are certain statistics in this report that are more important. Or if you want to use this site as a place for customers to find coupons and discounts, then you will want to look at a different part of this report. Hopefully, this overview will answer some questions on monitoring the traffic to your Marketplace site. If not, I am always available for a one on one appointment. Email me or give me a call (785) 832-7259 to set a time.
Terminology: Pageviews vs. Hits
Before we go through and dissect what our Google Analytics reports tell you, I want to briefly go over some of the terminology that is often used when analyzing web traffic. Something I often hear when asked about web traffic is the term "hits." We monitor the number of pageviews a Marketplace site gets, not hits. Hits are the number of information requests received by a server. Or more plainly, the number of files that appear on each web page. So if you're looking at a webpage, and see there are 6 pictures on the page, each one of those is counted as a hit. Looking at one page can record a number of hits. Pageviews, which we use in our analysis of Marketplace pages, measures each time a visitor views a page on your website, regardless of how many hits are generated. So pageviews are the number of times a page, as a whole, is loaded.
Google Analytics Reports
When you request statistics on your Marketplace page, we will send you a PDF file that is generated by Google. It gives you a number of statistics about your site's traffic. It will look like the image below. http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Oct/07/Analytics_ljworld1_.jpg
In this image you can see that the time frame is in the upper right-hand corner. This report was for Septmber, 2009. And the first thing below that is a line graph. The graph shows you the number of pageviews on each day.
Below the line graph you see a line of statistics which is labeled Content Performance. I would like to take the different areas of this section one by one.
Google's definition of a pageview is:
The total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.This number is a sum of the times all of the different pages of your Marketplace page have been loaded. Each time an individual photo, product, ad, event or video is loaded, that is counting towards your total number of pageviews shown here.
Google's definition of a unique pageview is:
The number of visits during which one or more of these pages was viewed.So this is Google's attempt to filter out people clicking on the same link more than once during their visit to your site. If someone comes to your Marketplace site and then clicks on an ad, then returns to your main page, Google is counting that as one pageview.
Avg. Time on Page
This statistic is pretty self-explanatory. It tells you the average amount of time a visitor spent looking at your webpage. You can see in the example business that the average person spent 28 seconds on their page. The thing to remember is that this is an average. So some people may have clicked on to your page to see your hours and then left. That would take about two seconds. Others may have stayed longer and looked through all of you photos. Each of these visitors received valuable information, but the two times would vary quite a bit.
Google's definition of bounce rate is:
The percentage of single page visits resulting from this set of pages or page
This statistic tells you how many people viewed only one page on your site and then left to another part of either Marketplace or ljworld.com. If you have a website that has a lot of pages to navigate through you would not want a high bounce rate. But with Marketplace, there is a lot of information a visitor can see on your main page. A visitor could click through all your tabs, see your hours, the ads listed on your page, and if you have a video set as primary they could watch the whole video all with only one pageview. So it is important to know the goal of your Marketplace page. If you want people to view a large selection of products on your page, then you would want to make sure your bounce rate is very low. But if you want all your information on the first page, or just want to send people to your website, then you may be alright with a slightly high bounce rate. It all revolves around setting your expectations and strategy for using your Marketplace page.
Google's definition of exit percentage is:
The percentage of site exits that occurred from this set of pages or page
Here Google is measuring the percentage of visitors that left completely left Marketplace and ljworld.com from your site. If someone were to come to your Markteplace site and then click on a link to your website, or go to a different website, that would count as an exit from your site. In our example business you can see that 17% of their visitors left our site from their page. Again, if your aim is to move people to your website, then a higher exit percentage would be welcome.
$ Index This statistic is not set up for our website. This value is used when people have e-commerce set up on their site, which Marketplace does not use.
The final section of this report is a breakdown of the different areas of your page. This grouping of statistics shows the same group of statistics as the Content Performance section, but it breaks down for each section of you page. So in our example business you can see that it is breaking down the sections of their page that has content. The second line show that their ads were loaded 93 times and 67 unique times. Their photos section was loaded 92 times, 60 of those unique. And then their videos were loaded 5 times, 4 of those unique. The first line is telling you how many times the main page of her site was loaded by itself. It is also helpful to see in this area the amount time people spend in each section of your page.
That concludes this little overview of Google Analytics and what it reports about your Marketplace page. If you would like to get a report of your statistics or schedule a time to meet with me to go over your Marketplace page please send me an email to