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Which analytics service do you use?
Analog
1%
AWStats
3%
CrawlTrack
1%
Open Web Analytics
5%
Piwik
4%
Webalizer
2%
Urchin
2%
SurfReport
0%
Other
1%
Clicktale
4%
Google Analytics
34%
VisiStat
3%
Webtrekk Q3
0%
Webtrends
23%
Woopra
2%
Yahoo! Web Analytics
14%
Total votes: 3714

Analytics Expert Tracking Terminology

There are a lot of terms in many web analytics services. Most of them are industry standards, but not everyone is an expert. This page is very long and detailed, but if you want to know what everything means, how we calculate values like unique visitors or bounce rate, and get a better understanding of how Analytics Expert Tracking works in general, we recommend reading it all.

Visitors / Sessions

When someone visits your web site, your visitor count is incremented by one and a new visitor "session" is started. All actions taken beyond the first one are attached to that visitor session. Sessions "expire" after 30 minutes of inactivity. This means if the visitor leaves and comes back again a few hours later, or they remain on your web site but don't do anything until at least 30 minutes later, your visitor count for the day will be increased again.

Unique visitors

Your unique visitor count will only be incremented when a visitor comes to your site for the first time that day. If they visit your site five times in one day, your normal visitor count will be incremented by 5, but your unique visitor count will only be incremented by 1. Analytics Expert Tracking determines uniqueness by a visitor's IP address. Some services use cookies to try to track a unique visitor, but Analytics Expert Tracking does not because of privacy concerns.

Actions

Most packages only track page views, but Analytics Expert Tracking also tracks file downloads, outgoing links, and other types of clicks. We group all of these into a term we call "actions". The actions count gives you a much more thorough and accurate picture of visitor activity.

Average time spent

The average amount of time spent on your web site, per visitor.

Total time spent

This figure represents how much cumulative time was spent on your web site across all visitors for the day. If your site gets a decent amount of traffic, this value is typically much larger than "1 day".

Bounce rate

A visitor "bounces" from your site if they only view one page and do nothing else. The bounce rate is the percentage of your visitors who bounced, so a lower value is better. We only calculate and store a global bounce rate for your entire site. You can see the bounce rate for different segments of your visitors by going to your visitors page and applying filters. Applying a "traffic source" filter of "links" or "searches" will show you some data for all of the visitors who arrived at your site via a link or search, including the bounce rate.

Traffic sources

This gives you a general break down of how visitors are arriving at your site, which we calculate by analyzing a visitor's referrer data. There are currently 7 categories:

  1. Direct / Bookmark - How many visitors arrived at your site with an empty referrer string. This usually means they typed in your address by hand (direct) or used a bookmark to get to your page.
  2. Links - How many visitors arrived via a link from another web site, excluding search engines
  3. Searches - How many visitors arrived by an external search engine
  4. Advertising - How many visitors arrived via advertisements you may be running. We determine this by looking at the domain of the referrer. If it is a major known advertising domain, or the domain matches certain patterns such as "ad", "ads", or "pagead", then we put the visitor in this category.
  5. Email - How many visitors arrived via email. Only web mail is supported, however, because clicking on a link from within a program like Outlook will not send any referrer data to your site.
  6. RSS readers - How many visitors arrived via an exteranl RSS readers, such as Google Reader, Netvibes, Bloglines, etc.
  7. Social media - How many visitors arrived via popular social media sites. Supported sites are: twitter, pownce, youtube, myspace, facebook, orkut, digg, reddit, propeller, sphinn, mixx, newsvine, sk-rt, shoutwire, stumbleupon, popurls, fark, metafilter, techmeme, ma.gnolia, flickr, yahoo buzz, del.icio.us, furl, blinklist, dzone, hyves, nujij, ekudos, reporter.msn, and grubb.

Referrers

When you look at a web page, your web browser sends a whole bunch of data to that page, including something called the referrer. The referrer indicates what page (if any) "referred" you to the current page. For example, if you search for something on Google, and then click on one of the results, your web browser will use the URL of the Google search page as the referrer. This is how Analytics Expert Tracking is able to determine what searches and other pages lead visitors to your web site, because our tracking code can access this referrer data. Any time you click a link on a web page, your browser sends the referrer data to the next page you end up on, even if it's on the same web site. Analytics Expert Tracking ignores these "internal" referrers, however.

