Analysing visitors to your site with web analytics

When you are running your own website and using it for online marketing, its important to be able to analyse what is happening on your site. If you are new to online marketing, getting to understand the terms being used can be quite a challenge.

The Web Analytics Association has now published a standard set of terms so that everyone involved in web analytics can speak the same language. Avinash Kaushik, on his blog Occam’s Razor, has drawn attention to the new definitions for web analytics metrics.

There is more detail linked to from Avinash’s post, however here is the summary of the defined terms:

Page: A page is an analyst definable unit of content.

Page Views: The number of times a page (an analyst-definable unit of content) was viewed.

Visits/Sessions: A visit is an interaction, by an individual, with a website consisting of one or more requests for an analyst-definable unit of content (i.e. “page view”). If an individual has not taken another action (typically additional page views) on the site within a specified time period, the visit session will terminate.

Unique Visitors: The number of inferred individual people (filtered for spiders and robots), within a designated reporting timeframe, with activity consisting of one or more visits to a site. Each individual is counted only once in the unique visitor measure for the reporting period.

New Visitor: The number of Unique Visitors with activity including a first-ever Visit to a site during a reporting period.

Repeat Visitor: The number of Unique Visitors with activity consisting of two or more Visits to a site during a reporting period.

Return Visitor: The number of Unique Visitors with activity consisting of a Visit to a site during a reporting period and where the Unique Visitor also Visited the site prior to the reporting period.

Entry Page: The first page of a visit.

Landing Page: A page intended to identify the beginning of the user experience resulting from a defined marketing effort.

Exit Page: The last page on a site accessed during a visit, signifying the end of a visit/session.

Visit Duration: The length of time in a session. Calculation is typically the timestamp of the last activity in the session minus the timestamp of the first activity of the session.

Referrer: The referrer is the page URL that originally generated the request for the current page view or object.

Internal Referrer: The internal referrer is a page URL that is internal to the website or a web-property within the website as defined by the user.

External Referrer: The external referrer is a page URL where the traffic is external or outside of the website or a web-property defined by the user.

Search Referrer: The search referrer is an internal or external referrer for which the URL has been generated by a search function.

Visit Referrer: The visit referrer is the first referrer in a session, whether internal, external or null.

Original Referrer: The original referrer is the first referrer in a visitor’s first session, whether internal, external or null.

Click-through: Number of times a link was clicked by a visitor.

Click-through Rate/Ratio: The number of click-throughs for a specific link divided by the number of times that link was viewed.

Page Views per Visit: The number of page views in a reporting period divided by number of visits in the same reporting period.

Page Exit Ratio: Number of exits from a page divided by total number of page views of that page.

Single-Page Visits: Visits that consist of one page regardless of the number of times the page was viewed.

Single Page View Visits (Bounces): Visits that consist of one page-view.

Bounce Rate: Single page view visits divided by entry pages.

Event: Any logged or recorded action that has a specific date and time assigned to it by either the browser or server.

Conversion: A visitor completing a target action.