As many as 40 million websites use Google Analytics to track website traffic data. Considering there are well over one billion websites out there, that is a small percentage.
But even if webmasters do use a website analytics service, they often do not know what the numbers, data or terminology means. They are missing out on ways to improve their website customer experience and increase their revenue.
If you want to know how to make sense of your web analytics service, this is a handy guide to understanding traffic data.
Pageviews and Unique Pageviews
Pageviews are sometimes called “hits” or “visits.” When a user loads one of your web pages, this is a pageview. If they were to refresh the page or click onto another web page on your website, this would be a separate pageview.
Unique pageviews only calculate the different pageviews a user will generate in one session (more about sessions soon!). So, if a user refreshed the same web page 10 times, that is 10 pageviews but only one unique pageview.
Analyzing website visits or pageviews is often one of the most important website traffic data metrics to webmasters. Learn more about NetFlow analysis to find out about what is good and wasteful traffic.
Users, New Users, and Returning Users
As you might guess, users are the people who visit your website. They are also called “visitors.”
New users are people who have never visited your website before. This could be an unreliable metric depending on how long your web analytics service has been tracking your site.
Returning users are people who have visited your site before in a separate session.
So, what is a session when it comes to website traffic analysis? A session is one group of interactions on your website by a user within one timeframe.
For example, if a user visits one of your web pages and leaves, that is one session. And if another user visited several web pages on your website before leaving, that is still only one session.
But let’s say a user visits a web page on your website on their cell phone and leaves the tab open on their internet browser. That is one session. But if they returned to the web page via that tab later, that would be a second session.
Bounce rate is a trickier metric. It is the percentage of sessions on your website that are single-page sessions.
It is a tricky metric because it is only useful to certain types of websites. If you run an eCommerce store, a bounce rate of around 25-40% is ideal. This is because you want people to click through several web pages to buy something.
But if you run a blog or news site, users fulfill the purpose you want them to fulfill by visiting only one web page. So a bounce rate over 70% is nothing to worry about.
Website Traffic Data: What You Should Know
Analyzing website traffic data might seem confusing at first. But once you know the terms and what the numbers mean, it gets easier to track.
Plus, the more you understand the metrics behind your traffic, the more you can use them to your advantage in your business.
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