Organizations

A visitor's organization (and hostname) is determined by looking up their IP address in a third party database. It is not 100% accurate, but close to it. These values represent the company that "owns" that IP address. For example, if someone from Microsoft corporate headquarters visited your site, you would see "Microsoft" as their organization. Unfortunately, many home users can't be identified by anything more accurate than their ISP, which is not nearly as useful. This is why there is an option in your site prefernces to only show a visitor's organization if it is not an ISP. This filter looks for certain keywords in the organization's name, such as "internet", "broadband", "telecom", etc and hides the data if there's a match. This filter is not 100% accurate but enabling it helps the visitors with real organization details to stand out.

Hostnames

A visitor's hostname is what their IP address resolves to for a lookup. For example, one of Google's IP addresses is 64.233.167.99. If a visitor with this IP address came to your web site, then their hostname would be displayed as "google.com". Please see Organizations for more information about this (it works the same way).

Outgoing links

An outgoing link is a link on your web site that points to another external web site. Analytics Expert Tracking automatically tracks clicks on these links so you can see how your visitor's are leaving your web site and where you are sending the most traffic to. When a visitor clicks an outgoing link, that action will show up in their visitor session, and the total value for clicks on that link will be incremented by 1.

Downloads

Analytics Expert Tracking automatically tracks clicks on any links that point to a file on your web site. Supported file extensions are: 7z, aac, avi, csv, doc, exe, flv, gif, gz, jpg, jpeg, mp3, mp4, mpeg, mpg, mov, msi, pdf, phps, png, ppt, rar, sit, tar, torrent, txt, wma, wmv, xls, xml, and zip. When a visitor clicks a download, that action will show up in their visitor session, and the total value for downloads of that file will be incremented by 1.

Clicks

Along with page views, outgoing links, and downloads, "clicks" represents the fourth and final action type. It can be used to track clicks on anything on your web site. If your site uses a lot of "Ajax" or plain JavaScript for some interface elements (like we do for the dashboard and the spy page), you would probably find it useful to track people interacting with these elements so you can understand their behavior better. However, we don't know what other clicks you would want to track besides outgoing links and downloads, so you have to set this up manually if you want to use it. Relevant documentation is here.

Recent links / searches

These are logs of all incoming links and searches that have sent a visitor to your site, in reverse chronological order.

Newest unique links / searches

The first time any particular link or search term has sent a visitor to your site (since you have installed Analytics Expert Tracking), it will show up in these logs along with the time it occurred. Items are displayed in reverse chronological order.

Entrance / exit pages

An entrance page, sometimes called a landing page, is the page that a new visitor session starts on. If a visitor comes to your site directly, that will typically be your front page, but visitors coming to your site via searches or other external links will probably be "landing" on other pages initially. The entrance pages section shows which pages are the most popular "first pages" that people see. Likewise, an exit page is the "last" page that a user sees before leaving your web site.

Tag clouds

All "popular" data (searches, downloads, etc) defaults to being sorted from most popular to least popular, with a simple HTML bar graph on the side to visually represent the how popular each item is relative to the others. Analytics Expert Tracking also offers the ability to view this data as a "tag cloud", which you can enable/disable on the fly by clicking the cloud icon on any page that it is available. A tag cloud is a popular "Web 2.0" feature, and generally shows you some form of popular data in a random 2-dimensional order, with the size and color of each item representing its popularity. Click here for an example. Tag clouds give you a new view on your data, and help showcase "long tail" items because they are intermixed with the most popular ones.

Spy

Spy shows you the same data you will see on the main Actions list page, except that everything is live! You will see page views, downloads, outgoing links, and clicks stream down the spy page as they are happening on your web site. It was inspired by Digg Spy. Careful - it's very addictive.

RSS

RSS is short for "Really Simple Syndication", and is a way to easily extract chronological data from one web site and display it on another. For example, most blogs have an RSS feed, which contains a list of recent stories, ordered from newest to oldest. Analytics Expert Tracking offers a few RSS feeds for chronological data from your web site's traffic, such as recent visitors, recent incoming links, and recent searches. You can access the various feeds by clicking the RSS icon in the Analytics Expert Tracking navigation bar at the top of your stats pages. You can use the RSS feeds to display this data on your own web site if you want, or you can put them in an RSS reader such as NetVibes or Google Reader.

FeedBurner

If your site has an RSS feed, you should be redirecting it through FeedBurner (FB). This is a third party service that monitors how many subscribers you have to your feed(s), and which items are read and clicked on the most. FB has an API that Clicky can talk to to show you your FB data within the Analytics Expert Tracking interface. Once you have setup FB in your Analytics Expert Tracking site preferences, there will be a new module available on your dashboard to show you your data. There will also be a new tab in your site's navigation bar with the FB icon , which you can click on to view the data.


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