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Unraveling the Mysteries of Website Metrics


Jan 0001
JUSTINE MURPHY, SENIOR EDITOR, justine.murphy@photonics.com


Mar. 1, 2017 —
Unraveling the Mysteries of Website Metrics

A website’s analytics — discoverable via services such as Google Analytics — can help in boosting marketing and other content, identifying website traffic origins, and knowing where to focus efforts that will give visitors the best possible experience. There is much to decipher in those metrics, so it’s important to understand the pieces.

Hits

This is a request to a web server for a file, such as an image file. A web page typically has multiple elements that need to be downloaded in order to be viewed, so the hit numbers can be high.

Visits

Put simply, this means the total number of times a website has been visited overall. For example, if one person visits a website four times, it will be recorded as four visits.

Unique Visitors

This is the number of individual visitors to a website within a specified time period. If one person visits a website four times during that particular period, for instance, it will be recorded as one unique visitor.

Page Views/Impressions

This denotes total number of times a web page has been viewed. Specifically, this represents when a visitor lands on the website and clicks through to view multiple pages. Each of these web pages viewed is categorized as a page view/impression. If the same page is viewed more than once by the same person, it will be counted multiple times.

Pages/Visits

Pages per visit is the average number of pages viewed during a visit to a website. This shows how engaged a user is with the content on the site. If the same page is viewed more than once by the same person, it will be tallied multiple times.

Average Duration/Time

This is simply the average amount of time (in seconds or minutes) that users spend on the website.

Bounce Rate

This rate is a percentage that is calculated by taking the number of single-page visits (i.e., visits in which the person left the website from the entrance page without interacting with the page) as a percentage of the total visits.

Click-Through Rate

This rate shows how often search engine users click on a website listing, out of all the times it gets shown in search results.

Traffic Sources

This is a breakdown of where and from what sources the website visitors originate. Such data can then be broken down into organic traffic from natural search listings; pay-per-click traffic from paid search campaigns; referral traffic from other websites, blogs, social media, etc.; direct traffic from a user who has typed in the web address into the browser or arrived at the website via a bookmarked link; or email marketing or social media ad campaigns.

Audience Reports

These reports offer insightful information about website visitors. For example, data for this can show what percentage of visitors are new users and what percentage are returning users. In addition, it can provide information about what countries or cities visitors hail from, what type of internet browser they are using, and whether they’re using a mobile device or desktop.

Conversion Rates/Goals

This metric derives from a sale or purchase, completion of a form, a sign-up to a service, an appointment made, or a downloaded item.

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