Developed for both beginner and seasoned Google Analytics users, this glossary provides the most up-to-date definitions for common Google Analytics terms in 2015. Because Google continually makes updates to their Analytics software and user interface, reviewing the current definitions for Analytics metrics and the latest useful features is fundamental to taking advantage of your data.

20 Google Analytics Terms Defined


Regardless of whether or not you run an ecommerce website, you may see this character (the em dash) show up as a value in your Spend and Conversions data. It means there is no cost value available to report. This may occur because you haven’t uploaded any cost data, or your conversion goals do not carry a monetary value, as would be the case for an email sign-up conversion, for example.

Assist Interaction:

Part of the Assisted Conversion process, an “assist interaction” refers to any channel included in a visitor’s path to conversion that is not the first or last interaction.

Average Position:

This number indicates the average ranking of your website URL in the search results for a given search query.

Bounce Rate:

Reminiscent of the slang term “bounce” (leave, go, get out), a bounce occurs when a visitor enters your site and then leaves without clicking to view any other pages. The visitor saw only one page and bounced. Therefore, the “bounce rate” is the percentage of your site visitors who bounced out.


This is typically the first thing you see after logging into Analytics. The dashboard interface displays a collection of widgets to show you an overview of the metrics that are most important to you. Custom dashboards can be created for quick, easy access to the data you need.

Direct Traffic:

These are visitors who entered your website by typing the web address directly into the browser bar or by using a bookmark for your site that was stored in their browser.


An entrance occurs when a visitor enters your site and begins a new session. Entrances differ from visits in that only one entrance can occur during a session, while multiple visits may occur during a single session. (Multiple visits can occur if, for example, a visitor enters the site but ignores it for 20 minutes, and then goes back to interact with the same page, creating a new visit yet not a new entrance or session.)


An exit occurs when a site visitor closes out of your website and ends the session. The total number of exits should equal the total number of entrances.

First Interaction:

A specific type of “assist interaction,” the “first interaction” refers to the first channel a visitor used to enter your site when progressing toward the final assisted conversion.

Intelligence Events:

The Intelligence Events tab in the Google Analytics interface shows you daily anomalies in your data, so that you can make intelligent marketing decisions. Basically, this feature does all the analytical work for you and tells you exactly what data you should be paying attention to.

Landing Page:

Also known as the “entrance page,” this is the first page a visitor “lands” on upon entering your website and starting a new session.

Last Interaction:

Part of the Assisted Conversion process, this label indicates the channel your converting visitor used last in the process, immediately before completing their conversion.

Organic Traffic:

These visitors were referred to your website by unpaid (or natural) search engine results from search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc. Also known as unpaid traffic.


Anytime someone views a page on your website, that view is counted as a pageview. Even when a visitor views the page multiple times in a session, each refreshed view is counted as one pageview.

PageSpeed Score:

Located under Site Speed Suggestions in the Analytics interface, the PageSpeed Score metric gives a webpage a score from 0-100 for its load time, with 100 as the best score and 0 as the worst. The score does not indicate an actual speed measurement, but represents how much you can improve the page’s load time.


This refers to the period of time that one visitor spends actively engaging with your website. A session automatically times out after a customizable set length of time (with the default set at 30 minutes). Therefore, a new session can begin either when a visitor first enters your site, or when a visitor reengages with the site after an activity timeout has occurred.


This dual metric tells you both the channel type (source) and the specific channel (medium) a visitor used to enter your site.

Time On Site:

This refers to the amount of time a visitor spent on your site in one session. Known as an arguably unreliable metric to follow in Google Analytics, the problem with this metric is the way it’s calculated, because Google doesn’t count the time a visitor spends on the last page in their session. For example, if you spend 5 minutes on Page A, then 10 minutes on Page B, then 5 minutes on Page C, and then you close out of the site, Google will calculate the total “time on site” as 15 minutes rather than the full 20 minutes.

Unique Pageview:

Unlike the more generic term “pageview”, the “unique pageview” metric counts only one pageview per page per visitor per session. For example, if a visitor clicks to Page A, then clicks to Page B, and finally clicks back to Page A, the number of “unique pageviews” for Page A will total only 1, while the number of generic “pageviews” will total 2.

Unique Visitor:

Also known as a “new visitor”, this term represents a website visitor who theoretically has not visited your website before. Technically, it’s a visitor whose computer does not have an existing cookie from your site and needs a new one. Each unique visitor to your site will be given a computer cookie with a unique ID (unless they block cookies). As long as the cookie is not deleted from the computer, anyone who visits your website through that computer in the future will be identified as the same “returning visitor”, no longer a “unique visitor”.


In basic terms, a visitor is a person (more accurately, a computer) who visits your website. Visitors are categorized as either “new” (a.k.a “unique”) or “returning”. This categorization is possible because each visitor is identified by a unique ID given to them by Google Analytics and stored in their computer as a cookie. If a person deletes their cookie, the next time they visit your site they will be seen as a new visitor and given a new cookie with a new ID.

Did I Leave Something Out?

If you’d like to have another Google Analytics term defined, or you’re having trouble making heads or tails of your analytics data, leave a comment so that Connectivity can help you. The experts here talk Google Analytics terms and strategy all the time, and they would love to show you a few tricks. (They might also slip in a mention about Connectivity’s advanced analytics tool called Customer Insights, which is awesome to hear about whether you want to use it yourself or not.)

Maybe you’ve got a bunch of questions, but you’re not really sure what to ask? Take a look at Connectivity’s other recent blogs on Google Analytics for more info, including the 7 Basic Google Analytics Metrics to Track for Success. We’re doing a whole series this month on web analytics in general, so recent posts are packed with fresh, up-to-date advice on Google Analytics and other tracking methods for online marketing.

Connectivity is dedicating the month of October to all things analytic. Check back throughout the month for more information!

Kayla Eide is a contributor to the Connectivity blog.