The Musician's Guide to Basic Analytics: Top 5 Metrics You Need to Know

Posted by Tyler Allen on Aug 20, 2015 11:00 AM
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Brands invest lots of money, and even dedicate entire jobs, to engaging with, viewing, and gathering analytics. And since your band is your brand, you too should get familiar with analytics and how they can help.

Managing your digital presence is part entertainment and part strategy. You have to have a steady balance of each; some of this is incorporating a mix of content or investing in advertising, but there are also operational tweaks that you may have to make altogether to increase user flow, click rates, and more.

No matter which analytics tool you use (Google Analytics, Wordpress Site Stats, StatCounter), you're always going to be met with the same few metrics to help determine who's looking at your content and how successfully it engages your visitors. In this article, we'll be looking at those measurement tools and how they apply to your work in music, and we'll tell you exactly where to find the stats in Google Analytics.

1. Unique users

Where to find it: Audience > Overview

Unique users is different from just visits. When you see "unique users" in your analytics, it refers to individual people who've come to your site. So if I go to your site five times a day, I'm still only one unique user. Even though your page views or general visitor stats may show that I was there five times, unique users show that I am just one person visiting your site.

Why it's important

For an artist, having info on your unique users is vital.This gives you a realistic look at how many people are visiting your website. Not that page views don't matter (you likely want someone to visit your site a few times), but it demonstrates how many individuals are looking at your content and, thus, are learning about your music.

It's especially important to look at during a press campaign, launch, or a big booking push, since it's a great way to accurately judge just how many people are checking out your music as a result of the interview you gave that blog, your Kickstarter campaign, your newsletter, etc.

2. Bounce rate

Where to find it: Audience > Overview

"Bounce rate" is a great analytical term to get familiar with. It simply means the rate at which people visit a page on your site and then "bounce," or leave, without interacting with the page in any way or visiting any other page on your site.

Why it's important

As an artist, you want a low bounce rate; you want folks to stay on your page for a long time. (According to a study by GoRocketFuel, an average bounce rate is 49 percent, so try to keep it below that – the lower the bounce rate, the better!) You want them to enter your site, check out your music and media pages, even ultimately end up at that merch page to make a purchase. If your bounce rate is high (meaning fans are going to your page and immediately leaving), ask yourself why. Is your homepage unattractive, is your navigation confusing, or is your content just plain bad? Try switching up your design or content and see if it makes a difference in your bounce rate.

[6 Crucial Website Tips for Freelance Musicians]

3. Referral traffic

Where to find it: Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals

Looking at your referral traffic will tell you which websites are driving traffic to your website. Common referrers for musicians' websites include social media pages, EPKs, and online press. 

Why it's important

Referral traffic stats give you important insight on how people are finding your website, which allows you to adjust your online strategy accordingly. For example, let's say folks are often hitting your site from Twitter – try focusing on amping up your Twitter following to really capitalize on that. On the flip side, if you notice that referral traffic from a certain site isn't quite achieving its full potential, be sure to give that channel some more love, too.

4. Page views

Where to find it: Audience > Overview

Page views are, very simply, the total number of pages viewed on your website. Note that repeated views of a single page are counted in this stat.

Why it's important

This is a straightforward way to see which pages are most popular on your website. If you're trying to get more people on your merch page, for instance, see how its page views are currently doing, and then try to find ways to get more views – perhaps by bumping up your social media content or trying out paid ads. Or it could be as simple as making a link to the page more prevalent in your site's navigation bar.

5. Search queries

Where to find it: Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries

Yup, you guessed it – these are the terms people search when they stumble upon your site.

Why it's important

If people are finding your band by googling "alt post-punk band NYC," you're doing something right and should include those search terms in more content and meta tags in order to increase SEO traffic. But if your search terms are off the wall, you can learn to streamline or tweak the terminology on your site.

[An Intro to SEO for Musicians: How to Optimize Your Band's Website in 7 Steps]


It's easy to get overwhelmend with all of the various drilldowns and features that Google Analytics offers, but at the end of the day, these five basic metrics are all you really need to keep an eye on your music and your growth.


As a music marketing strategist, Tyler Allen works with an extensive array of artists, labels, music tech, and music retail entities. Tyler began his music industry career with Sony Music Entertainment and RED Distribution, as well as the advertising industry. He is dedicated to giving veteran artists the tools to preserve their legacy, and new artists the tools to begin theirs (as well as everything in between). Learn more at

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Topics: website, Digital & Tech, Music Business 101


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