Web Analytics – A Comprehensive Guide to the Various Terms

In today’s digital world, data is a precious resource. Gathering data and extracting meaningful business conclusions is an essential step to grow your business.

Keeping up with the data from your website will help you identify areas for improvement. In this article, we are examining the power of web analytics and offer you a guide to the various web analytics terms.

Keep reading to learn more.

Web Analytics 101

Web analytics refers to collecting, reporting, measuring, and analyzing online data. The purpose of analytics is to identify key metrics based on your goals. Organizations, businesses, and individuals use analytics to extract useful information about websites.

For example, if a business sets a specific traffic goal for a website, they can use analytics to track incoming traffic. That way, the business will be able to see how close they are to meeting their goal, and what steps they can take to improve.

Web analytics is the main tool with which websites improve the user experience. By identifying weak points, web developers can make changes to improve responsiveness, loading time, and overall user satisfaction.

Analytics gathers a broad spectrum of data, including:

  • Traffic flow
  • User activity
  • New users
  • Geographic activity
  • IP addresses
  • Bounce rates
  • Devise usage
  • Software usage
  • Link tracking
  • Cookie tracking
  • Web page preferences
  • Time spent
  • Clicks
  • Events
  • Errors
  • Custom goal completion
  • Other measurable actions

Businesses use a variety of tools and applications to convert analytics data into usable business information. Businesses then use this information for their marketing research and business strategy.

Most analytics tools gather data by means of a code snippet. A webmaster has only to add that snippet in the code of a web page for data to start pouring in. These snippets can track all the above fields of data.

Web Analytics Key Terms

Web analytics is fairly simple to understand. However, due to the technical nature of data collection, there are many key terms that the average business owner needs to familiarize with.

Below we are examining some of the most important web analytics terms.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

A key performance indicator (KPI) can be any type of specific performance measurement. Depending on the goals of a business or organization, a KPI can involve traffic goals, bounce rates, click-through rates, and many other goals.

KPIs differ across businesses. They depend on business and organizational goals. What is a relevant KPI for one business might be irrelevant to another.

Some of the most common KPIs include customer satisfaction and traffic rates.


Cookies are small text tokens that websites place on a visitor’s computer. Cookies are used to track returning visitors. They are essential web analytics tools as they prevent data duplication from returning visitors.

Cookies help websites “remember” user preferences, passwords, and other parameters.

Spiders, Crawlers, and Bots

Spiders, crawlers, and bots refer to the same type of automated script. Search engines like Google use these scripts to gather website information for indexing purposes.

The bots review a website, track new content, and test its loading time and other technical parameters. Bots are also used to index a website so it can be found in search engine result pages.

Visitors and Leads

A visitor is a unique website user who performs a specific number of actions within a set timeframe. A lead is a user who has performed an intended action, such as signing up to a newsletter or filling a virtual shopping cart. Leads are halfway from visitors to become customers.


The total time a visitor spends on a website. The session starts with loading a website and ends when the user closes it.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors leaving a website from the same page. It essentially tracks visitors who “bounce away” from a website without clicking anything.

High bounce rates mean that a website needs to be improved in terms of user experience and SEO.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The opposite of bounce rate, click-through rate measures the percentage of visitors that click through a specific link. CTR is important to measure the efficiency of banner ads and sales pages. The higher the click-through rate, the more efficient a sales page is.


Not to be confused with CTR, impressions measure how many times an advertisement was viewed by a visitor. This does not involve clicking. An impression is registered each time the advertisement loads.

Convert / Conversion Rate

When a visitor fulfills an intended activity, they convert from visitors into customers, leads, subscribers, or members.

Any activity such as online purchases, sign-ups, and form fills counts as a conversion. The conversion rate of a specific activity is the number of people who converted out of the total number of visitors.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC), and Pay-Per-View (PPV) Advertising

PPC advertisements charge businesses for every user that clicks them. PPV advertisements charge business every time an advertisement or landing page is viewed.

Tags, Scripts, and Widgets

All these terms refer to small pieces of computer code that websites use to perform specific actions. Tags tell bots what a page is about. Scripts and widgets execute specific programs, including all web analytics functions.

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