Data and Analytics – Content Design: Planning, Writing and Managing Content – Guidance
Understanding Basic Reports
A quick way to see how your pages are performing is to match them to some key metrics and analyze how those metrics relate to each other.
You can get it by going to Behavior> Site Content> All Pages in the Google Analytics interface and then searching for the URLs of the pages you want.
You can also create a custom report. The following example shows the pages of the GDS Service Manual: Sample Results Screen in Google Analytics
Here is the meaning of each metric:
This represents the number of visits during which this page was viewed. So, if a user visits a page 5 times during their browsing session, it will appear as a single pageview in Google Analytics.
This is the count of each time this page has been accessed.
For example, if someone visits page X, then goes to page Y, then page X again, page X will show with 2 pageviews (and a single pageviews).
This is the number of times this page was the first page on the site viewed by users.
Entries / Pages viewed
A simple calculation showing entries on the page as a percentage of page views.
The percentage of “single page sessions”, that is, users who only viewed that page and then left GOV.UK.
Average time on page
How long do users visit the page on average?
In the web version of Google Analytics, it is shown in hours, minutes and seconds – hh: mm: ss. In exported spreadsheets, it only takes a few seconds.
Treat this metric with caution – see below.
% Go out
The percentage of exits that were made from the page (calculated as number of exits / number of page views).
How to use the data:
Find out what is the most (and least) popular content
By default, Google Analytics will order reports by the first column of metrics. In the above report, the Service Manual home page was the most visited page, followed by the Default Digital page.
The Unique pageviews column will show you your most visited pages. By clicking on the down arrow at the top of the column, the reverse order will be displayed, i.e. the least visited pages.
Note that Google Analytics will only display URLs that were visited during the period (i.e. it will not display pages that were not visited at all). All URL iterations will also appear.
Find potential navigation issues
Dividing the Pageviews by Unique Pageviews metric will show on average how many times a page has been viewed during user sessions.
A high ratio (greater than 1.4) indicates that users should return to this page during their session. It should be a primer for you to study the navigation from this page in more detail to identify any issues.
You will have to fix this problem yourself by exporting the data to a spreadsheet. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t do this for you.
Identify the pages that need to be better optimized
If the Entries / Pageviews percentage metric is low on pages that generate reasonable traffic, it suggests that users need the page. However, most have to navigate to access them, so better search optimization may be needed.
What high bounce rates suggest
Bounce rates should only be displayed against the Entries metric and not against pageviews.
A high bounce rate on the navigation pages reveals an issue because it indicates that users are not interacting with the page. Changes need to be made and the page measured again.
However, a high bounce rate on content pages isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as users could have found the information they came for and didn’t need to dig deeper.
Time spent on a page
The Average Time on Page metric provides a guide to how engaged users are with your page.
However, treat with caution. This is because it excludes data from sessions in which the page was last visited on GOV.UK (for example, it does not include single page sessions).
So, for pages with high bounce rates (like news pages), the downtime displayed by Google can be very far from the mark. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the% Exit rate, the more representative the average time spent on the page will be.
How to create reports for your own content
If you frequently measure page sets, you can save time by creating your own custom reports. You can do this by reproducing the above report and filtering it for your own pages or you can click on this custom report and save it in the “1.GOV.UK (Entire Site – Filtered)” view.