Introduction

Key metrics is the first section of the Site Kit dashboard that you can tailor to show the top metrics most relevant to your site’s goals. You can answer three simple questions to get a suggested list of metrics, or select your own metrics right away. Additional metrics for selection will be added in future plugin updates. If you have any suggestions for future metrics for Site Kit, feel free to share them via the Site Kit support forum.

Setup

Key metrics are available in the Site Kit dashboard beginning November 29, 2023. A key metrics notification banner will display on the dashboard, prompting initial setup and configuration. Key metrics can also be set up from the Analytics settings.

The key metrics banner displayed on the dashboard
Key metrics notification banner

If you choose the Maybe later option, you will be informed that you can set up key metrics anytime from the Site Kit settings. Instructions on how to set up key metrics from Site Kit Settings can be found below.

Set up goals later message

To get tailored metrics selected for you by Site Kit, you will need to answer three questions to help Site Kit better understand your site’s goals. If you would prefer to select your own metrics, you can make your own selections in Site Kit Settings. 

The first question asks about the main purpose of your site. You can select only one answer for this question before selecting the Next button to progress.

Key metrics question one

Question two seeks to find out how often you create new content for your site. You can select only one answer for this question before selecting the Next button to progress. You can also choose to return to question one if you wish to change your answer by clicking on the Back button.

Key metrics question two

The third and final question asks what the top goals for your site are. You can select up to three answers for this question with a minimum of one needed to progress. To review all of your question responses, click on the Review button. You can also choose to return to question two if you wish to change your answer by clicking on the Back button.

Key metrics question three

Once you have answered the three questions, you will be given the opportunity to review your answers. To change any of your question answers, click on the edit dropdown for that question. You can edit one question at a time. To edit another question, close the edit dropdown for the current question you are editing. You will also be given the chance to share your thoughts on the questions and options available via a survey some time after setting up key metrics. 

Editing a question answer

Once you have answered and finished editing all the questions, click on the Save button. You can also choose to go back to the question setup workflow by clicking on the Back button, which will take you back to question three.

Key metrics review screen

Once saved, you will be directed back to the Site Kit dashboard, where you will see the key metrics section at the top of the dashboard populated with tiles. These tiles display suggested metrics that are relevant to your site based on your responses to the three questions. If you selected ‘Other’ for your answers, you will see a default set of metrics. These metrics can be changed by selecting Change Metrics.

Dashboard displaying the key metrics tiles after setup

Selecting Change Metrics will display the metrics selection panel. This panel shows a list of your current selected metrics along with all other available metrics. You can select a maximum of four metrics and a minimum of two. You will also find a shortcut to Site Kit Settings, where you can edit your personalized goals or remove key metrics from the dashboard. 

The metrics selection panel

Once you have selected the metrics you wish to use, click on the Apply changes button. If you wish to keep your current metrics, select Cancel.

Selecting metrics from the metrics selection panel

If you select fewer than four metrics, you will see some tiles on the dashboard with an Add a metric option. Clicking on these will open the metrics selection panel to choose more metrics for the key metrics widget.

The Add a metric option

Key metrics and custom dimensions

Some key metrics tiles require the creation of custom dimensions within your site’s associated Analytics property. These metrics are not measured in Analytics by default, but Site Kit can track them for you by creating custom dimensions, including:

  • Top recent trending pages
  • Top categories by pageviews
  • Most popular authors by pageviews

If the required custom dimensions do not exist when choosing one of these metrics from the selection panel, you will see a notice explaining that the metric selected requires more data tracking. This notice also explains that Site Kit will update your Analytics property on your behalf after you save your selection. Click on the Apply changes button to proceed.

Key metric requires more data tracking

To grant the necessary permissions for Site Kit to create the necessary custom dimension(s), select the Google account associated with the connected Analytics property. 

Choose your Google account

Select Continue to grant the necessary additional access to your Google account to create the custom dimension(s).

Grant the additional permissions

Once permission is granted, you will be returned to the Site Kit dashboard with your newly selected key metric displayed. 

