The default view of most analytics packages is overall traffic. This is misleading. The effectiveness of a website can not be measured purely by traffic volume since all traffic is not good traffic.
What we really want to know by viewing our traffic data is if our marketing is effective, relevant, and engaging. To engage with your brand, a user has to do more than just load your website once. How long do they spend on the site? How many pages do they view? Do they return the site? A small, engaged user base will always be more valuable than an endless supply of one second page views.
Using advanced segments in Google Analytics, we can isolate traffic data to just engaged users, and then determine which marketing channels are most effective in reaching that target market. For example, a social media campaign may drive the most traffic to your site, but drilling down to just the most engaged users might reveal that organic search is actually driving your conversion rate. With traditional traffic-focused analytics, you would have misguidedly spent more on social media marketing instead of the more effective search engine marketing.*
The web gives us incredible ways to measure the use of our media. Let's take advantage of these opportunities by focusing on the outcomes of our efforts. Let's build relationships with our customers instead of collecting mindless clicks.
* An April 2011 study by Outbrain revealed that traffic coming from social media sources is actually the least engaged.