Today, the web users surf many different websites regularly in the course of their daily lives. The usability and conversion rate of a website reflect the kind of experience the web users have on the website. The success of a website rides on the usability and conversion rate of the website. The higher the usability and conversion rate of the website, the better the website is functioning. Web analytics consists of a series of metrics and techniques which are used by webmasters to gauge their website’s usability and conversion rate.
What is web analytics?
Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, presentation and interpretation of information about visitors of web sites for the purpose of their improvement and optimization. The main task of web analytics is to monitor traffic of the website, on the basis of which the web audience is determined and the behavior of web visitors is studied in order to make decisions on the development and increasing of the functionality of a web resource.
Web analytics is the measurement and analysis of data to inform an understanding of user behavior across web pages. Analytics platforms measure activity and behavior on a website, for example: how many users visit, how long they stay, how many pages they visit, which pages they visit, and whether they arrive by following a link or not. Businesses use web analytics platforms to measure and benchmark site performance and to look at key performance indicators that drive their business, such as purchase conversion rate.
The field of web analytics is relatively young, though at the present time there exist a lot of tools for the analysis of websites’ functionality. For example, such tools as Site Catalyst, or CoreMetrics Analytics, and WebTrends Analyst, Yahoo Web Analytics, and many others. Each of the tools differs by its own specific features and capabilities. There are both commercial and free tools for web analytics.
Web analytics technologies are usually categorized into on-site and off-site web analytics. On-site web analytics refers to data collection on the current site. It is used to effectively measure many aspects of direct user-website interactions, including number of visits, time on site, click path, etc. Off-site analytics is usually offered by third party companies such as Twitalyzer or Sweetspot. It includes data from other sources such as surveys, market report, competitor comparison, public information, etc.
Figure: Web Analytics Framework
Use of Web Analytics
Web analytics is a field of web traffic data collection and analysis. Web analytics is useful to
- better understand website traffic and usage
- optimize the website (e.g. navigation, structure, usability, design, content)
- analyze behavior of users and online customers
- improve e-CRM (customer orientation, acquisition & retention)
- improve e-Marketing (campaigns & search engine optimization)
- optimize e-Business & e-Commerce
- website management & rational decision-making
Sample Web Analytics Data
Web analytics data is typically presented in dashboards that can be customized by user persona, date range, and other attributes. Data is broken down into categories, such as:
- number of visits, number of unique visitors
- new vs. returning visitor ratio
- what country they are from
- what browser or device they are on (desktop vs. mobile)
- common landing pages
- common exit page
- frequently visited pages
- length of time spent per visit
- number of pages per visit
- bounce rate
- which campaigns drove the most traffic
- which websites referred the most traffic
- which keyword searches resulted in a visit
- campaign medium breakdown, such as email vs. social media
Web Analytics Examples
The most popular web analytics tool is Google Analytics, although there are many others on the market offering specialized information such as real-time activity or heat mapping.
The following are some of the most commonly used tools:
- Google Analytics – the ‘standard’ website analytics tool, free and widely used
- Piwik – an open-source solution similar in functionality to Google and a popular alternative, allowing companies full ownership and control of their data
- Adobe Analytics – highly customizable analytics platform
- Kissmetrics – can zero in on individual behavior, i.e. cohort analysis, conversion and retention at the segment or individual level
- Mixpanel – advanced mobile and web analytics that measure actions rather than pageviews
- ly – offers detailed real-time analytics, specifically for publishers
- CrazyEgg – measures which parts of the page are getting the most attention using ‘heat mapping’
- Clicktale – uses ‘heat mapping,’ keystrokes and mouse movement.
With a wide variety of analytics tools on the market, the right vendors for your company’s needs will depend on your specific requirements. Luckily, Optimize integrates with most of the leading platforms to simplify your data analysis.
 Bhavna Beri and Parminder, “Web Analytics: Increasing Website’s Usability and Conversion Rate”, International Journal of Computer Applications (IJCA), Volume 72– No.6, May 2013.
 Dibrova, Alisa. “Web analytics. Website analysis with Google Analytics and Yandex Metrics.” (2013).
 “Web Analytics”, available online at: http://diuf.unifr.ch/main/is/web_analytics
 “Web Analytics”, available online at: https://www.optimizely.com/optimization-glossary/web-analytics/
 “What Is Web Analytics”, available online at: https://www.xml.com/pub/a/2005/10/12/what-is-web-analytics.html