Tuesday, April 14, 2009

metrics: Building blocks of web analytics

Let us start with the definition of the building blocks of web analytics:

Imagine a world with only 3 machines: McA, McB and McC
and that folks named A, B and C are logged on to those machines

Consider the following sequence of browsing by the person on McA

DateTime Machine Page
11th Jan 10 AM McA Home_page
11th Jan 10:20 AM McA Category_page
11th Jan 10:30 AM mcA Product_details_page
11th Jan 10:45 AM McA add_to_cart_page
11th Jan 11 AM McA payment_page
11th Jan 11 AM mcA thankyou_page

Every page visited corresponds to a page_view/request/click
So above there were a total of 1+1+1+1+1+1 = 6 clicks/requests/page_views

so a page_view/click/request is defined as a "request for a page"

Time between the clicks is as follows
1 & 2: 20 minutes
2 & 3: 10 minutes
3 & 4: 15 minutes
4 & 5: 15 minutes
5 & 6: 0 minutes

All clicks with no idle time of 30 minutes between them form part of a

visit. So in the above sequence there was only 1 visit

So in our above example there was ONE visit and SIX clicks

Since it was from the same machine (assuming the user did not clear the

cookies), it is a single user.

Now let us change the sequence

When we visit a website, the website stores a cookie on our machine - This

is to identify us uniquely the next time we visit the site. That is how

Amazon identifies visitors on their repeat visit and shows them web pages

with products/categories viewed on earlier visit - customizing the


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