Understanding your Google Analytics Report: Jargon Buster

Picture of Eleanor Firth

Eleanor Firth

Here at Browndog, we have years of experience in the digital world. But we also understand that sometimes all the jargon that we use day-to-day isn’t common knowledge.

We want you to feel part of your digital journey, so if you are struggling to understand your monthly analytics report or trying to obtain some insight from Google Analytics yourself, you may benefit from a better understanding of the terms below. This Google Analytics jargon buster will help you to understand terms used on the platform and what the results may mean for your business.

Once you start to understand these terms, you can start to use Google Analytics more efficiently and interpret the data in a way that can guide and drive your online activity (and be on your way to being a Google genius!) Let’s get started…

Bounce Rate

This occurs when a visitor to your website lands on a page but leaves the site without interacting or making a favourable action, i.e. clicking on links, watching a video, submitting a form or navigating to another page. This differs to exit rate, as a bounce rate is only counted on the page the user entered the site on. Someone may bounce off your website for many reasons, including slow loading speeds, irrelevant content or poor user experience (UX). For these reasons, a page with a high bounce rate indicates that some form of optimisation must be made to improve performance and experience for users.

Users vs New Users

‘Users’ means the number of visitors that have generated at least one session on your website during the selected date range. The ‘Users’ data summarises the total number of new and returning visitors. ‘New users’ is the number of first-time visitors to your site within the selected date range, i.e. people who have not visited the website before. Due to strict data protection online, these metrics are not always accurate. They rely on cookies to accurately record visits. This means if the same user accesses a website on various devices, browsers or IP addresses, they can be counted multiple times. Similarly, if they do not accept cookies, their sessions will not be counted at all.


Entrances mean the number of people who entered the website on a specific page, directly from a channel source such as social media, i.e. not from another page on your website. For instance, we may have 180 visits to the Browndog website in a single day, with 20 of those visits entering the site onto this very Jargon Buster blog post. The data in analytics would reflect 20 entrances recorded against this page.

This Google Analytics jargon buster will help you to understand terms used on the platform

Exit Rate

This is a percentage that indicates how many people dropped off the website on a certain page. For example, once you’ve finished reading this Jargon Buster post on the Browndog website, you may decide to leave and continue browsing other websites online. This would be reflected in analytics, by displaying the percentage of people who dropped off the site via this page. If 180 people visit our site today and you are the only person who leaves after this page, the exit rate of this page would be 0.55%. Some pages may have a high exit rate which can be the norm on pages such as a ‘Thank you for purchasing’ page on an ecommerce site, or similarly after the submission of contact forms on lead generation (lead-gen) sites. However, on some pages a high exit rate can also indicate that some content or UX optimisations are required.

Goal Completions / Event Completions

If your analytics account has ‘goals’ or ‘events’ set up, this means as well as tracking the basic metrics, we can track specific actions on your website. For example, we may want to track how many people have filled in a contact form, or clicked on your phone number to call. It is possible to track these interactions on Google Analytics at a very granular level, including where the visitor originated from, what page acquired the goal/event interaction and the percentage of people who visited the site and made one of those specific interactions (conversion rate).

Conversion Rate

The conversion rate is the number of goal completions, divided by the number of sessions on the website, expressed as a percentage. This can indicate which channels, tactics or devices led to the most favourable session outcomes.

Conversion rate examples:

150 Paid Search sessions : 5 goal completions : 3.33% conversion rate through the paid search channel

400 Organic sessions : 10 goal completions : 2.5% conversion rate through organic channels

Landing Page

This is the first page a user enters a website on, from an external channel. A Google Search for ‘graphic design huddersfield’ may take a user straight to our Branding page on this site, rather than the homepage – in this instance the landing page is our ‘Branding’ page.

Channels (organic, paid search, display, referral, direct, email, social etc)

Channels are the original source/medium of how people find and enter your website.

Organic – using a search engine result (not an ad), to click through to a website.

Paid Search – using ads displayed on a search engine result page, to click through to a website.

Display – image, GIF or video ads which appear on all types of websites as you browse the Internet, e.g. you may see an image add for BooHoo.com on the Sky Sports website.

Referral – a link to your site from another source such as a website, or an email or text (non-marketing) message someone has sent you a link in.

Direct – someone who types in your website address to enter directly

Email – link clicks from email campaigns

Social – link clicks from social media posts, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram feeds.

Source & Medium

These metrics are simply a different presentation of channel data. The key difference is that source & medium separates out the channel by the source provider and the type of link they clicked. For example, if we have ‘paid search’ channel, the source provider could be Google or Bing and the medium could be organic or paid. If the user clicked on a paid ad result on Google, the source would be Google and the medium would be CPC (paid search).

Source : Media

Google : CPC (Paid Search)

Google : Organic

Bing : Organic

Indeed.com : Referral

Instagram : Social

Note: a social platform will often appear as a referral

Search Console

Search console is a helpful Google tool that allows us to see which search queries led to a website visit, as well as other useful search tools. In order to view this, your website must have an active search console account which is linked to Google Analytics. The search console data which is available within analytics includes search query, number of clicks, number of impressions, click through rate (CTR) and your average Google ranking position (average position within Google results).

Once you start to understand these terms, you can start to use Google Analytics more efficiently and interpret the data in a way that can guide and drive your online activity


A session is a period of time a single user was actively engaged on a website. This differs from users, as it counts each individual time a single user came onto the site e.g one user might visit 5 times in a month, this would record as one user but 5 sessions.

Pages / Session

This is the number of pages a user visited within one website session.

Average Session Duration

This is the average length of a session, so essentially the average time a visitor spent on your website in one session (without being inactive for more than 30 minutes). The average session duration in the UK is between 1 minute 50 seconds and 3 minutes 43 seconds, depending on the industry and source. As you can imagine, sites such as Youtube or online clothing retailers have substantially higher session durations.

So, there you have it! Hopefully you feel more prepared to take on the world of Google, but if you’re still struggling, then get in touch! We can work with you to help get you up and running with Google Analytics and keep track of your digital presence for you.

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