NOTE: Data will only begin to be tracked and populated after the required associated custom dimensions have been created. As a result, you may not initially see data in the associated  tiles if the custom dimensions were recently created or were created for you by Site Kit.

If you choose not to grant the necessary permissions to create the required custom dimension(s), you will be returned to the dashboard and see the selected tile with a No data to show message. Click on Update to select your Google account and grant the permissions. You can also choose to remove or replace the metric from the selection panel. 

Key metric tile No data to show message

Key metric tiles

The table below explains each key metric tile in more detail.

Metric title Metric description  Source Screenshot Example
Least engaging pages Pages with the highest percentage of visitors that left without engagement with your site This displays the pages with the least amount of engagement. These are obtained from the bounceRate and screenPageViews metrics. 

Data source: Analytics
Returning visitors Portion of people who visited your site more than once This is calculated by checking the newVsReturning value and subtracting new users (leaving “return users”, users with 1 or more previous sessions)

Data source: Analytics
Most engaged traffic source Visitors coming via this channel spent the most time on your site This ranks the different traffic sources (sessionDefaultChannelGroup) by the number of engaged sessions (engagedSessions) to show the one with highest ratio of engaged sessions (engagementRate)

Data source: Analytics
Most engaging pages Pages with the highest engagement rate This displays the pages with the highest engagement rate. These are obtained from the engaementRate and screenPageViews metrics.

Data source: Analytics
Most popular authors by pageviews Authors whose posts got the most visits
Note: This metric requires custom dimensions 
This displays the authors posts that received the most visits. This is obtained from the screenPageViews metric and the googlesitekit_post_author custom dimension added by Site Kit.

Data source: Analytics
Most popular content by pageviews Pages that brought in the most visitors This displays the three pages with highest overall traffic by pageviews, ignoring the homepage. This can also be found in the Site Kit Content section. This is obtained from the screenPageViews metric.

Data source: Analytics
Most popular products by pageviews Products that brought in the most visitors For ecommerce sites, this checks for custom post types for products (excluding the homepage) and pulls the top three with highest traffic. 

Data source: Analytics (requires the site to have a product post type)
New visitors How many new visitors you got and how the overall audience changed This shows the number of new users (newVsReturning). Additionally, it shows the growth percentage for the overall audience (activeUsers) for the given time period.

Data source: Analytics
Pages per visit Number of pages visitors viewed per session on average This displays the number of pageviews per session and the total number of sessions. These are obtained from the screenPageViewsPerSession and screenPageViews metrics.

Data source: Analytics
Top pages by returning visitors Pages that attracted the most returning visitors This displays the pages that attracted the most returning visitors.This is obtained from the activeUsers metric filtered by returning value of the newVsReturning dimension.

Data source: Analytics
Top categories by pageviews Categories from your site visitors viewed the most
Note: This metric requires custom dimensions 
This displays the most viewed categories by visitors to your site. This is obtained from the screenPageViews metric and the googlesitekit_post_categories custom dimension added by Site Kit.

Data source: Analytics
Top performing keywords What people searched for before they came to your site This pulls the top three search queries with the highest clickthrough rate (CTR) via the Search Console API.

Data source: Search Console
Top recent trending pages Pages with the most pageviews published in the last 3 days
Note: This metric requires custom dimensions 
This displays the pages with the most pageviews that have been published in the last three days. This is obtained from the screenPageViews metric in combination with the googlesitekit_post_date custom dimension added by Site Kit .

Data source: Analytics
Top cities driving traffic  Which cities you get the most visitors from This displays the top 3 cities with the most traffic.

Data source: Analytics
Top converting traffic source Channel which brought in the most visits that resulted in conversions If your site has conversions set up, this checks which traffic source (sessionDefaultChannelGroup) has the sessions with the most conversions (sessionConversionRate). 

