Everything that happens at the Top of the Funnel has one objective: to acquire new visitors to your website. This  includes adding new content on your blog, investing in paid advertising strategies, and any other marketing strategy that sends people to your website. Each of these activities has a purpose of getting more people to your site to view your content.  

Before we dive into the key metrics to track in the TOF, let me cover a cover basic assumptions that I'm making:

1. I'm assuming you have Google Analytics (GA for short) set up for your site. It's okay if you're not using it, as long as it's tracking visitors, you should be covered.

2. I'm also assuming you're picking date ranges that work well for your particular business model. Some small businesses track metrics on a monthly basis, and other larger companies prefer to track metrics on a weekly basis. ​Whichever is the case for you, remember to stay consistent throughout the data collection process. 

Let's take a look at four Key Metrics to help us track and analyze the Top of Funnel.

TOF Key Metric: Total  Visitors

Website visitors are the lifeblood of your business. This metric is important for business growth because it's the gasoline that makes the engine run. We want to see a consistent and steady increase in total visitors so we can be sure we're growing an audience that we can nurture and hopefully convert to new customers as they move through the marketing funnel. 

Where & How  to Find This Metric

Terminology to note: Users in GA = Visitors​.

The Total Visitors metric is a Total Count number, and we'll use Google Analytics to find it. Once you're logged into Google Analytics:

  1. navigate to Audience -> Overview
  2. locate the Total Number of Sessions based on your date range criteria

TOF Key Metric: New  Visitors

​It's important for us to track new visitors because this metric is an indicator of how well our brand is expanding to a new audience. We also need to track new visitors so we can run a quick percentage calculation to compare returning visitors vs. new visitors. 

Where & How to Find This Metric

The New Visitors metric is a Total Count number, and we'll use Google Analytics to find it.

  1. navigate to the Audience -> Overview tab  
  2. click to Add a Segment
  3. select the New Visitors Segment 
  4. click Apply
Part 1: Key Metrics to Track at Every Step of the Funnel 1

TOF Key Metric: Percentage of New Visitors

When analyzing data, you want to be sure you're using percentages so you can get a proportional understanding of growth over time. In this case, we want to find the percent of new visitors based on our total number of sessions for our given time frame. 

How to Find This Metric​

The % New Visitors metric is a calculation, and we'll use the data we collected for New Visitors & Total Visitors to help us find the percentage. GA will also automatically calculate this for you, but it's good to know how to find it yourself. :) 

Here's the formula: % New Visitors = New Visitors/Total Visitors

To save you a couple steps, I created a Key Metrics tracking spreadsheet you can download by clicking on the link below. Just plug in your raw numbers and the calculations will be done for you. :) 

TOF Key Metric: Direct New Visitors 

Direct New Visitors are the people who came to your website by specifically typing in your URL in their browser. This metric is fun to watch because it can indicate whether or not people know your brand or website name well enough to literally type it in vs. searching for it Google or other acquisition channels. 

Where & How to Find This Metric

The Direct New Visitors metric is a Total Count number. To find our Direct New Visitors, we're going to use the segments we created in Google Analytics for the previous metrics to find our Direct New Visitors. 

  1. navigate to Acquisition -> Overview  
  2. view the pretty graphs that appear
  3. either hover over the "Direct" section of the pie chart or scroll down for a breakdown to find the total count for Direct New Visitors in your given date range
Part 1: Key Metrics to Track at Every Step of the Funnel 2

Final Thoughts on Top of Funnel Metrics

Tracking and measuring these key TOF metrics will help you set a baseline for success when it comes to growing your audience and expanding your reach. Remember, the objective of all TOF marketing strategies is to get more eyes on your site and on your content. Once you set those baselines for your business, you can begin to drill down into more advanced segmentation and visitor behavior. 

Now that you're on a roll with tracking TOF metrics, let's take a look at the Key Metrics for the Middle of the Funnel

About the Author:

Jamie DuBose is the CEO, Launch Strategist & Marketing Automation Specialist at Zenplicity. She helps profitable entrepreneurs make strategic marketing decisions that consistently improve their business & increase their revenue. Her expertise lies in creating targeted, high-performing campaigns that track & use behavior-based subscriber metrics to sell more units to a more engaged audience.
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