The Five Google Analytics Terms You Didn’t Know That You Didn’t Know

The Five Google Analytics Terms You Didn’t Know That You Didn’t Know

The Five Google Analytics Terms You Didn't Know That You Didn't Know

With so many concepts, terms, and definitions to know in the realm of digital marketing, staying up to date and informed on every little stat, metric, and buzzword can be deceptively challenging. However, some terms are more likely to be confused than others. These five Google Analytics terms are commonly misunderstood, even among pro marketers with years of experience.

Direct Traffic

It sounds simple: traffic sent to your site directly. Right?

While most marketers understand direct traffic to mean exactly what it implies, the truth is a little murkier. In reality, it’s more of a catchall term for when Google isn’t quite sure where traffic came from. Options include:

  • A URL typed right in a menu bar
  • A link from an email
  • A link from a PDF
  • A link from a social media phone app

So, what does this mean? While there’s no way to draw clear conclusions based on the lack of information available, overall, growth in direct traffic means growth in brand presence, and that’s always a good thing.


That sea of red and green boxes on the Benchmarking metrics page isn’t for decoration; it’s telling you how your business measures up to your peers by category. For example, if the average session duration column on the email row is green and displays a positive number, you’re exceeding the industry norm. If it’s red, you’re not currently meeting expectations. This can offer interesting insight, providing a sneak peek into where you need to improve to stay competitive.

Behavior Flow

Behavior flow isn’t exactly describing how users behave in a conventional sense, but rather what pages they go to and in what order. While some of this isn’t as helpful as it is merely informative, behavior flow is critical in determining drop off rates. If there’s a particular page on your site that customers leave on a regular basis, it may be worth your time to investigate potential problems and make improvements.

Bounce Rate

A metric that refers to the number of users who visit your site, look at one page, and leave, bounce rate is often seen as a negative in marketing. However, it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, a single page visit is expected, like a landing page, a blog post, or a video presentation, skewing the numbers in a way that’s hard to understand. Instead of disregarding bounce rate and assuming it doesn’t matter, keep these cutoffs in mind:

  • 20% to 40% is excellent
  • 41% to 55% is average
  • 56% to 75% is below average, but may be okay for certain business models
  • Anything higher than 75% should be a red flag for sites outside of news providers, blogs, and similar site styles

Active Users

Among many marketers, there’s some confusion surrounding the difference between active users and real-time users. Real-time users are those who are active on your site right now, so what are active users?

The active user bucket is a lot more general and simply refers to the number of people who actively visited your site over a certain period, like one day, seven days, or 14 days. This data can be helpful in determining drivers, noting usage trends, and helping to determine the success of new site features, like guest posts or discount codes.

Knowing the ins and outs of marketing can take some study, but a little education can go a long way. When you want to master the art of Google Analytics, RivalMind is here to help.

Contact Us

Related Blogs

What is SEO Marketing
Posted by The Strategy Team | March 1, 2018
What is SEO Marketing?
The term "SEO," or search engine optimization, gets thrown around a lot, especially among digital marketers. If SEO is so important, what does it actually mean?
Embracing the Dark Side: Unorthodox Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Site
Posted by The Strategy Team | January 2, 2018
Embracing the Dark Side: Unorthodox Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Site
Some marketers believe that any traffic is better than no traffic, but visitors lured to your page under false pretenses are unlikely to stick around, learn more, or make a...
Is It Okay to Post Without a Target Keyword?
Posted by The Strategy Team | December 21, 2017
Is It Okay to Post Without a Target Keyword?
Keyword usage, despite its relevance, is not the only thing that matters when it comes to content that ranks. Learn more about consistent valuable content.