Google Analytics definitions are important to understand when administering and analysing a Google Analytics account or trying to understand the reports sent to you by your web developer.

It can be quite a complex process understanding the analytics that measure traffic to your website but here is a short explanation of the main definitions you will need to understand.

Google analytics definitions

The most comprehensively used Google analytics definitions are:

  • Users: Users who have initiated at least one session during the date range. 
  • New Users: The number of first-time users during the selected date range. 
  • Sessions: Total number of Sessions within the date range. A session is the period time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc. All usage data (Screen Views, Events, Ecommerce, etc.) is associated with a session.
  • Number of sessions per user: The average number of Sessions per user.
  • Pageviews: Pageviews is the total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.
  • Pages / Session: Pages/Session (Average Page Depth) is the average number of pages viewed during a session. Repeated views of a single page are counted.
  • Ave Session duration: Pages/Session (Average Page Depth) is the average number of pages viewed during a session. Repeated views of a single page are counted.
  • Bounce rate: bounced session has a duration of 0 seconds. 

If your web company are running Google Ads campaigns for you, you are likely to come across these additional terms:

  • Clicks: The number of clicks on your website URLs from a Google Search results page
  • Average Position: The average ranking of your website URLs for the query or queries. For example, if your site’s URL appeared at position 3 for one query and position 7 for another query, the average position would be 5 ((3+7)/2).
  • CTR: Click-through Rate, calculated as Clicks divided by Impressions multiplied by 100
  • (NOT SET) To protect user privacy, queries that are made infrequently and queries that contain sensitive or personal information are grouped together as (not set).

Another useful definition for more advanced analytics is the term “queries” whereby you can identify search queries that people are using to find your site for example “Hairdresser Cape Town” and you will then also be able to tell which queries your site has a good average position for and compare that with “click-through” rates. If your site has a good click-through rate, these are the queries for which your pages get attention, so improved content could lead to more traffic.

It’s often better to use an online marketing specialist to monitor your account for you. They will suggest recommended changes to your online marketing strategy based on what people are doing on your website. Doing any online marketing without tracking your results is a pointless task so it’s best to get on top of your analysis to properly understand all that Google Analytics is telling you.

Online marketing agents may also think that you know more than you do, so it is wise to become familiar with the terms they use from this useful set of standard definitions. That way you can either read (and understand) your own analytics reports or better understand what your online marketing company are telling you.