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Here’s our Take on Four Commonly Misinterpreted Google Analytics

Analytics data is invaluable to business owners, and more often than not it’s relied on to guide and measure the success of a website or a digital marketing campaign. Google Analytics in particular, which is a software that allows us to analyze a website on the global level, is a favored platform because of the depth of information it provides, and the best part is that it offers this information for free. In this article we clarify some of the most common, and commonly misunderstood, analytic metrics to help you best understand how well your website and digital marketing campaigns are faring.

Google Analytics


1. Average Time on Page

How it’s calculated: It’s the average difference between the request timestamp for that page, and the timestamp of the next page that a visitor navigated to on your website. If someone just clicked on one page of your site and then bounced away to another site, then this visit does not get calculated into “Average Time on Page”. A minimum of two pages need to be browsed in order for there to be a second timestamp to measure against. If you don’t know how this metric is calculated, it could certainly be misleading.

2. Conversion Rate

How it’s calculated: According to Google Analytics “A conversion happens when someone clicks your ad and then takes an action that you’ve defined as valuable to your business, such as an online purchase or a call to your business’ website call tracking number.”

Now let’s look at a practical example of this. Imagine you are a business owner who’s ready to pull the plug on a digital marketing campaign focused on promoting your ecommerce store, simply because the analytics indicate that online conversions are low. You might feel you’re not getting a ROI, and you’re ready to call it quits. However, if for example you’re not tracking the source of their in-store customers; how do you know that these customers are not indeed coming in as a result of the website, and that the website isn’t actually converting?

3. Website Speed

How it’s calculated: It’s based on how quickly users can see and interact with your website. A number of variables come into play, and to start it’s just based on a 1% sample of your website’s users. This metric has less to do with how fast your website loads, and more to do with the technology that the website visitor has access to, and the capability of this technology. Have a user whose computer is plagued with malware or is using a dial-up connection? The result could be a very low website speed report.

4. Bounce Rate

How it’s calculated: It’s based on the percentage of single-page sessions. This number could be misleading if your website is ranking well for long-tail keywords and visitors quickly and easily find the information they’re looking for and then leave. So providing the page isn’t a sales funnel that you want your visitor to continue navigating through until the purchase or action is complete, then someone leaving your site after promptly locating your physical store address, for example, is fine.

When reviewing your Google Analytics reports it’s important to first understand exactly how Google collects and measures this data, since it can be easily misconstrued. Having a solid understanding of these analytics is particularly important if the data is being used to drive business decisions. If you’re having doubts or difficulties deciphering your Google Analytics, a Google certified digital marketing agency like SEO TWIST will be happy to provide a full breakdown and analysis.