15 Important Key Terms In Google Analytics For Beginners

by | Nov 3, 2016 | Web Analytics

5 Min Read. |

Google Analytics is a powerful tool which provides actionable data that can help you to make decisions about marketing your website. However, while the data may be easy to get hold of, that doesn’t make it easy to interpret and use, especially for new comers. To help beginners here is the compiled brief glossary of the key terms you may come across when navigating through Google Analytics.

The Basics

1.Pageviews :

This is the number of times users view a page that has the Google Analytics tracking code inserted. All page views are covered under this. It’s a count of viewed pages and not individual visitor. If a user refreshes a page ,or navigates away from the page and returns ,these are counted as additional page views. This helps you to identify your most popular pages

2. Visits / Sessions :

Visits are individual periods of time or sessions ,that visitors spend on your site. This visit ends either after 30 minutes of inactivity or if the user leaves the site for more than 30 minutes but if the user leaves the site and returns within 30 minutes, this is counted as a part of the original visit.

3. Unique Pageviews :

The unique pageview is the count of all the times the page was viewed in an individual session as a single event. If a visitor viewed the page once in their visit or five times, the number of unique pageviews will be counted as just one.

4. Unique Visitor :

When a user visits your site for the first time ,a new visit and unique visitor both are recorded. But if the same visitor returns to the site after their initial visit, then only a new visit is added and not recorded as unique visitor.

Whether a user has been to the site before is recognized by Google Analytics  through the use of cookies. If a user deletes their cookies ,or accesses the site through different browser or machine ,then they may be mistakenly added a new unique visitor.

5. Hits :

Hits are the interactions during a visit, including pageviews, events, and transactions


User Behaviour

6. New Vs Returning Visitors :

New visitors are those users that have not visited your site before the time period specified, while returning visitors will have made at least one visit to at least one page on your site previously. Google Analytics uses cookies to detect previous visits. If google cannot detect a cookie one will be set for the future recording, provided the user has not disabled cookies in their personal browser preferences.

7. Segments :

According to your own specific needs ,Google analytics allows you to create subsets of your data. Segments enable you to analyze data in more detail, by filtering the results to show only information for certain kinds of traffic. Segments can be used to compare results between groups of visitors (e.g.paid vs organic search traffic). Custom segments can be set up to analyze data more precisely.

8. Entrances :

Entrance represents the number of visits that started on a specific web page or group of web pages.

9. Bounce rate :

A Bounce represents a visit with only one page view.The Bounce rate is measured in percentage. It represents the number of visits when users leave your site after just one page view, regardless of how long they stayed on that page. (Total Bounces divided by total visits)

10. Time on Page :

Time on page represents the average amount of time in seconds, a visitor spends on a particular page. Technically it represents the time between the start time of a given Pageview and the start time of the subsequent Pageview or Event.

Traffic :

11. Content :

This allows you to see which through which specific link or piece of content a visitor visited your site. It’s most often used in conjunction with a custom campaign.

12. Direct Traffic and Referral Traffic :

Google Traffic sources show you how users got to your site. Traffic sources split into direct and referral traffic. Direct traffic is made up when visitor type a URL, or click on bookmark to get to your site. Referral traffic is when a user has landed on your site by clicking on a link from somewhere else, it could be another site, a social media or a search engine.

13. Organic Search Traffic and Paid Search Traffic :

Google Analytics lets you see what percentage of your traffic came from search engines. It splits into organic and paid search. In organic search traffic, user comes to your site by clicking on organic links on search engine results page. These results typically appear below the search engine results page (SERP) and are determined by how well the page is optimized for search engines.

The paid search results show users who clicked one one of your paid search engine adverts. These typically appear at the top and side of the SERPs and are managed by an advertising account such as Google Adwords or Bing Ads.


Custom Information :

14. Events :

Events represent custom actions that are distinct to a particular Google Analytics account. Events can include actions like clicking hyperlinks, images or stop and play buttons in video players. These can be set up to help you track activity independent of page or screen loads.

15. Goals :

Goals can be set up in Google Analytics account to monitor the conversion rate of the various activities by the visitors on your site. These activities may include a visitor making a purchase, finishing a game, downloading an ebook or signing up for email newsletter. You can also assign a monetary value to each goal completion, to help determining the return on investment from your website.

It’s important to note that this is not a complete list of all Google Analytics key terms,but these are the key terms in Google Analytics which provides quick start information to new users or a refresher for those with more experience.

Image Credit: Google Analytics

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  1. Shalini

    The most important metrics for measuring the online success and using that data easily with accessible via and one of the most commonly used analytics tools for Google Analytics.

    • Megha Gadekar

      hi Shalini thanks for comment ,can you elaborate please

  2. lakshmi

    Great Post !

    The article you wrote about Web Analytics is very interesting and the points you discussed is very helpful for a beginner to have a clear idea about the concept .The image you kept in this article shows the interactions during a visit ,including page views,events and transactions which is quite interesting .

    • Megha Gadekar

      Thanks Lakshmi

  3. Tarun

    This is nice compilation. I have to set goals in analytics now 🙂

    • Megha Gadekar

      Thanks for reading, Tarun

  4. arusi

    Short & easy to catch an overview of these terminology of Google analytics.

  5. Megha

    Thanks Arusi, glad you liked it


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