Web Marketing Traffic Metrics - dummies

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

Traffic, in terms of web visitors, is key to web marketing data and it’s different aspects tell you different things about the visitors to your website. Traffic actually comprises five different ingredients:

  • Sessions (also called visits): A session is any one person visiting your website any one time. If someone visits your site ten times in a week, those visits count as ten sessions, whether she stayed on the site for 5 minutes or 50.

  • Unique visitors (called uniques if you want to sound terribly professional): A unique visitor is any one person visiting your website any number of times during a defined period. If someone visits your site ten times in a week, she still counts as only one unique visitor.

  • Page views: A page view is any one visitor viewing one page of your site, one time. A page must have a unique address, or URL. If someone visits your homepage but then clicks a link to your Contact page, those are two page views.

  • Time on site: This is the total amount of time one visitor spends on your site in the course of a single session. Average time on site is an invaluable measure of visit quality and visitor interest.

  • Referrers: If someone clicks a search result link at Google and lands on your site, Google is known as the referrer.

Any traffic-reporting toolset — even the most basic — must provide these five metrics. If yours doesn’t, replace it. These five metrics typically show up right on the first page — the dashboard — of your traffic-reporting package.