Understanding Google can sometimes be like trying to understand an entirely new language. Google Analytics Metrics can at times be so confusing many may find that they are not using them in a way that will truly benefit their business. This is commented on by Search Engine Land,
The first login to a Google Analytics account can be daunting. There are so many things to see, and so many different ways to tweak data, that deciding which are the most important metrics to watch can be an insurmountable decision.
It is important to get a clear understanding of the metrics so that you can get the most out of using this valuable tool.
The HEART Framework
Every website needs something different when it comes to analytics. Not all sites are in place for money. Some collect traffic, emails, subscriptions, etc. So, how does a website owner determine which metrics they should be looking at?
While they all will want to see data like overall page views or how many unique or new visitors you have, that may not be enough to determine what adjustments a site may need. These features do not always give an accurate representation of the quality of a website or even relate the experience visitors will have when they land.
Google experts suggest that a website owner use the HEART framework to target five areas to measure the success of the site: Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention, and Task success. Analyzing these areas can be done on several different levels, which will give you a very thorough picture of the site and how well it is doing. They make this recommendation,
You don’t necessarily need to create metrics in all of these categories – you should choose the ones that are most important for your particular project… The HEART framework can help you decide whether to include or exclude a particular category.
The HEART framework can be applied to a wide range of sites within the Google family and can be a very effective tool in helping a business decide what adjustments need to be made.
Setting specific goals first can help the transition from the HEART framework to metrics. Once this is done, it will be easy to choose metrics that will help you to measure how well you are at achieving those goals.
Choosing goals based on the existing metrics will naturally be easier but it won’t give you the information you need. Instead, Google recommends that you set goals that are based on your HEART framework so that the results will be more useful to the success of your project. It’s not enough to say that your goal is to increase traffic; that goal is lacking in specificity. They recommend that you focus instead on the visitor experience in your goal setting. Going deeper and finding out if you need to attract new visitors or to enhance the experience of the visitors you do have. As they show in Dtelepathy,
It helps to have metrics that reflect the quality of the user experience, and that map to your main goals.
Once you’ve determined your goals, the next step is to look for signals that will be an indication that you have achieved them. Now you’re ready to use the metrics to improve your website in countless ways.
Using Google Analytics for the newcomer can be quite overwhelming at first, but by simply using a logical approach to the task, it can be greatly simplified. The online world can be very scary at times, but the more you come to know and understand it, the easier it will be to manage.