GA4 metrics to track, what they mean, and why they matter

Google Analytics (GA4) and Google Search Console are essential tools for business owners. They both provide valuable metrics to track for your website. Consistent tracking of key metrics empowers you to make informed decisions, attract more visitors, and drive business growth.

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In this blog, we’ll break down the key Google Analytics 4 or GA4 metrics to track, what they mean, and why they matter.

Google Analytics (GA4) and Google Search Console are invaluable tools for business owners, offering essential insights into website performance.

GA4 provides a comprehensive overview of visitor behavior, highlighting key metrics such as website traffic, user engagement, and conversions. This data helps you understand how visitors interact with your site and tailor your digital strategy accordingly.

On the other hand, Google Search Console focuses on search-related data. It reveals how your site performs in Google search results, offering valuable information about impressions, clicks, and average position. This is crucial for assessing your site’s visibility and optimizing its presence in search rankings.

The benefits of using these tools to create regular reports are clear. They provide a data-driven understanding of your online presence, helping you identify strengths and weaknesses in your digital strategy. By tracking key metrics consistently, you can make informed decisions to improve your website’s performance, attract more visitors, and ultimately grow your business.

These are the most important metrics that you should start tracking ASAP. If you don’t have Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Google Tag Manager installed on your website, get this done immediately so that you can start collecting this data. Need a hand with this? We’re happy to help.

 

Google Analytics (GA4) Metrics to Track

Conversions


Are Visitors Taking Action?

Conversions represent the number of desired actions completed by visitors on your website. The specific action can vary based on your goals, such as filling out a contact form, clicking a phone or email link, or subscribing to a newsletter. In GA4, conversions depend on the actions you specify as conversion events.

Why It Matters:

Conversions are a crucial metric for evaluating the effectiveness of your website and marketing efforts. Besides tracking Revenue, conversions are what you want to see from your marketing efforts. They provide insights into the success of your calls-to-action, landing pages, and overall conversion funnel. For businesses like yours, typical conversions might include form fills, email link clicks, phone link clicks, or SMS link clicks.

 

Total Users


How Many People Are Checking You Out?

Total Users represents the count of all unique users who have interacted with your website within a specific date range. This metric includes both new and returning users.

Why It Matters:

Total Users provides a comprehensive view of the total reach of your website over a particular period. It helps you understand the overall size of your audience, including how many distinct individuals have visited your site.

 

New Users


Welcoming Fresh Faces

New Users are the individuals who have set foot on your website for the first time within a specific timeframe. Google Analytics 4 identifies them through unique user IDs or cookies, making sure they haven’t visited your site before.

Why It Matters:

This metric reveals how effective your marketing efforts are in drawing in a new audience. It’s a vital gauge of your website’s ability to attract and engage with fresh visitors.

 

Active Users


Is Your Digital Presence Thriving?

Active Users, on the other hand, represent the count of unique users who have interacted with your website within a shorter, more recent timeframe, typically the last 7 days or 30 days. It includes both new and returning users but focuses on more recent activity.

Why It Matters:

Active Users give you insights into the current engagement level on your website. It’s a dynamic metric that helps you understand how many users are currently interacting with your site. This information is particularly useful for assessing real-time or short-term performance and engagement trends.

 

Average Engagement Time


Are Visitors Actively Engaging?

Average Engagement Time is the average duration that users actively engage with your website. It’s specifically calculated for active users, those who have had engaged sessions.

In GA4, you gain insights into when users are actively interacting with your site, rather than just having it open in the foreground. This data helps you understand how engaging your website is to visitors.

Why It Matters:

Monitoring the average engagement time lets you gauge how captivating your website is. If visitors are actively engaging for longer periods, it indicates strong user interest and effective content.

 

Sessions


Discovering User Engagement

Sessions measure the number of times users engage with your website within a specific timeframe. A session is recorded from the moment someone enters your site to the moment they exit. It can also end after 30 minutes of user inactivity, yet there is no limit to how long a single session can last. Engaged sessions include two or more pageviews or a user spending more than 10 seconds.

Why It Matters:

Sessions help you evaluate the overall traffic and engagement on your website. They allow you to analyze what customers are doing when they arrive on your site and how effective your content is in keeping them engaged. It’s an essential metric for understanding user interaction.

