New tools to improve performance
on June 8, 2023 (last modified on September 8, 2023) • 20 minute read
Do you ever find yourself staring at your website analytics, wondering which metrics truly matter for your business’s online success?
Whether you’re an ecommerce entrepreneur aiming to optimize conversions, a content marketer looking to increase engagement, or a digital strategist seeking to boost organic visibility, understanding website performance metrics is essential for achieving your marketing goals.
But as with most things in marketing analytics, there’s no one-size-fits-all metric list that you can quickly look up online and follow. You need to determine that on your own, based on your business’s specific industry, size, objective, and similar factors.
However, there are some metrics that matter more than others and that you’ll commonly see experienced marketers track.
To help you decide which metrics your team should pay attention to, we talked to 51 marketers about the web performance metrics they consider most important—plus why you may want to track each one.
Want to see what else they shared? Let’s dive in.
Acquisition metrics show you how effective your website and overall marketing campaigns are at getting people to visit your site.
And more than just generic traffic volume, acquisition metrics can also help you dig into who is visiting and where they came from—so you can better contextualize the traffic numbers.
Here are several acquisition metrics that you should track to gain a complete understanding of your website’s performance.
If there’s one thing that will put a smile on every marketer’s face, it’s when they see an increase in their website traffic.
And while the “don’t question a good thing” saying may apply to many things, this isn’t one of them.
Understanding where traffic changes are coming from can help you identify the efficiency of different marketing channels and campaigns that you’re currently running.
Some of the main traffic sources marketers usually look at include paid traffic, organic traffic, referral traffic, social media traffic, and direct traffic.
And when it comes to these channels, Neil Walter of Walter Analytics says that “context is everything”.
“It’s so important that you look at engagement and conversion in the context of the channel or campaign they come from. If you just look at overall conversion rates, you don’t get a good gist of what’s actually working and what isn’t.”
To better understand how your website performs in terms of customer conversion and acquisition, you probably use Google Analytics 4 to learn how people are finding your website, what your most profitable traffic sources are, and how successful specific marketing campaigns are in attracting website visitors. You may have to navigate multiple areas and reports within GA4 to get the data you want though. Now you can quickly assess your website performance in a single dashboard that monitors fundamental metrics, such as:
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template that contains all the essential metrics for understanding how successful you are at attracting visitors from different channels. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in management reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your Google Analytics 4 account with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
Unique visitors refer to the total number of different individuals who access your website within a given timeframe.
Each visitor is counted only once, regardless of the number of times they visit your site during that period.
This metric allows you to understand the actual number of people that are interacting with your website, providing a more accurate representation of your audience.
Furthermore, it allows you to analyze the success of your website in attracting and engaging a growing audience.
Organic traffic is the number of visitors who find your website through unpaid, organic search engine results. The metric provides insights into the effectiveness of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and your website’s visibility on search engines.
These visitors come to your site naturally, either by searching for specific keywords or phrases related to your content or industry.
Here’s one Website Traffic dashboard you can download to track metrics for website performance such as total users, bounce rate, average session duration, and more organic traffic-related insights.
Keyword rankings refer to the positions at which your website appears in search engine results for specific keywords or search queries.
By monitoring your keyword rankings, you can assess how well your website ranks for specific search terms relevant to your business or industry.
This SEO Dashboard template is great if you want to keep a close eye on your keyword rankings, but also keep track of other key SEO metrics like organic clicks, organic sessions, and views by session medium.
The top landing pages metric provides insights into the web pages on your site that attract the most visitors.
It’s the entry point where users most commonly land when they visit your website, whether they arrive through search engine results, external links, social media, or other referral sources.
By tailoring your strategies based on their performance, you can further improve user experience, increase conversions, and drive meaningful engagement with your website.
Engagement and behavior metrics are crucial indicators of how users interact with your website and the actions they take while navigating through it.
They provide valuable insights into user engagement, content effectiveness, and overall visitor experience.
McCall Robison of Best Company says that while traffic metrics shouldn’t be ignored, engagement metrics are “the true measure of success.”
“If we don’t have an effective website that promotes engagement and encourages people to interact with our content and leave reviews, then our website’s performance isn’t where we want it to be, even if it’s getting the traffic.”
That sentiment was common among the marketers we talked to. When asked what they value most in terms of website performance, a whopping 76% chose engagement over acquisition.
Let’s check out some of the main engagement and behavior metrics you should pay attention to:
Engaged sessions (formerly known as bounce rate in Universal Analytics) is the metric that displays the amount of time visitors spend on your website.
For a session to be counted as an engaged session, it has to last at least 10 seconds, have 1 or more conversion events, or 2 or more page/screen views.
While the overall insight it provides is pretty much the same as with bounce rates, Google has a different way of defining and measuring the metric in the new Google Analytics 4.
Average session duration represents the average amount of time users spend on your website during a single session. This metric is one of the best indicators of your website’s engagement.
