Web Analytics: The collection and analysis of data generated by people’s activity on websites or mobile apps, for the purpose of discovering ways to improve websites and marketing campaigns.

E.g. “I’m using web analytics tools to find out which room is more popular on my guest house website: King Arthur Modern Romance.”

User: A person who visits your website or mobile app. Users are sometimes referred to as “visitors.” There are two types of users:

  • New Users: A person who has not visited your website before.
  • Return Users: A person who has visited your website before.

E.g. “When Joan first came to the website for information about my Modern Romance room she was a new user.She comes back every few months to make a reservation, which makes her a return user.

Session or Visit: A period a user spends on a website.

E.g. “My website got 2,000 visits last month, but what I really care about is whether those visits convinced people to make a reservation for my guest house.

Page view: A web page that successfully loads in the user’s browser. Many web analytics tools use the page view as the basic unit of measurement.

E.g. “On average, every visit to my website has 20 page views. People seem to enjoy the page dedicated to my‘Football Fanatics’ room, which gets about 40% of the page views.

Cookie: Not a biscuit. A small file used by many web analytics tools to keep track of a user’s activity on a website. If that person clears her cookies or uses a different web browser, web analytics tools will see her asa different user (although she is, in fact, the same person.)

E.g. “If cookies are enabled on her computer, your web analytics tool should be able to track how much time shespent on the ‘Football Fanatics’ room page.

Metric: A measure of something, by quantity.

E.g. “I look at metrics like ‘Bounce Rate,’ ‘Pages per Visit,’ and ’Conversion Rate,’ to see how my guest house websiteis doing.” (see Common Metrics section below)

Dimension: An attribute of a user or a session.

E.g. “I look at dimensions like ‘Browser,’ ‘Region’ and ‘Landing Page,’ to get a better understanding of who seemsinterested in my King Arthur room.” (See Common Dimensions section below.)

Common Metrics

Users/Visitors: The total number of people who have come to your website or app.

E.g. “My guest house website had 3,000 visitors last month!

Sessions/Visits: The total number of sessions on your website or app.

E.g. “Three thousand visitors came to my guest house website multiple times last month; I had more than 5,000 sessions!

Page views: The total number of pages that users viewed on your website. This metric is sometimes referred to as “screen views” for mobile apps.

E.g. “There were 5,000 sessions on my website last month and 20,000 page views. Almost all of those pages were from my Football Fanatics room page!

Bounce Rate: The percentage of sessions in which the visitor doesn’t interact at all with your site or app after arriving.

E.g. “I added a Welcome Video to my site, but people seem to leave after just a few seconds of it—the bounce rates high. I guess they prefer my video room tours.

Pages per Session: The average number of pages viewed during a session. In general, a higher number indicates that people are reading more, or are more “engaged” with your website. It’s also known as page depth.

E.g. “I’m so glad I launched a Guest Testimonial page it’s really increased visitor engagement. My website’s average number of pages per session went from 3 to 12!

Average Session Duration: The average amount of time of a session on your website. It’s measured in minutes and seconds. In general the longer the session, the more interested the visitor is.

E.g. “Ever since I launched video tours of all my rooms, my website’s average session duration went from 2 minutes to 8 minutes and 32 seconds!”

Goals/Conversions: The total number of tracked, successful actions that your website visitors complete.

E.g. “Once I started tracking conversions on my guest house website, I could see how many visitors registered for a room online, subscribed to my email newsletter, submitted contact forms and downloaded my free book.

Conversion Rate: The ratio of conversions to visits. In general, a higher conversion rate means greater success.

E.g. “After some website improvements, I was pleased to see that my conversion rate for Modern Romance room registrations jumped from 1% to 5%.

Revenue: The value of sales processed through an online shopping basket. If you don’t have an ecommerce website, this metric doesn’t apply to you.

E.g. “If revenue from my Football Fanatic room continues at this pace, I could retire by the time I’m 97.

Common Dimensions

Location: The geographic region of the user. It’s often possible to get location information about your users down to the specific city level.

E.g. “It’s interesting to note that people in northern England gravitate to my King Arthur room page, while the location Southern England seems more interested in the Modern Romance room.

Language: The language settings of the user’s browser.

E.g. “A growing percentage of my website visitors have set French as their browser’s default language.

Browser: The program used by the visitor to navigate the Internet. Examples include Chrome, Firefox,Internet Explorer and Safari.

E.g. “I can use my web analytics tools to see how many people are viewing my site on the Chrome or Firefox browsers.

Operating System: The Operating System of the device, such as Windows, Mac, Android or iOS, that the visitor is using.

E.g. “People using the Mac Operating System seem to spend more time browsing my site.

Device Type: The category of device, such as laptop, tablet or smartphone.

E.g. “My analytics tool is a great way to figure out what devices people use most to view my video room tours—tablets are especially popular.

Traffic Source: The specific place that referred the user to your website, such as a search engine, a social network, or another website that links to your website. (Note: many analytics tools, such as Google Analytics,allow for very detailed breakdowns of traffic sources.)

E.g. “The top traffic source for my site yesterday was Twitter—my football video blog must have gone viral!

Campaign: The specific marketing effort that drove a user to your website.

E.g. “Creating campaigns around lots of King Arthur related keywords has boosted my business.

Keyword: The specific term a user searched for before they reached your website.

E.g. “The keywords “luxury romantic getaway” are performing well for my site.

Landing Page: The first page that a user views when they reach your website.

E.g. “People have started calling my guest house more frequently since I included the phone number right on my landing page.

Exit Page: The last page a user views before they leave your website.

E.g. “Analytics tells me my most frequent exit page is the one with the Welcome Video, so maybe it’s taking too long to load.

Page: The specific page a user is viewing, often referred to by its URL.

E.g. “My most popular page is my King Arthur room page.