 

Sessions per User


Measuring User Engagement Frequency

Sessions per User calculates the average number of sessions an individual user has within a specific time frame. This metric offers insights into user loyalty and engagement. It’s obtained by dividing the total number of sessions by the total number of users.

Why It Matters:

Sessions per User help gauge the frequency with which users return to your website. A higher number typically indicates a loyal audience. If your users keep coming back, it suggests that your marketing strategy is successfully attracting and retaining engaged visitors.

 

Engagement Rate


Are Your Visitors Staying Engaged?

Engagement Rate is the percentage of engaged sessions on your website or mobile app, accessible within the Session category on your analytics dashboard.

An engaged session meets the following criteria:

  • Lasts at least 10 seconds
  • Includes at least 1 conversion event
  • Features at least 2 pageviews

To calculate the engagement rate, divide the number of engaged sessions by the total number of sessions during a specified period, then multiply by 100.

What It Reveals:

Low engagement rates on specific pages may indicate issues with marketing campaigns or page content. If visitors aren’t staying engaged, it’s time to evaluate what needs improvement.

 

Bounce Rate


Are Visitors Staying?

In GA4, Bounce Rate is the percentage of sessions that lacked engagement. An engaged session in GA4 is one that lasts at least 10 seconds, includes at least 1 conversion event, or results in at least 2 page views.

This metric measures the visitors who exit your website after viewing only one page without any further interaction. To calculate it, divide the number of single-page visits by the total entrances to your site and multiply by 100.

Why It Matters:

Bounce Rate reveals how deeply visitors engage with your site or app. A high bounce rate may indicate that your homepage doesn’t meet visitors’ needs or that certain pages require improvement.

 

Views


How Many Times Your Content is Seen

Views indicate the number of times your content, such as blog posts, pages, or videos, has been seen by visitors. It’s a measure of your content’s visibility and reach.

Why It Matters:

Tracking views is vital to understand which pieces of content resonate most with your audience. For businesses like yours, it helps identify popular services, blog topics, or videos that attract potential customers’ interest. This data aids in tailoring your content strategy for better engagement. Views is a helpful metric when looking at specific pages of your website. It can be used to determine which pages are popular.

 

Views Per User


How Often Your Content is Seen by Each Visitor

Views Per User indicates the average number of times a unique visitor interacts with your content during their session. It helps measure the depth of engagement for each user.

Why It Matters:

For businesses like yours, it’s essential to gauge how often individual visitors engage with your content. This metric reveals how captivating your content is and whether visitors explore multiple pages or views during their visit. Higher views per user can suggest a more engaging website experience, which can lead to increased conversions.

 

Device Type


What Devices Your Visitors Are Using

Device Type reveals the types of devices your website visitors are using, such as desktop computers, tablets, or mobile phones. This metric offers insights into your audience’s preferred devices for accessing your website.

Why It Matters:

Understanding the device preferences of your audience is crucial for optimizing your website’s user experience. It helps ensure that your site is responsive and functional across different devices, providing a seamless browsing experience for all visitors. This metric assists businesses like yours in tailoring their online presence to meet the needs of their specific audience.

 

New User Source


Where Your New Visitors Are Coming From

New User Source identifies the channels or platforms that drive new visitors to your website. It provides insights into the sources responsible for bringing in fresh faces to your online space.

Why It Matters:

Understanding the sources of your new users is essential for optimizing your marketing efforts. It helps you focus on the channels that are most effective in attracting potential customers. By analyzing this metric, businesses like yours can allocate resources wisely, fine-tune their marketing strategies, and reach a broader audience.

 

Landing Page


Where Visitors First Set Foot on Your Site

Landing Page refers to the specific web page where visitors first arrive when accessing your website. It’s often the initial point of contact between your site and potential customers.

Why It Matters:

The landing page is critical for making a strong first impression. It’s where you have the opportunity to engage visitors, communicate your message, and guide them further into your site. By analyzing this metric, businesses can optimize their landing pages to enhance user experience and achieve specific conversion goals.

