Simple Web Analytics Metric Definitions

You have a web site, and you may even have wonderful analytics tools built in. But what does it all mean? Here’s a quick summary of some of the available metrics that should be available to you. Layman’s terms are in italics after each definition.

This example comes from WordPress, some tools have more metrics available, some less. Use what is relevant to you and measure what matters.

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Page – This is a definable unit of content. Top post metrics are based on this value.

Layman’s – think of it as a name. In this analogy I’m thinking: “pubs” – so insert pub name here.

Page View – You are viewing this page, therefore the analytics tool will register that as a “view”. Simple.

Layman’s – buying a drink perhaps. How many do you buy?

Visit – An interaction with a website that consists of at least a request for content (page view of a page) within a specified period of time.

Layman’s – you go to the pub – that’s a visit. You go to another pub and stay an hour. Then you come back – that’s your second visit.

Referrers – This metric shows the page or site (depending on the specific metric) that brought you to this site in the first place. This could be search engine, blogs, Social Media – anything online that is not your site basically.

Layman’s – where did you come from? The train station? Another pub? That’s your referrer.

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The following metrics are not featured in the illustrations but can give very useful insights into the users behaviour on site.

Visitor – You are a visitor to the site. You may, and hopefully will, visit on more than one occasion, therefore there are more granular metrics such as unique visitors, new visitor, repeat visitor and return visitor. Much depends on reporting periods, but essentially this is tied to an individual. Note that if you are browsing the site again with a different browser then you would be seen as a separate visitor.

Layman’s – as above – it’s you. You may have visited the pub twice in one night, but you are still counted as one visitor to the pub.

Entries – A metrics that counts the first page of your visit to the site.

Layman’s – your first drink – snakebite and black for me.

Exits – A metrics that counts the last page of your visit to the site.

Layman’s – what was your final drink – a shot?

Time Spent – The time you spent on the site during your visit. This may be broken down per page but is typically the length of the session of your visit.

Layman’s – easy one. How long where you in the pub? Too long most likely.

There are lots of metrics available to gain insights for your website. I’ve summarised 8 out of over 20 analytics terms. For a full list of standardised Web Analytics definitions with explanations of each., please see this WAA guide.

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