Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Start by articulating your objectives, then determine your metrics.
For example, if your objective is to generate ad revenue, how do advertisers actually determine value? What metrics are they looking at?
Let's walk through a few metrics that might make good key performance indicators or KPIs for a content site. In this video, we'll discuss pages per session, pages per user, and repeated users.
Pages per session
Users who consume more content are more likely to see more ads. Pages per session is a standard Google Analytics metric that's commonly used to measure this type of engagement.
Let's see how this looks in the interface:
Here, we're in our Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels report, and if we scroll down to our table, we'll see that pages per session, right here, overall for our site has a 1.28, which means that each session is seeing 1.28 pages for every session.
If we look at our first line though, "Referral", it's actually 1.58, which means that sessions coming from a referral channel are engaging with more pages per session than the overall average of the site.
Pages per user
While pages per session is a standard engagement metric, pages per user may actually be more interesting.
For example, your marketing team may also be interested in how much it costs to acquire a valuable user, not just a session. Now this is not a standard metric, but you can use calculated metrics to create it. Calculated metrics are user-defined metrics that are computed from existing metrics.
You can use a calculated metric in a segment or in a custom report the same way you would use any other metric. Let me show you how you can create and use this in the interface.
So, if we switch over to our Admin section, we're here in our View settings, under Calculated metrics. You'll see this big red button that says Add New Calculated Metric. I can click that to create a new one, but I've actually gone ahead and created this one already, so if I click on "Pages per user", we'll open up the settings to take a look.
You can see here I gave this a name of Pages per user, and that name is going to auto-populate an external name for the API. I'm going to leave this formatting type as float, and then the last step is to type our formula. I'm just going to go ahead and type this again so you can see how easy it is. So if I start typing "Pageviews", it's going to auto-populate and because it's per user we are dividing by users.
Now all I have to do is click "Save" and I have my new calculated metric.
But what does pages per user actually mean? Are more pages per user desirable or undesirable? For example, if you're a help center, it may be undesirable because as a help center, you want to direct people to the content that matters, get them the answers they need, and get them out as fast as possible, so you may want to have less pages per user. But if you are a content site, more pages per user may actually be a success indicator for your business.
For a more complete picture, let's discuss one more metric you may want to use, which is repeated users. When people come back to your site repeatedly, we may conclude that they enjoy your site, or that they're getting value from your site, or that they are a high-value customer for your business. While users and new users are standard metrics, repeated users is not, so we can use a calculated metric to create this one too.
Let's go ahead and look at this in the interface.
We're still here on our Calculated metrics screen, and this time I'm going to go ahead and click on "Create new calculated metric". I'm going to give this a name of "Repeated users", and as you can see it auto-populated that external name for the API, and this time I'm going to change the formatting type to integer. And the final step is to type my formula.
Repeated Users is a pretty easy one. This is going to be users minus our new users. And then all I have to do is hit create and I have my new calculated metric, which I can then use across segments and custom reports, just like any other metric.