 

Sessions by First Source


Where Your Sessions Begin

Sessions by First Source tracks the initial sources that lead visitors to your website. It identifies how users first discovered your site, whether it’s through organic search, social media, email, or other channels.

  • Direct: Direct traffic refers to website visitors who land on your website after typing in your URL directly into their browser.
  • Organic Search: When you see organic search traffic it’s referring to the traffic that’s come to your site through unpaid search results on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
  • Paid Search: The Paid Search channel is the traffic that comes from your paid search ads.
  • Social: Traffic from Social Media channels.
  • Referral: A referral in Google Analytics happens when one website refers traffic to you—resulting in a new user clicking through to your website. Essentially, it’s a recommendation from one site to another.

 

Why It Matters:

Understanding where your sessions originate is essential for tailoring your marketing efforts. By analyzing this metric, you can determine which traffic sources are most effective in driving visitors to your site. This insight enables you to optimize your marketing strategies and allocate resources where they generate the most engagement and conversions.

 

Referring Pages


Unveiling Your Website’s Traffic Sources

Referring Pages reveals the external web pages that direct traffic to your website. It shows which websites or platforms are sending visitors your way, providing insights into your online visibility and partnerships.

Why It’s Valuable:

Understanding referring pages helps you gauge the effectiveness of backlinks, collaborations, or marketing efforts on external websites. By recognizing where your site is mentioned or linked, you can refine your online presence strategy and optimize partnerships to increase traffic and conversions.

 

Events


Uncover User Interactions

Events in GA4 reveal specific user interactions on your website or app. These interactions can include button clicks, form submissions, video views, and more. Tracking events provides a detailed picture of how visitors engage with your content and services.

Why It’s Valuable:

Events help you understand user behavior, identify popular content, and pinpoint areas where visitors may drop off. With this data, you can optimize your website to improve user experience, boost conversions, and tailor your content to what your audience finds most engaging. You can also set up custom events to monitor key metrics that are specifically important to you using Google Tag Manager.

 


Google Search Console Metrics to Track

All of the metrics previously discussed have been a part of Google Analytics (GA4). This is a data model that Google introduced in 2023 which can be used to monitor what is happening on your website. However there is another Google tool which allows you monitor metrics about how people use Google Search to get to your site in the first place. This is Google Search Console, and if you want to understand how to get more people on to your website, than these are the metrics you will want to monitor.

 

Impressions in Google Search Console


Measure Your Online Visibility

Impressions in Google Search Console represent the number of times your website’s pages appeared in search results to users. It’s an important metric for assessing your online visibility and how often your site is seen by potential customers.

Why It Matters:

Impressions help you understand the reach of your website in search engine results. A higher number of impressions indicates that your website is frequently displayed, potentially driving more organic traffic. Monitoring impressions can assist you in evaluating the performance of your site’s SEO efforts and content strategy.

 

URL Clicks in Google Search Console


Track Your Click-Throughs

URL Clicks in Google Search Console measure the number of times users clicked on your website’s links in search results. It’s a crucial metric for evaluating the effectiveness of your search engine presence in driving traffic to your site.

Why It Matters:

URL Clicks help you gauge how successful your website is at attracting clicks from search results. Monitoring this metric allows you to assess the performance of your site’s titles, meta descriptions, and overall search presence. A higher number of clicks indicates that your content is relevant and compelling to users, potentially leading to increased website traffic.

 

Queries in Google Search Console


Unlocking Search Insights

Queries in Google Search Console reveal the actual search terms that users have used to find your website. It’s a goldmine of information for understanding what your target audience is looking for online.

Why It Matters:

Queries help you uncover the specific keywords and phrases that drive traffic to your site. By analyzing this data, you can optimize your content to better align with user intent. This insight is invaluable for tailoring your website’s content to attract more potential customers and improve your online visibility.

 

Average Position in Google Search Console


Your Place in the Search Spotlight

Average Position in Google Search Console is like the ranking score for your website on Google’s search results. It indicates where your site typically appears in search listings for specific queries.

Why It Matters:

Your website’s average position directly impacts its visibility. The higher your average position, the better. It means your site is more likely to show up closer to the top of search results, increasing the chances of users clicking on it. Monitoring this metric helps you track your SEO efforts and see if you’re climbing or falling in the search rankings.

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