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What is Web Analytics? | Internet Marketing Strategies - Online Marketing Tools
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What is Web Analytics?

by on November 22, 2009


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Web analytics refers to the measurement, collection and analysis of internet data for the purpose of optimizing and understanding the use of the web. Web analytics can either be on-site or off-site web analytics. On-site web analytics involves the analysis of your own website in order to determine how visitors navigate through your site. This usually involves an analysis of landing pages, drivers and conversions of the site towards a purchase. In the commercial context, this kind of analysis provides performance indicators of a web site or a marketing campaign. Off-site analytics involves a look at the internet as a whole and the potential as well as the visibility of a website to the internet community. Historically though, the term web analytics has come to refer to on-site measurements of a particular web site.

The use of web analytics technologies involves either collecting data stored in logfiles on the web server or by use of page tagging where JavaScript is used to notify a server that a page request by a browser has occurred. This data can then be collected to produce web traffic data. These are the main ways of collecting data. There are other ways which include e-mail response rates, lead information, click heat mapping among others. Web log analysis software is used to collect the data from web logs and generate extensive statistics. The emergence of search engines means that log analyzers have to ignore requests from spiders and track cookies from visits instead. Page tagging helps to resolve some inaccuracies of log file analysis by use of web counters.

Assigning of cookies is also another important element of present web analytics services. Cookies help to uniquely identify a visitor and any subsequent visits. Due to their varied uses between web sites, the quality of data collected and reported from them is affected. Alternatively, data may also be collected by a third-party server by use of DNS look-ups to identify IP addresses. This method however has the risk of losing data if DNS look-ups fail or are delayed for too long.

Today, commonly available web analytics third-party software provides highly customizable enterprise-level analysis of systems by offering real-time and historical data that can even be visualized with graphs and charts helping marketers and site designers to optimize their business web sites. Depending on which web analytics software you choose, this method of analyzing your web site can help you to improve conversion rates.

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