Longer average session duration indicates that users are spending more time engaging with your content. It suggests a higher level of interest and engagement, as users are actively exploring your website, reading articles, watching videos, or interacting with various elements.
Bridget Poetker of Loop & Tie puts it in a content marketing perspective and says that it’s a “big indication as to how valuable your content is to your readers.”
“Time on page is a pretty black-and-white metric, meaning it doesn’t lie. If your time on page is low and your bounce rate is high, you’re most likely missing the mark on search intent and not answering readers’ questions.”
Director of Growth at Loop & Tie
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With the Audience Overview dashboard template below, you can stay on top of your average session duration, alongside other metrics for website performance like views, sessions by device, and new users vs. returning.
Dwell time is a metric that measures the amount of time users spend on a specific page before returning to the search results or navigating to another website.
It shows how engaged users are with the content they’re seeing and whether it meets their expectations and needs.
And according to Andrew Schutt of Schutt Media, dwell time is “extremely overlooked by marketers.”
“It’s an indicator of how effective your website really is because it shows you how many people are taking the time to actually digest the content on your site. If none of your viewers are taking the time to read your content, then your website probably isn’t very effective at moving visitors down your sales funnel.”
Scroll depth measures what percentage of a web page do users view by scrolling. It shows how much of your content users consume and whether they engage with the entire page or only a portion of it.
Website owners can use the scroll depth metrics to understand better whether their content is doing a good job of hooking the reader and persuading him to continue reading.
Joseph Sugarman, a legendary copywriter, once said that you should always aim to push the reader down a “slippery slope”, with each part of the content persuading them to continue down the page.
Pages per session represents the average number of pages a user visits during a single session on your website.
It shows you whether users go on to explore your website and offers further after they arrive at the initial landing page.
Blair McKee of Constellix says that analyzing pages per session (alongside scroll depth) is “one of the best ways to evaluate website performance. These metrics will tell you if the information on your landing pages is valuable and engaging.”
She also mentions that higher pages per session indicate a “sense of trust between the user and the website. They’ve already gleaned valuable information from one page, and trust that other pages will provide additional, trustworthy information.”
And when it comes to pages per session, the average number you should be aiming for is around 2.
If you ever asked yourself:
Databox Benchmark Groups can finally help you answer these questions and discover how your company measures up against similar companies based on your KPIs.
When you join Benchmark Groups, you will:
The best part?
When it comes to showing you how your performance compares to others, here is what it might look like for the metric Average Session Duration:
And here is an example of an open group you could join:
And this is just a fraction of what you’ll get. With Databox Benchmarks, you will need only one spot to see how all of your teams stack up — marketing, sales, customer service, product development, finance, and more.
Sounds like something you want to try out? Join a Databox Benchmark Group today!
Interactions per visit represents the average number of user interactions, such as clicks, form submissions, downloads, social shares, or any other desired action, that occur during a single visit to your website.
It’s the level of engagement and the extent to which users interact with your website’s elements.
Jacob Dayan of Community Tax says that this metric is one of the best when it comes to “understanding how visitors are behaving on your website.”
“Even when they don’t make a conversion, you can track which pages they’re visiting, how long they spend on each page, and what they do on the page.”
He also recommends businesses that they should “map out how a visitor travels through the website to better strategize how to turn them into purchases, downloads, subscriptions, and more.”
Click-through rate (CTR) measures the percentage of users who click on a specific link, advertisement, or call-to-action compared to the total number of users who view it.
It’s commonly used to assess the appeal, performance, and engagement level of clickable elements.
Without a reasonable CTR, you can’t expect to see higher conversion rates on your website. Before visitors convert, they first need to make the click and land on a specific page.
Conversion metrics measure how effective your website is in driving desired actions from your visitors.
These actions can vary depending on your business objectives and may include making a purchase, filling out a form, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a resource.
But which specific conversion metrics should you primarily focus on?
Here are some suggestions:
The conversions metric tracks the number of desired actions completed by visitors on your website.
It represents the successful completion of a specific goal, such as making a purchase, filling out a form, subscribing to a service, or any other predefined action that aligns with your business objectives.
Conversions are highly customizable and depend on your specific business objectives, allowing you to define what actions hold value for your organization.
For Luke Wester of Miva, conversions are “the main metric to pay attention to. It tells you if your strategy is working and if people are actually taking the action you want.”
If you want to stay on top of conversions and similar key metrics for website performance, you can download the free KPI Dashboard template and monitor your business’s most valuable areas.
Conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who take a specific desired action out of the total number of visitors.
It represents the effectiveness of your website and marketing efforts in converting visitors into customers, leads, or subscribers.
To calculate your conversion rate, divide the number of conversions by the total number of visitors and multiply by 100. So, if your website receives 1,000 visitors and generates 100 conversions, your conversion rate would be 10%.
