Today, we’re going to talk about Google Analytics metrics, dimensions, hits and sessions. We’re helping you break down the topic to understand it better. This, in turn, can help you make better use of your GA account, both now and in the future.
You’ve probably noticed that when you view your Google Analytics report, it immediately features two distinct types of information: metrics and dimensions. These relate to the information from a hit. This information displays in a table on the Google Analytics page, where rows represent dimensions and columns represent metrics.
If you’re like most people, though, it’s a bit tough to understand dimensions and metrics, and how they come together to create something you should (or shouldn’t) be adjusting. Read on to learn more.
Google Analytics Dimensions
Dimensions are made up from the information in a hit. It indicates how many visitors have been on your site after clicking an organic search listing. The dimension also helps you learn additional information about your customers, such as their genders, ages, cities, and sources. These things are all important characteristics of a website user.
Google Analytics Metrics
Metrics are slightly more granular than dimensions. While dimensions demonstrate the characteristics of a website user, metrics are the numbers used to measure or count the details in a single dimension. For example, while “source” is one dimension with multiple characteristics. These include sessions, new users, bounce rate, and goal conversation rate. Metrics are made up of the numbers used to measure these characteristics.
While it’s true that metrics and dimensions both refer to website visitors, they are collected, processed, and reported differently in the Google Analytics platform. What’s more, a dimension is the larger part, providing background to the smaller part, the metric. Metrics are also reported in the conversions, behavior, and acquisition categories in your Analytics dashboard.
Google Analytics Hits
Hits are even more granular than the metric. In fact, the “hit” measurement is what most analytics tools transmit as data to their collection servers. Technically, the word “hit” refers to a request for an image file. This request information is then communicated from the website to the data server. Depending on what type of analytics tool you’re using, though, there are dozens of types of hits, including the following:
• Pageviews/Screen views
• Social Interaction Buttons
• Customized User Timings
All these hits are sent off to Google Analytics, combined with a tracking code. There, they can be accessed by the GA account holder.
Google Analytics Sessions
While hits are the granular data, the sessions measurement is the collection of said granular data. To compile a session, GA takes the collection of hits initiated by a single user. It then groups them together into a cohesive package, organized according to activity.
In the name of accuracy, sites pay close attention to moments when the user is no longer active. They terminate the session and begin a new one when a user becomes active once more.
In most tools, the timeout session refers to a span of 30-minutes of inactivity during the intersession period.
How it all Works Together
For Google Analytics to compile a cohesive report, it needs all this information to work together. Therefore, it uses hits to organize sessions and metrics to compile dimensions. This information, broken into granular and less granular chunks, helps users decipher their site data. From there, needed steps are taken to improve views and visits, or make their site more attractive.
Mobile User Google Metrics
Mobile users are becoming more and more important in the digital environment. Today, Google Analytics uses anonymous identifiers to store itself on a device and generate a signal each time an app goes to work. Unlike the web identifier designed to serve the same purpose, the mobile identifier isn’t stored in a cookie. Instead, it lives in the mobile phone’s database.
This said, though, it works much like a cookie would. Each time a server receives a hit, it sends the identifier back to the analytics server. The server then uses the Google Analytics identifier to develop a metric for the GA dashboard.
Why Google Analytics Metrics Matter
Today, people access the Internet from more devices and locations than ever before. From kiosks to laptops to mobile platforms to desktop computers and much, much more. Because of this variety and versatility, which is a great thing for users, it can be tough for analytics software to make an accurate determination of things like unique user visits.
Because of this, programs like Universal Analytics have been released, which track users through mobile devices and websites, back into kiosks and point-of-sale systems. Understanding these metrics is critical for anyone who wants to gain an accurate picture of how his or her site is doing online, and what steps (if any) must be taken to improve said site.
What’s more, unlocking the mysteries of Google analytics makes the tool easier to use, decreasing much of the confusion so commonly associated with navigating and implementing it and its data.
All in all, understanding Google Analytics metrics, hits, sessions, and dimensions is a fantastic way to get the highest possible value out of the tool while also ensuring that you’re building up your site in the process.
Deciphering GA Metrics Made Simple
The sheer level of information provided by Google Analytics may seem like overkill, or may immediately come off as overwhelming. However, it is essential for business owners to learn to understand it and determine what each metric means and indicates.
Without this understanding, it is impossible to develop an accurate picture of site traffic, and, therefore, to improve a site accordingly. Plus, GA metrics aren’t quite as difficult to interpret as they seem to be. A significant portion of deciphering them comes down to knowing what they’re made up of and what they can tell you.
To learn more about Google Analytics, or for help deciphering your own site data today, contact Thrive Internet Marketing – a one-stop marketing agency that can help you expand and enhance your online presence.