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TechnologyJan 08, 2010

Common Web Analytics Metrics

Katherine Moffitt

There are a wide range of web analytics tools that track a variety of different metrics to help you measure the effectiveness of your eCommerce site. The types of metrics you should select to measure depend on your specific needs and goals for your eCommerce business. Needs may range from basic traffic monitoring to complex analysis of the behavior of specific user groups. Some of the most helpful metrics to consider tracking include the following:

Number of Visits: A visit is defined as the arrival of a specific visitor within a particular period of time (e.g., hourly, daily, monthly, etc.). Visits may be tracked for the overall site and for specific pages within the site. Tracking the number of visits to your site provides an indication of your site’s popularity over time. Comparing the number of visits to each page helps to identify which areas of your site are most attractive or helpful.

Page views: A count of the number of pages viewed by a visitor. A high number of page views can indicate either significant visitor interest or difficult site navigation that requires the visitor to dig through several pages to get where they want to go.

Click paths: A representation of the typical visitor movement throughout the site. For example, 50% of visitors enter at the home page, click on the monthly promotion, then leave the site. Or, 25% of users enter at the home page, type in an item in the search feature, and then browse in a particular product category.

Conversion: The number of visitors who completed the activity you wanted them to complete (e.g., signed up for a monthly newsletter from the home page, clicked on the promotion of the day and followed through the purchase process, created a user profile during check out, etc).

It is important to keep in mind that web analytics tools may vary in the formulas they use to calculate particular metrics (e.g., unique visitors, visits, etc.). Understanding how the metrics are calculated or derived will help you make the best decisions to react to the information and make improvements to maximize the efficiency and user experience of your site over time.