Useful Terms to know for Google Analytics and AdWords


The method in which visitors arrive at your website. Such as directly, or through a referral.

Average Session Duration

This measures how long a visitor will remain on your website on average. A longer duration can indicate that your website is more engaging.

Bounce Rate

This term is used to measure the percentage of visitors that visit your site, and immediately leave without interacting. They’ll only see the page that they land on.


A counter for the number of times someone has clicked on your advert in Google AdWords to visit your site. While indicative of website visits, be sure to compare with other terms, such as bounce rate, to really see how many people are making substantial visits.


A trigger that is fulfilled once an outcome is achieved, by an action or event is completed by a visitor, such as clicking a book now button, making a purchase, or even filling out a contact form.

Cost Data

A collection of data that can hold cost values of third-party PPC campaigns and other external sources of traffic flow, which can be imported to be reported on with Google Analytics.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

A percentage value that represents how often visitors click on your advert after it has been displayed. For example a CTR of 1% means that for every 100 adverts that have been displayed, 1 person has clicked on the ad to visit your site. The better and more relevant an ad is, the higher the CTR will be.

Custom Report

A report that can be saved, that has a series of custom settings, either built by yourself or imported from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery, that has a selection of custom dimensions and metrics, to provide easy access to the information that you need, without having to search through Google Analytics repeatedly.


Within Google Analytics & AdWords, dimensions are used to describe what is being measured. Each dimension will have a set of metrics (see below) that define it’s individual values for each metric, but the dimensions themselves are compared to each other. For example, a dimension may be a country that visitors have visited from. Country will be the dimension, and associated values for each country, such as number of visitors, bounce rates, clicks, and so on.

Direct Traffic

Traffic that has arrived at your site directly, by a visitor typing in your website’s address URL, or by visiting your site via a bookmark that has been saved.


This is a report within Google Analytics that displays transaction data and information that has taken place on your website. It is fairly detailed, and can display information such as revenue, including sales and tax, time taken to purchase, average number of purchases and the performance of your sales. It can even let you know the number o f sessions taken to purchase, in the event a visitor has left and returned in different sessions.


An event is an interaction that the user makes while visiting your website. Unlike just loading a web page for a page view, these interactions are actions that occur on the page itself, and can be tracked by Google Analytics. Some examples would be playing a video, downloading a file, clicking on an advert, interacting with a widget or nearly anything else that the user can do without leaving the page.

Exit Rate

For every page on your website, the exit rate is recorded, which is a percentage, indicating when each specific page was the last page of any session. For example if you had a thank you page, after the user had made a purchase, knowing the exit rate (the percentage of users leaving your website from that page) would tell you if visitors leave right away, or return to shop or browse other products on your website.


Sometimes, you don’t need to see all of the data available at once, and would prefer to see a subset of that data. Filters are views that can be applied to data, to filter out non-relevant data, so that you see a concise set of information. A large number of filters are available, for example, you can filter a visitors’ location by country, region or specific city. It is possible to see all traffic that came from only London and Glasgow, rather than all towns and cities in the UK.


This is a configurable setting that you can apply to track an action that has value to you, such as a conversion, on your website. They are used to measure the effectiveness of such actions on your site, such as evaluating costs. There are various types of goals, such as completing an event, or visiting your site for at least a specified duration of time.

Goal Flow

A report in Google Analytics, that displays the path that traffic took through your website, to reach a goal. This can be used to optimise your website and improve navigation if required.


Whenever one of your adverts is shown on Google or the Google Search Network, it counts as an impression. There are certain special situations when impressions will be counted when not displaying your full ad, but in general an impression is counted when google have shown enough of your advert (either by size or time) to convey the information to a customer.


Used within Google AdWords, as words or phrases (search terms) that have operators applied to them, and are bidded on to display your advert when someone searches for them. Using the correct keywords, and by excluding irrelevant keywords (negatives), you can have your advert display with as much relevance as possible to what someone has searched for.

Landing Page

The first page that a visitor will see when arriving at your website, the point of entry for their visit. This is usually the homepage, but can be others depending on acquisition, such as an AdWords advert pointing to a specific service page, or a search engine result showing a more relevant page of your website.


A metric is used to describe a value that can be measured, against a dimension (see above). This is usually the descriptions of data values, such as bounce rate, pages per visit, average time on site, etc, and this is applied to each dimension.

New Sessions

This is a metric that displays… FINISH

Paid Traffic

This kind of traffic occurs when a visitor reaches your website after interacting with an object that you have paid for, such as an advert distributed by AdWords, or a display banner on a site that links to your own.


A value that counts the number of pages a visitor visits within a single sessions (i.e. not leaving your website while moving pages), the higher this value is the more captivated the visitor has been while visiting.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

PPC is a form of online advertising, with the intention of displaying adverts to the right people, in order to drive traffic to websites. You only pay the cost of a click, if someone actually clicks on your advert to visit your website.

Quality Score

Google AdWords provides this score to your keywords, based on how relevant the keyword itself is to it’s associated advert, and where clicking on the advert will take you (landing page of the website). Initially, when a new keyword is created, it is given a predicted value (based on Google’s formula) and after time it may rise or fall based on the real click-through data.

Referral Traffic/Referring Sites

Traffic that comes from another website (containing a link to your own) is known as referral traffic, a traffic source. Referring sites are displayed in Google Analytics to show you what website that the traffic came from.

Search Engines

Search engines are tools used to obtain a list of websites based on the keywords that a user searches on. For Google Analytics, they are referred to as organic traffic sources, where a user has entered the name of your website, and through a search engine results page, has clicked on your website to visit. Examples of these are Google, Bing and Yahoo, and a number of other search engines exist.


When a visitor visits your website, a session begins. It is a collection of all of their interactions with your site, including events, page views and page loads, within a reasonable time frame. Each session will count as one “visit” to your website, and this is so that a single visitor cannot trigger multiple visits by simply browsing your website.

Session Duration

For every session that occurs on your website, the time the visitor spends on your website is tracked, and marked as session duration. This information can be used to see how captivating your website is, showing that visitors continue interacting and visiting pages during their session. If session duration is very short, something on your website may be off-putting.

Tracking Code

This is a small snippet of code, that you have contained in your website, that allows Google Analytics to track information and gather data from your website. If in HTML, it will have to be on each page of your website, for GA to track data. If you use Google Tag Manager, it will have to be in your website’s container, to be able to gather data.


The URL is the Uniform Resource Identifier, or more commonly known as the Web Address. All the different pages of your website will have their own URL (i.e., or to uniquely identify each page with it’s own address. It is used in Google Analytics also, to identify interactions and data for each page on your website, and for showing you other information such as the URL of referrals, so you can see where visitors came from on the world wide web.


One of the most common terms you will come across in Google Analytics, a visitor is a user that has navigated (through any means) to your website, and has it open in his/her browser. As they arrive, they start a new “session”, and while staying within the pages of your site, they are visiting. If they navigate away from your website, they will stop visiting, and their session will end.