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This chapter is from the book

Understanding Key Metrics

There are many different data points that can be collected via web analytics. Some of these data points, or metrics, might be familiar to you; others may not. To that end, Table 1.1 details some of the most important of these metrics and what they measure.

Table 1.1. Key Web Analytics Metrics

Metric

Description

% exit

The percentage of users who exit from a given web page as a share of pageviews.

Bounce rate

The percentage of visits in which the visitor enters and exits on the same page, without visiting any other pages on the site in between.

Click

A single instance of a visitor clicking a link from one page to another on the same site.

Click path

The sequence of clicks that website visitors follow on a given site.

Click-through rate (CTR)

The percentage of people who view an item and then click it; calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions.

Depth of visit (pageviews per session)

The average number of pageviews a visitor initiates before ending his session; calculated by dividing the total number of pageviews by the total number of sessions.

First visit

The first visit from a visitor who has not previously visited the site.

Hit

A request for a file from a web server. Note that a hit is not the same as a pageview; a single page can have multiple elements (images, text boxes, and so forth) that need to be individually loaded from the server. For example, a web page that includes four images would result in five hits to the server.

Impression

A single display of an advertisement on a web page.

Loyalty

A measurement of how often visitors come to a website, calculated by dividing the total number of sessions or visits by the total number of unique visitors.

New visitor

A visitor who has not made previous visits to a website.

Pageview

A display of a complete web page. One visitor looking at a single page on your site generates one pageview. (Pageviews typically don't include error pages, or those pages viewed by web crawlers or robots.)

Pageview duration (time on page)

The average amount of time that visitors spend on each page of a website.

Repeat visitor

A visitor who has made at least one previous visit to a website.

Session

A series of pageviews from the same visitor with no more than 30 minutes between pageviews—and with no visits to other sites between pageviews. Unlike a visit, a session ends when a visitor opens a page on another site.

Single page visit

A visit from a visitor where only a single page is viewed.

Time on site or length of visit

The average amount of time that visitors spend on a website each time they visit.

Unique visitor

A visitor who visits your site one or more times within a given timeframe, typically a single 24-hour period; a visitor can make multiple visits during that timeframe, but this counts as just a single unique visitor. For example, a user visiting your site twice in one day is counted as a single unique visitor.

Visit

A series of pageviews from the same visitor with no more than 30 minutes between each pageview. Unlike a session, a visit continues (for 30 minutes) even after a visitor leaves your site.

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