Web Analytics

What Is Web Analytics?

Short Definition: The collection, measurement, reporting, and analysis of traffic data on the web for website optimization.

Web analytics is an umbrella term for the collection and analysis of all data related to how people behave on a website. Web analytics can help answer questions like, How are visitors finding my website? How long are they spending on a page? and What links are visitors clicking on?

Web analytics are essential for business owners and marketers to measure and benchmark the performance of their sites. Business owners can use web analytics to set performance-based goals and determine where to invest their online marketing budget.

How Do Businesses Collect Data About Their Sites?

Google Analytics is a free, widely-used tool that businesses can use to track their website performance. Google Analytics groups its data into several different reports, including:


  • Audience: Data about audience characteristics, such as their geographic location, language, device and browser they are using to view your site, and the ratio of new vs. returning visitors.
  • Acquisition: Data about how visitors arrived at your site, such as the referral source (i.e. website that linked them to your content), organic keywords that have driven traffic, and channels (e.g. Organic, Email, Social) that have brought visitors to the site.
  • Behavior: Data about the way visitors have behaved on your site, such as the pages they landed on and exited from, time they spent on a page, and the percent of visitors who bounced (visited one page but didn’t click through to any other pages).
  • Conversions: Data about actions visitors have completed, such as making a purchase or filling out a form.


There are additional platforms that can help enhance the insights that business owners and marketers get from Google Analytics. For example, Kissmetrics provides advanced audience analytics, and CrazyEgg provides “heat maps” that show which parts of a web page viewers focused on the most. Since most of these platforms aren’t free, business owners must decide which web analytics tools are most important to help them measure and achieve their goals.

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