Google Analytics is one of our favorite tools. It’s free, it’s crazy powerful, and you can set it up in less than 15 minutes. But it’s power and usefulness come at a price. No, not a real price (like we said, it’s free). The price comes when you have to learn how to use it. The tool does so much that there’s a really steep learning curve to it.
A few days ago, Kevin Kononenko from Databox was thinking about this learning curve, and realized that Google Analytics is a lot like a shopping mall. He then decided to break down some Google Analytics (GA) terms using the shopping mall analogy to make them simple.
If you’re a little confused at this point, just read on. It’ll all make sense.
- Users v. Sessions v. Pageviews — Users are the individual people who visit your shopping mall. Sessions are the number of times those people visit your mall. So if a user visits your shopping mall 3 times, that counts as 3 sessions. Pageviews are the different pages, or stores in your mall, that visitors go to.
- Session Duration v. Time on Page — Put simply, time on page is how much time a mall visitor spends in a specific store. Or how much time they spend on a specific page. Session Duration is the amount of time visitors spend in the mall, or on your website as a whole.
- Bounce Rate — You ever go to the mall, go in one store, and leave immediately? That’s bounce rate. It’s not always a bad thing. If your visitor finds what they need and leaves, that’s fine. But if they’re leaving because they’re not finding what they need, that ain’t good.
- Segments — Want to look compare people who visited the mall, but didn’t go to the food court vs. those who did? Segments allow you to do this. With these, you can compare what different groups of visitors do on your website. You’ll be able to see things like if visiting a certain page will make someone more or less likely to purchase from you.
There are a TON more shopping mall analogies in this one →