Take the Mystery Out of Website Analytics Terms

A myriad of web analytics terms has been introduced by both the field of digital marketing and the field of analytics, itself. These terms help us better understand the metrics we collect and use daily to inform our business processes. Full comprehension of these terms will help us do a better job of evaluating the performance of our websites and allow us to make more strategic decisions for our brands.

Whether you are an established business owner, marketing professional, or just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey, you will benefit from a basic understanding of these terms. This new knowledge can also help you boost the visibility of your website as you look to fully integrate data-driven practices.


Abandon – when customers drop off or leave your website during the process of conversion. Examples would be a half-filled form or incomplete purchase.

Acquire – the process of getting visitors to your website. This term is also considered the number of visitors arrived on your website.

Average Order Volume – or AOV, is the average revenue earned per order. (Revenue ÷ Orders) 

Bots/Crawlers/Spiders – these are things used by search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. These automated programs gather information from the internet by indexing and reviewing a website for new content. They normally go through a site every few days, but sometimes it can take up to 2 weeks for a crawler to index an entire website.

Bounce Rate – the number of instances visitors enter and leave the same page. High bounce rates indicate the content on the landing page needs to be improved and more SEO work should be considered.

Browser – the platform a site visitor uses to access the Internet. These are typically Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome.

Button Clicks – the number of times a visitor clicked any of your buttons enabled on your site.

Click Through – when a click on a link leads to another section of the site or page or another website.

Click Through Rate – or CTR is the number of clicks per the number of impressions.

Conversion Rate – a good indicator of how visitor behaviors convert into actions, such as sales or engagement. The number is calculated differently depending on the panel.

Cookie – a text file placed on a visitor’s computer while he is browsing a website. Cookies contain information to track returning visitors.  This allows a site to “remember” things about a visitor and can help save time in page loading, form completion, and more.


Form submissions – the number of forms submitted from your site. The total usually includes submissions from all forms enabled on your site.

Hit – this metric can be misleading as your report might show you got 2,000 hits last month when your number of visitors was nowhere near that figure. Each different component, like programming languages, images and style sheets, register as a separate hit with every single request for the page. So, if you have your brand logo, and 2 images on a page, that will count as 3 hits even though it was only one visit.

Impressions – each view of an online advertisement is counted as an impression.

Individual – represents specific visits to your site’s RSS feed URL. This metric can also include instances where a visitor’s specific feed reader can’t be detected.

Key Performance Indicator – or KPI, is a way to measure a set of data. See our article for more information on this topic: If You Still Think KPI Involves Peeling Potatoes, This One is for You!

Keywords – words and phrases entered into a search engine to reach a result page. Keywords help websites to attract potential customers via searches.

Orders – the total number of completed orders. Since some orders may contain multiple products, this number can be lower than Units Sold.

Organic Search – when users find results through unpaid search engines.

Page Duration – the time spent by a visitor on a web page.  Typically, the higher the time on site, the more engaged visitors are in a site’s content.

Page View – a record of page requests on your site. only full-page loads count toward this number. Requests for specific image URLs or other scripts do not.

Path Analysis – the manner in which visitors go through the website. It is valuable information to see if visitors follow the intended site navigation.

PPC – pay per click. This also refers to paid searches where the advertiser pays based on the number of clicks on the advertisement. Google and Facebook are two platforms widely used for paid search.

Referrer – websites, search engines, directories or any other web-based locations identified as the origin of the visitor.  One thing to keep a pulse on is how many mobile visitors are coming to your site and prepare your action plan for mobile.

Revenue – represents the total revenue value of all orders in the selected time period. Revenue is the sum of all subtotals and excludes costs like shipping fees and taxes. Many platform based analytics resources do not factor in refunds.

Revenue Per Visit – or RPV, is the average revenue generated per visit (Revenue ÷ Visits) which includes visits that didn’t result in a purchase. This metric is sometimes used as a benchmark for how much to spend per visit and for measuring marketing ROI.

Search Engine Optimization – or SEO. The process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “organic” or un-paid search results.

Session – a record of a single visitor browsing through the website. It includes an entry page, navigation, and exit pages.

Stickiness – a website’s capability to retain visitors, measured as the number of pages visited per session and time spent on a website.

Subscribers –represents the number of times an RSS feed or post within the feed was accessed in the selected time filter. It doesn’t represent the actual number of subscribers to your RSS feed.

Unique Views – an estimate of the total number of actual visitors that loaded the page with your button or form in the set time frame.

Unique Visitors – an estimate of the total number of actual visitors that reached your site in the set time frame. This can be a good measure of your loyal audience and readership.

Units Sold – represents the total number of products sold. Since some orders may contain multiple products, this number can be higher than Orders.

Views – shows the number of times that visitors have opened the product item page or clicked Quick View.

Visit – represents the total number of visits in a selected time.

A visit is one browsing session on your site, which might include multiple page views. Visits are a good measure of attention on your site, as they correlate with a single browsing session and are frequently used in marketing applications.

Some platforms track visits with a browser cookie that expires after a certain time window. Any hits within that window count as one visit which means that one person can count as multiple visits in a day if they come to your site more than once during different windows of time.


The team at Strategy Driven Marketing understands the importance of website analytics and love to deep dive into data to help our clients understand what is working, what isn’t working, and how best to move forward. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for your brand!







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