I’m Deepak Devjani, and much of the work my company does is to serve as the technical co-founder for several businesses of different scopes. In working with these non-technical makers, we observed that some of the analytics products currently on the market assume that everyone already has a baseline knowledge of these products and how they work, which is rarely true.
We used to work with clients all the time who would get so overwhelmed by their Google Analytics dashboards that they would end up never checking their traffic stats. After custom designing 3-4 analytics platforms for these clients, we came to the conclusion that perhaps the analytics market needed a simpler alternative, which is why we made Pulse Metrics.
We wanted to give back to the maker community by sharing the metrics that every founder should have at the palm of their hands. Instead of trying to track everything, it’s about tracking the metrics that are right for you. The ones that move the needle for your business. So my goal here is not to provide you with every metric in the world, but to help you easily track the essential ones.
1. Total Visitors
These are all the visitors that have visited your site. It’s a combination of new users and current users. You want to track this as a baseline to make sure users are coming to your site in the first place. Every time you do a marketing push or do something that makes users look up your site, you should know how many people visited and when.
2. New Visitors
This is how many users have visited your site for the first time. This metric counts and shows the number of people who are first time visitors to your site.
Please not that there are a couple of factors that can impact counting someone as a visitor. For example, if the user uses a private browser window (incognito window) or a browser that doesn’t save cookies, or if the user manually cleared their browser’s cache and cookies, those visitors will be counted as new visitors even though they might’ve visited your site in the past. They have chosen to not be tracked or counted.
You want to track this to see how many of your visitors are new versus returning. Companies are always trying to grow so this is an important number to view daily. If you run a marketing campaign or get featured by a large publication, this number should be high around the time of that push.
3. Returning Visitors
These are all the users that came to your site more than once in the last 30 days. We count someone as a returning visitor if they have visited your site more than once in the last 30 days. This is the trailing 30-day period leading up to the date for which you’re reviewing your metrics.
For example, if I came to your site yesterday and then come back today then I’ll be counted as a returning visitor today.
Please not there are a couple of factors that can impact counting someone as a returning visitor. If the user uses a private browser window that doesn’t save cookies, or if the user manually cleared their browser’s cache and cookies, it would not be possible to detect whether that user has visited your site in the past 30 days. Those visitors will be counted as new visitors instead. They have chosen to not be tracked or counted.
You should monitor this number because it illustrates the stickiness of your product or site. If you have a lot of users that are returning regularly then they are engaged and interested in your product. You will always want this number to be high and going up at a steady pace in proportion to your new visitors.
4. Total Views
The total number of times that users have visited a particular screen or page on your site or app. We count a view anytime someone comes to your site. For example, if I go to yoursite.com I am viewing your homepage and this is considered 1 page view. Then if I refresh the page in my browser, yoursite.com will load again and that number will become 2 page views.
In essence, any time the page loads in a browser it is counted as a view. Page views are different that visitors. One visitor can visit your site or a particular page multiple times, therefore giving it multiple page views.
This will tell you what screens people are visiting on your site. You want users to view all your screens since you took the time to build them. If you see a particular page is not getting viewed you should remove that page OR redesign so it gets more page views. You can also consider placing more prominent links to those pages and trying different messaging. This is a critical metric for blogs, publishers, and other content-based sites as this is typically how they get paid.
5. Device Types
This will tell you the different devices visitors are using to access your site. Examples of device types would be iPad (tablets), computers or laptops (desktop), iPhones or Android smartphones (mobile). Please not that these are not to be confused with mobile apps — these are the numbers if individuals view your website via a mobile browser on their phone.
Design types are important for design decisions. For example, if you have a lot of users on desktop then you should roll out features for desktop first. If the numbers are all comparable then you need to optimize your site experience for all three platforms to give your users an optimal experience across the board.
6. Screen Sizes
This tells you the screen sizes of your users devices. You can tell your designs, QA, and developers which platforms they need to optimize for. If you see a screen size that no one is using you shouldn’t even waste your time testing or designing for that experience. This is a little more granular to “Device Types.”
7. Average Minutes Spent
This is the average amount of time users spend on your site before leaving. This is calculated by dividing the total users by the total time those users spent on the site. It is important to note that if a user stays on your site for 10 minutes and does not perform any action we will consider them idle so that the user does not skew your metrics. If that users refreshes the page or goes to another page we will restart the time spent on your site.
You want to see how long people are staying on your site. If this number is low then you need to figure out why and change something with your site. In general you want users to stay on your site for a few minutes to learn about your product. You want your users to spend at least 1 minute on your site before leaving. However, a low number is not always bad. If you are a service like Uber or Amazon, you may want the user to checkout as fast as possible.
These are the countries that users who visited your site are located in. It will show you the country where the user is currently located. For example, if I live in United States but I’m currently in Europe and visiting your site then, we’d consider the user European. When they go back to the United States and they visit your site then we’d consider the user to be American.
This will help you in terms of marketing. If you are based in the U.S. and you see a lot of your users are in Europe you may want to expand into Europe or spend your marketing dollars developing your American market.
This will tell you what web browsers your users are using to access your site. Browsers have different tradeoffs. This should help your developers and QA know which platforms they should test new features on first and how to prioritize development or design efforts.
9. Operating Systems
This will tell you which operating systems your users are using to access your site or product. This should help your developers and QA know which operating systems they should build and test for. If you users are not upgrading to newer software you may not want to build using all the newest technology as some of it may not be available.
This is how people are getting to your site. This metric will tell you where to spend your marketing dollars by informing you which platforms or channels are driving the most traffic coming to your site or app.
You ideally don’t want only one platform dominating all of your traffic. The best type of traffic is direct traffic because it means that users are coming directly to your site because of your brand recognition or product recognition.