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Web Analytics


Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage.

There are two categories of web analytics: off-site and on-site web analytics.

Off-site web analytics refers to web measurement and analysis irrespective of whether you own or maintain a website. It includes the measurement of a website's potential audience (opportunity), share of voice (visibility) and buzz (comments) that is happening on the Internet as a whole.

On-site web analytics measure a visitor's journey once on your website. This includes its drivers and conversions; for example, which landing pages encourage people to make a purchase. On-site web analytics measures the performance of your website in a commercial context. This data is typically compared against key performance indicators for performance and used to improve a web site or marketing campaign's audience response.

Historically, web analytics has referred to on-site visitor measurement. However in recent years this has blurred, mainly because vendors are producing tools that span both categories.

Key definitions:

There are no globally agreed definitions within web analytics as the industry bodies have been trying to agree definitions that are useful and definitive for some time. The main bodies who have had input in this area have been Jicwebs(Industry Committee for Web Standards)/ABCe (Auditing Bureau of Circulations electronic, UK and Europe), The WAA (Web Analytics Association, US) and to a lesser extent the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau). This does not prevent the following list from being a useful guide, suffering only slightly from ambiguity. Both the WAA and the ABCe provide more definitive lists for those who are declaring their statistics using the metrics defined by either.

  • Hit - A request for a file from the web server. Available only in log analysis. The number of hits received by a website is frequently cited to assert its popularity, but this number is extremely misleading and dramatically over-estimates popularity. A single web-page typically consists of multiple (often dozens) of discrete files, each of which is counted as a hit as the page is downloaded, so the number of hits is really an arbitrary number more reflective of the complexity of individual pages on the website than the website's actual popularity. The total number of visitors or page views provides a more realistic and accurate assessment of popularity.
  • Page view - A request for a file whose type is defined as a page in log analysis. An occurrence of the script being run in page tagging. In log analysis, a single page view may generate multiple hits as all the resources required to view the page (images, .js and .css files) are also requested from the web server.
  • Visit / Session - A series of requests from the same uniquely identified client with a set timeout, often 30 minutes. A visit contains one or more page views.
  • First Visit / First Session - A visit from a visitor who has not made any previous visits.
  • Visitor / Unique Visitor / Unique User - The uniquely identified client generating requests on the web server (log analysis) or viewing pages (page tagging) within a defined time period (i.e. day, week or month). A Unique Visitor counts once within the timescale. A visitor can make multiple visits. Identification is made to the visitor's computer, not the person, usually via cookie and/or IP+User Agent. Thus the same person visiting from two different computers will count as two Unique Visitors.
  • Repeat Visitor - A visitor that has made at least one previous visit. The period between the last and current visit is called visitor recency and is measured in days.
  • New Visitor - A visitor that has not made any previous visits. This definition creates a certain amount of confusion (see common confusions below), and is sometimes substituted with analysis of first visits.
  • Impression - An impression is each time an advertisement loads on a user's screen. Anytime you see a banner, that is an impression.
  • Singletons - The number of visits where only a single page is viewed. While not a useful metric in and of itself the number of singletons is indicative of various forms of Click fraud as well as being used to calculate bounce rate and in some cases to identify automatons bots.
  • Bounce Rate - The percentage of visits where the visitor enters and exits at the same page without visiting any other pages on the site in between.
  • % Exit - The percentage of users who exit from a page.
  • Visibility time - The time a single page (or a blog, Ad Banner...) is viewed.
  • Session Duration - Average amount of time that visitors spend on the site each time they visit. This metric can be complicated by the fact that analytics programs can not measure the length of the final page view.
  • Page View Duration / Time on Page - Average amount of time that visitors spend on each page of the site. As with Session Duration, this metric is complicated by the fact that analytics programs can not measure the length of the final page view.
  • Page Depth / Page Views per Session - Page Depth is the average number of page views a visitor consumes before ending their session. It is calculated by dividing total number of page views by total number of sessions and is also called Page Views per Session or PV/Session.
  • Frequency / Session per Unique - Frequency measures how often visitors come to a website. It is calculated by dividing the total number of sessions (or visits) by the total number of unique visitors. Sometimes it is used to measure the loyalty of your audience.
  • Click path - the sequence of hyperlinks one or more website visitors follows on a given site.

*source- Wikipedia   

Google Analytics

Advertising ROI

• Learn which AdWords keywords are most profitable and which site content generates the most revenue.
• Track email campaigns, banner ads, offline ads and more.
• Trace transactions to campaigns and keywords, get loyalty metrics, and identify your best revenue sources.

Cross Channel and Multimedia Tracking

• Understand visitor intent, find out what your customers are really looking for and speed up time to conversion.
• Find out whether your site usage metrics underperform or outperform those of your industry. Opt-in benchmarking compares your key metrics against aggregate performance metrics while preserving the confidentiality of your data.
• Track usage of your Ajax, Flash, social networking and Web 2.0 applications.

Customized Reporting

• Isolate and analyze subsets of your traffic. Select from predefined custom segments such as "Paid Traffic" and "Visits with Conversions" or create new custom segments with a flexible, easy-to-use segment builder. Apply segments to current or historical data and compare segment performance side by side in reports. Watch video.
• Create, save, and edit custom reports that present the information you want to see organized in the way you want to see it. A drag and drop interface lets you select the metrics you want and define multiple levels of sub-reports. Once created, each custom report is available for as long as you want it. Watch video.
• Put all the information you need on a custom Dashboard that you can email to others.
• Customize Google Analytics with the APIs on Google Code.
• Compare time periods and select date ranges without losing sight of long term trends.
• Plot mulitiple data points on a single graph for a faster analysis.
• Share report data by exporting into Excel, CSV and tab delimited files.

Sharing and Communicating

• Schedule or send ad-hoc personalized report emails that contain exactly the information you want to share.
• Control how sensitive data is shared and which reports are available to users on your account.

Visualizing Data

• Motion Charts add sophisticated multi-dimensional analysis to most Google Analytics reports. Select metrics for the x-axis, y-axis, bubble size, and bubble color and view how these metrics interact over time. Choose the metrics you want to compare and expose data relationships that would be difficult to see in traditional reports. Watch video.
• Identify your most lucrative geographic markets.
• Fix leaks by seeing which pages result in lost opportunities and where your would-be customers go.
• Thumbnail size graphics save you clicks and summarize the data in your report.
• See summary metrics in the context of historical or site average data.

Google Integration and Reliability

1st party cookie
• Google Analytics has always exclusively used 1st party cookies to ensure reliable tracking and protect visitor privacy.

Google data center and collection methodology
• Google Analytics runs on the same globally renowned infrastructure that powers Google, maximizing data integrity and privacy.

Part of a larger family of related Google products
• Google Analytics is part of a suite of industry-leading advertising and analysis tools including AdWords and Website Optimizer.