Think of your favourite football, basketball or hockey team. You love them as a whole don't you? Because they form a team, and because the sum of their talents is greater than their isolated individual performances. However, if you look closely at your number one team, you'll notice that not all of the team members contribute in the same way to scoring goals.
Now think of your favourite team's players as individual pages of a website. Wouldn't you be interested in knowing what player makes the highest amount of assists, the highest number of contributions to scoring goals? Much in the same way as a performance chart would help a coach spot his most valuable players, Google Analytics uses Page Value to let you know which page is contributing the most to your website's sales funnel.
Defining Page Value
Let's start by having a look at the concept of Page Value as defined by Google:
Page Value = (Transaction Revenue + Total Goal Value) / Unique Pageviews for the page
Here’s how Google Analytics would calculate the value of Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3.
Page 1: (0€ transaction revenue + 10€ goal value + 50€ goal value) / 2 unique pageviews = 30€
Page 2: (0€ transaction revenue + 10€ goal value + 50€ goal value) / 2 unique pageviews = 30€
Page 3: (0€ transaction revenue + 50€ goal value) / 1 unique pageviews = 50€
The above example would typically refer to lead generation websites as opposed to e-commerce, where Google Analytics requires you to manually set up a goal value that is usually arbitrary.
Why Page Value is fundamental to your digital strategy
Page value is an essential metrics in Google Analytics, as it tells you the weight each and every page represents within your website in terms of transactions. By spotting pages that receive high amounts of unique page views and that display a low page value, you might actually be able to identify opportunities to drive more conversions by working on the content and usability of those low value pages. Let's imagine you're running a website that sells mortgages, and that your most visited page is a mortgage calculator that tells users how much money they would be able to borrow. If you were to put a "request your mortgage" button right below the result of the calculation, the page value of that page would suddenly increase since users would be driven towards your conversion page.
Vice-versa, you may want to identify pages with high value but few unique page views and look for ways to drive more traffic to those high value pages. Imagine you offer a free-trial of your services, but that information is buried within your site structure and only a tiny portion of your users end up reading it. Those few users would probably be a lot more inclined to convert than the rest who haven't seen the free-trial offer, and as a result your free-trial page would most likely display a higher page value. In that particular case, a wise strategy would obviously consist in giving more visibility to your free-trial offer throughout your website.
From page value to conversions
Page value makes it easy to determine how often a page or set of pages was involved in the conversion process. By simply multiplying the amount of unique page views by the their overall page value and then dividing by the goal value, you can actually determine how many conversions were assisted by a set of given pages.
Conversions = Unique page views * page value / goal value
Let's have a look at the following Google Analytics report to understand how this works
The page in the third row received 3 unique page views and the resulting page value is $6.67. Considering the goal value in this case is $20, this means that this page was involved in the conversion funnel of 1 conversion, as per the equation above. Keep in mind that this equation only works if you've set up a unique goal value for all your goals. Should you have different goal values, you could still use this method by using Google Analytic's advanced segments which allow you to filter your traffic by separate goals.
This can be particularly useful when trying to quantify the extent to which a given set of pages, such as a product section for instance, is being involved in your conversion process. The page value metrics per se doesn't necessarily provide the type of information your boss is likely to understand easily, and the last thing you'd want while presenting your website's results is to bore your audience with equations. Converting page value to "conversion assists" before presenting your results is more likely to help you get the message across in order to explain which page or set of pages matter the most to your customers.