Quantitative UX in Google Analytics : Metrics That Matter for Users

quantitative ux

When should you care about quantitative UX research?

That’s an interesting question. You can get great insights from Google Analytics to help your analysis. Quantitative metrics help you optimize user experience in the following cases:

  • When profiling your audience or building personas
  • When face-to-face sessions are not possible
  • The importance of anonymity in research
  • When resources and lead time are limited

But there’s a problem with digital analytics

quantitative data: many ux designers fear data.
Many UX designers fear quantitative data. Lack of knowledge is holding you back from gathering quantitative feedback.

Sometimes, instinct and qualitative research seem more natural. Customers are people after all, not data.  And yet, you need to feel comfortable with quantitative data, not just qualitative data. Google Analytics is a calculator, it doesn’t replace you. Quantitative researchers should be complimentary to your other research methods. Mixed methods will often involve knowing how to keep users happy, even when it comes to technical elements like load time. You can gain actionable insights from Google Analytics as a UX expert. Invest some time in getting familiar with the GA interface to get the best of it.

Qualitative (the WHY) vs Quantitative Research (the WHAT)

Don’t bring an opinion to a data fight. So, how do you get started with quantitative research? Pick the right metrics. Choose metrics that are easily understood and help guide decision making. If you are wondering what a metric is, let’s take a second to bring you up to speed. If we are talking about the adjective, it’s related to the metric system. This is not our topic today. From a technical standpoint, a metric is a system or standard of measurement. That’s what we care about. A metric is not an objective.

A metric is a quantitative measurement of your data.

If you want to measure your progress, your performance, your success: you have to pick the right metrics. An objective would be to lose weight. A metric to measure your progress would be kilograms. If your weight goes down by x amount of kilos, you know you are on track. This is the example I was told many moons ago. One of my personal metrics is cost per wear. I can buy clothing that is expensive, so long as I wear it long enough to reach my personal target of 3$ per wear. If my dress is 100$, I would need to wear it around 33 times to reach my goal. After that, I no longer feel guilty if I want to donate it or if I simply don’t want to wear it again. It helps me keep my wardrobe under control.

Here is a quick rundown of some of the key metrics that you have in Google Analytics:

  • Bounce rate
  • Page views
  • New visitors vs returning visitors
  • Sessions

Let’s look at how to add quantitative data to your personas

What’s my age again?

Google Ads age and gender reports

There is a report for this. You can go in Google Analytics and find some information. Where does this information come from? Google Ads. Google Ads is an advertising platforms that tracks a lot of data, including age and gender. If you share your data with the platform (you have to agree to it, it is not done by default), you can get data for your visitors. This is very useful in some cases and in others, you won’t care about it. Me? I was very confused when I saw most of my audience were women of varying ages. Why? Because I was advertising for sleep apnea products for men over 40 years old. Turns out that when someone snores really loud, it’s often the person hearing the snoring that calls the clinic!

How do they find your website?

Turns out that you can start identifying some common trends right in Google Analytics. Here is what I like to look into when trying to figure out what my visitors do and think about before they land in my website:

  • Marketing channels: what channels are best to reach them?
  • What they like and what they shop for
  • The top landing pages
  • etc.

Trends and search intent

My favorite free tools to figure this out are : Google autocomplete, Google Trends and Google Search Console

Want to look at the entire poutine?