Meghan Hultquist of HQdigital says that her team puts a lot of focus on the conversion rate but also suggests that businesses should pay “special attention to conversion rates by source. This way, you can use CRO tactics specific to each traffic source to improve your numbers.”
Visit-to-Signup measures the percentage of website visitors who navigate through your signup process and successfully complete the registration form.
Marketers use this metric to better understand the efficiency of their user onboarding process.
The visit-to-signup metric can be applied to various types of registrations, such as creating an account, subscribing to a service, or joining a newsletter.
Track your visit-to-signup metric in the free Landing Page & Lead Tracking dashboard, alongside metrics like views by page title, session conversion rate, views to conversions, and more.
The visit-to-lead rate metric measures the percentage of website visitors who convert into qualified leads.
You can use it to see how successful your lead generation efforts are in converting visitors into engaged users who express interest in your products, services, or offerings.
Lead generation actions can include filling out a contact form, downloading a gated content asset, or any other action that signifies a visitor’s intent to engage further with your business.
Andrea Moxham of Vendilli is one of our respondents who focuses on visit-to-lead rates and says that “great websites will speak to the user, present the right offer at the right time, and turn them into a lead. You can spend all the time and money in the world trying to get people to find your site, but what good is it if they don’t convert?”
“Great websites will speak to the user, present the right offer at the right time, and turn them into a lead. You can spend all the time and money in the world trying to get people to find your site, but what good is it if they don’t convert?”
HubSpot Consultant at Vendilli Digital Group
Goal completions represent the total number of successful accomplishments of specific actions that you have defined as significant for your website.
These goals can vary based on your business objectives and can include actions like completing a purchase, submitting a form, or reaching a specific page.
To track goal completions, you typically need to set up goal tracking within your analytics platform. This involves defining the specific actions or events that you consider as goal completions and implementing tracking codes to capture those interactions.
For example, you might define a goal completion as a user reaching the “Thank You” page after completing a purchase.
Related: 15 Tips for Setting Realistic Website Traffic Goals
User experience metrics are crucial in assessing the various aspects of a user’s interaction and perception of your website.
These metrics go beyond simple engagement and conversion numbers to evaluate the overall quality of the user experience – they provide valuable insights into website usability, accessibility, page load times, content relevance, and similar factors.
Find out more about these individual metrics below:
Page load time is the time it takes for all the elements of a web page, including text, images, scripts, and stylesheets, to be fetched and rendered by the user’s browser.
It is typically measured from the moment a user requests a page until the page is fully visible and interactive.
Now, even if it’s just a few seconds, users hate waiting for a webpage to load and will often rather return to the previous page and check out another resource if it’s taking too long.
Time on page shows the amount of time users spend actively engaged with a particular web page. It’s calculated by subtracting the timestamp of when the user accessed the page from the timestamp of when they navigated away or interacted with another page.
The metric excludes the last page of a session since there is no subsequent pageview to measure the duration accurately.
According to Benchmark Groups, a good average time on page is 1 minute and 30 seconds.
To compare your own performance against other important metrics in Universal Analytics, join the benchmark group here.
Viewing benchmark data can be enlightening, but seeing where your company’s efforts rank against those benchmarks can be game-changing.
Browse Databox’s open Benchmark Groups and join ones relevant to your business to get free and instant performance benchmarks.
Pageviews represent the number of times a particular web page is viewed or loaded by users.
It’s a fundamental metric that provides insights into the popularity and visibility of your website’s individual pages.
Each time a user visits a page and it fully loads in their browser, a pageview is recorded. It includes both unique and repeated views, meaning that if the same user visits the page multiple times, each visit is counted as a separate pageview.
Whether it’s traffic, conversion rates, or some other area, it’s vital that your team has the right web metrics to accurately and actionably measure what matters to your company.
However, keeping proper track of your key website performance metrics isn’t the most intuitive process, and it gets even harder if you’re doing it manually.
With the vast majority of tools, reporting features can get pretty complex and you typically need to manually compile the data, transfer it into separate spreadsheets later, and only then start with the actual analysis.
Why go through all this hassle when you can cut the process down to just a few minutes with free dashboard software?
Databox helps you build professional dashboards in three simple steps:
We have 400+ templates that you can simply download and start customizing with your own data, or you can build a dashboard from scratch (no coding knowledge needed).
No matter what area of your website performance you want to track, Databox provides you with real-time insights into all key metrics in one place.
Forget about spreadsheet reports and glazing over your watch to see what time it is, calculating how much longer it will take you when you can automate your reporting process and turn it into a few minutes-long activity.
And you’re not the only one benefiting from it… your shareholders and C-level executives will also be impressed with the comprehensiveness and clarity of your reports.
Oh, and did we mention you can provide more context to your numbers as well?
Since you get access to our Benchmark Groups product as well, you can instantly check out and include data on how your competitors are doing in terms of specific metrics. This adds another layer of understanding to anyone on your team going through your report.
Sign up for a free trial and have Databox handle your website performance tracking from now on.
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