Trying to find actionable data in Google Analytics can be quite daunting. By default we’re shown the absolute extremes in performance. The top performing keywords/pages/sources first, and the worst performers last. And the worst performers are are almost always once-off occurrences (or outliers, if you will) that don’t drive much traffic.
For instance, a 100% bounce rate for a keyword that’s only generated 1 visit. That data is meaningless. However, a 60% bounce rate on a page with 5000 visits is useful to know.
Thankfully you can have Analytics find this information for you by using weighted sort. Weighted sort is a feature that shows the most meaningful (or actionable) information first, by looking at more than just one metric. Weighted sort can take into account a pages popularity as well.
In the screenshot below, I’ve sorted E-Web Marketing’s website Analytics data by bounce rate (in descending order). I’m interested to see which pages of content could be improved and updated to provide a better visitor experience.
None of the items displayed here are actionable because Analytics is taking into account the bounce rate only. This is showing us pages that get so little traffic, we can’t justify changing them.
When I apply weighted sort, however, Analytics takes into account the number of visits the page has received as well as the bounce rate.
After applying weighted sort to this same data, I get a completely different set of results.
Now I can see which pages are actually deserving of attention, and I don’t have to fiddle around with single-visit outliers.
Weighted sort can be applied to all percentage based metrics in Analytics. It’s one of my favourite features to find those pages that are somewhat performing, but could still use a little tweaking. It’s a good idea to periodically check around for actionables like this, say once per month or once per quarter, depending on your traffic volumes and the goals you have for your website. More than once per fortnight and you probably won’t have enough data collected to confidently make a change.