Data source: Analytics
Top countries driving traffic Which countries you get the most visitors from This displays the top three countries with the most traffic.
Data source: Analytics
Top traffic source Channel which brought in the most visitors to your site This shows the single traffic source (sessionDefaultChannelGroup) with the highest percentage of total traffic (e.g. social, search, etc.)

Data source: Analytics
Visit length Average duration of engaged visits This displays the average duration of sessions and the total number of sessions. These are obtained from the averageSessionDuration and sessions metrics.

Data source: Analytics
Visits per visitor Average number of sessions per site visitor This displays the average number of sessions per visitor and the total number of sessions. These are obtained from the sessionsPerUser and sessions metrics.

Data source: Analytics
Top earning pages Pages that generated the most AdSense revenue This shows pages that generated the most AdSense revenue. This is obtained from the totalAdRevenue metric.

Data source: Analytics & AdSense. These need to be linked.

Comparing metrics

Total users vs. active users 

Most of the key metrics are calculated using the totalUsers metric in Google Analytics. The Returning visitors and New Visitors metrics, however, are calculated based upon the activeUsers metric, which is the primary user metric for Google Analytics 4. This difference could result in minor discrepancies between the data that you see in the Site Kit dashboard compared to the data in your Google Analytics dashboard. More details on the differences between totalUsers and activeUsers are available in this Google Analytics guide.

In addition, Site Kit shows all users, including any who were not engaged, while Google Analytics shows only the engaged users by default. This is explained further in the [UA→GA4] Comparing metrics: Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics guide.

New vs. returning visitors

New visitors are users that are navigating to your site for the first time on a specific device. Returning visitors are users that have visited your site before. 

When viewing your metrics, new visitors plus returning visitors will likely not equal total visitors This is because it is common for a single visitor to visit a site multiple times depending on the length of the reporting period, meaning the visitor wil be “counted” as both new and returning.

The higher the total of new plus returning visitors, the more return sessions your visitors are making. If the number of new plus returning visitors for your site is similar to your number of total visitors, it means that most of your visitors have only one session with your site. If you have any questions about the metrics displayed in Site Kit, please open a support topic in the Site Kit forum.

Disconnecting Analytics 

Most  key metrics tiles require Analytics to be connected. If Analytics is disconnected, you will see the Google Analytics is disconnected message. You can reconnect Analytics using the Connect Google Analytics button.

Key metrics Analytics is disconnected message

When Analytics is disconnected, the Key metrics widget on the Site Kit dashboard, will still display ny key metric tile(s) that do not require Analytics data, alongside the Google Analytics is disconnected message. You can reconnect Analytics using the Connect Analytics button.

Available key metric tiles and Analytics is disconnected message

If you try to change metrics after disconnecting Analytics, all metrics listed in the selection panel that require Analytics will show an ‘Analytics is disconnected, no data to show’ message. Additionally, any metric listed in the selection panel that requires Analytics and was not already pre-selected will not be selectable until Analytics is re-connected.

Key metrics selection panel after disconnecting Analytics

Settings

In addition to being set up via the banner in the Site Kit dashboard, Key metrics can also be configured from Site Kit > Settings > Admin Settings by selecting Personalize your metrics.

Key metrics section from Admin Settings before key metrics setup

You will then be taken through the three questions as explained above in the Setup section of this guide. 

Once metrics have been configured, a toggle to turn on/off the display of key metrics in the dashboard will become available in Admin Settings. Switching the toggle off will remove the key metrics section from the dashboard. You can display your key metrics once more by switching the toggle on.

After setup, you will also be able to see the three questions and answers you provided for the key metrics setup here.

Key metrics review screen from Admin Settings

To edit a question, click on the Edit dropdown button for that question. If you are editing question 1, you will be able to see who the question was answered by. Question 1 is site-wide and answering question 1 changes the response for all users of the site. Answers to questions 2 and 3 are specific to the user. The responses for these questions are stored per user and changing them does not affect other users.

Once you have changed your answer(s), click on the Confirm Changes button or Cancel to cancel editing without saving any changes.

Editing a question from Admin Settings