A Guide To Page Value - The Undervalued Metric

February 22, 2018
By Donovan Ayon

We know what Pageviews are. We’ve looked at Sessions. Many of us even watch for changes in our Bounce Rate within Google Analytics, but what about Page Value? Most of us don’t know it’s there in the reports or how we can use it. I am here to shine some light on this valuable metric and I hope you can see how you can use it in your business decisions.

The Page Value metric within Google Analytics helps determine which pages are most valuable to website users, without the need to do offline analysis. This is a key metric to look at because it informs us which pages, or groups of pages, people view before completing a goal or making a transaction. Monitoring this metric can lead to redesigns to make sure that people are seeing the content they should. Your content can also be shifted to provide a better experience on the pages people are already using before a transaction or goal completion.

How Page Value is Calculated

We can see which pages get the most traffic by looking at the metrics like Pageviews (total times the page was loaded) or Unique Pageviews (sessions where this page was viewed at least once.) But if we want to see which pages are most valuable, we need to help Google Analytics understand what value means to us, on our own website. This means setting up conversions, either Goals or Ecommerce tracking on our site.

Once we have conversions, Google Analytics can start to spread out the value of those conversions over different pages that happened within the same sessions. This metric takes the value of a conversion within a session and assigns it to each of the pages that were viewed leading up to the conversion.

For example, if there is an Ecommerce conversion for $100 during a session, each page leading up to the conversion will receive this same value, because they each contributed to a conversion worth $100. This metric also adds goal values to the pages in that session. Adding to the previous example, there could be an Ecommerce conversion for $100 and a goal completion valued at $10 during a session, so each page leading up to the two conversions will receive $110 in credit.

Below is a visualization of this concept, thanks to the Google Support Docs:

This calculation is based on unique pageviews, which is the number of sessions during which that page was viewed at least one time. For example, a user could load the home page of a website multiple times during a single session as they navigate to different sections. No matter the number of total pageviews on the homepage in this session, there will still be one Unique Pageview.

So each page gets a value, which is equal to the total conversion amount divided by its unique pageviews.

See the linked support docs for on Unique Pageviews and Page Value for more detail.

Observations in The Google Merchandise Store Data

Let’s see what the public Google Analytics data from the Google Merchandise Store tells us. The screenshot below is from the All Pages report for January 2018.

If we look to the column on the far right, we can see the page value associated with each page. Looking at row #4 for Men’s Apparel, we can see a Page Value of $4.69. Perhaps we should drill into the Women’s Apparel and compare!

Looking at some of the higher values in the Page Value metric, we will probably see things that make a lot of sense, like the checkout pages, the basket, and the signin pages. Sorting this table by Page Value will give you similar results, which isn’t very helpful when making business decisions. What’s really interesting are the pages that show up near the top (when sorted by value) that are not checkout pages. In the Merchandise Store, those belong to the Nest Thermostat and alarm products. This should also make sense for their site because those products cost far more than the water bottles, pens, and tee shirts available on their site. You can see the table below with this information.

This metric can be helpful when looking at one or several pages to see which precedes more revenue on average, but we can get more from it. Let’s apply this metric to content groupings. If you do not already have them configured, make them!

Content Groupings and Observations

If we view the Page Value metric when applied to content groupings, we can see which groups of pages were viewed before a conversion instead of just individual pages. When looking at Content Groupings, we look at the Unique Views within a Content Grouping. This means that five (for example) different pages can be viewed within a single grouping, and the grouping would receive one Unique View.

The Google Merchandise Store has three content groupings: Brands, Product Categories, and Clothing by Gender. We are going to focus on Product Categories because it has more material that we are used to seeing. For example, within Product Categories, we can see Electronics, Drinkware, Office, Apparel, Accessories, and more.

Within the All Pages report, we can change the Primary Dimension to a Content Grouping by selecting it from the top of the data table, as shown above, and you can see how it affects the table below.

This now lets us focus on new information. We can confirm that the Nest product pages are very valuable, which is a factor of their relative price to other products in the store, but we can also see that on average, the Office related products pages precede more revenue than many of the other categories available.

So, That’s Cool, But Now What?

Use it! Look at your own pages and look at them individually first. If there are pages that you want to be highlighted more before converting, I would suggest changing the way that people are led to them. You can also play to what is already doing well for your site. For example, if a couple pages are doing really well, think of ways to get more people there. Could you start running ads for individual products or services for pages, and use those relevant and well-performing pages as landing pages?

Prep For Changes/Migrations

One of the best uses of Page Value is preparing for a major change, like a new website migration. Which pages are the most valuable on your site and require the most attention? Again – look for those ‘outside-the-funnel’ pages that are valuable but not necessarily obvious. These are ones that need special attention during a migration!

Compare Before and After Changes

Are you introducing any new logic to your site? Different pages or resources that you anticipate playing an important role in a user’s decision to purchase? This is a helpful benchmark to understand, with data, whether or not your new or changed pages are in fact being viewed before a conversion.