Unique visits, views, hits, etc…

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Terms in the article title above are often found on a website or blog statistics. Unique visits, views, hits, and some other terms … maybe people in general do not know what it means and me too.

So I am interested to find out. On Wikipedia I found the meaning of the terms mentioned above and several other related terms.

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Hit – A request for a file from the web server. Available only in log analysis. The number of hits received by a website is frequently cited to assert its popularity, but this number is extremely misleading and dramatically over-estimates popularity. A single web-page typically consists of multiple (often dozens) of discrete files, each of which is counted as a hit as the page is downloaded, so the number of hits is really an arbitrary number more reflective of the complexity of individual pages on the website than the website’s actual popularity. The total number of visitors or page views provides a more realistic and accurate assessment of popularity.

Page view – A request for a file whose type is defined as a page in log analysis. An occurrence of the script being run in page tagging. In log analysis, a single page view may generate multiple hits as all the resources required to view the page (images, .js and .css files) are also requested from the web server.

Visit / Session – A visit is defined as a series of page requests from the same uniquely identified client with a time of no more than 30 minutes between each page request. A session is defined as a series of page requests from the same uniquely identified client with a time of no more than 30 minutes and no requests for pages from other domains intervening between page requests. In other words, a session ends when someone goes to another site, or 30 minutes elapse between pageviews, whichever comes first. A visit ends only after a 30 minute time delay. If someone leaves a site, then returns within 30 minutes, this will count as one visit but two sessions. In practise, most systems ignore sessions and many analysts use both terms for visits. Because time between pageviews is critical to the definition of visits and sessions, a single one pageview event does not constitute a visit or a session (it is a “bounce”).

First Visit / First Session – A visit from a visitor who has not made any previous visits.

Visitor / Unique Visitor / Unique User – The uniquely identified client generating requests on the web server (log analysis) or viewing pages (page tagging) within a defined time period (i.e. day, week or month). A Unique Visitor counts once within the timescale. A visitor can make multiple visits. Identification is made to the visitor’s computer, not the person, usually via cookie and/or IP+User Agent. Thus the same person visiting from two different computers will count as two Unique Visitors. Increasingly visitors are uniquely identified by Flash LSO’s (Local Shared Object), which are less susceptible to privacy enforcement.

Repeat Visitor – A visitor that has made at least one previous visit. The period between the last and current visit is called visitor recency and is measured in days.

New Visitor – A visitor that has not made any previous visits. This definition creates a certain amount of confusion (see common confusions below), and is sometimes substituted with analysis of first visits.

Impression – An impression is each time an advertisement loads on a user’s screen. Anytime you see a banner, that is an impression.

Singletons – The number of visits where only a single page is viewed. While not a useful metric in and of itself the number of singletons is indicative of various forms of Click fraud as well as being used to calculate bounce rate and in some cases to identify automatons bots).

Bounce Rate – The percentage of visits where the visitor enters and exits at the same page without visiting any other pages on the site in between.

% Exit – The percentage of users who exit from a page.

Visibility time – The time a single page (or a blog, Ad Banner…) is viewed.

Session Duration – Average amount of time that visitors spend on the site each time they visit. This metric can be complicated by the fact that analytics programs can not measure the length of the final page view[8].

Page View Duration / Time on Page – Average amount of time that visitors spend on each page of the site. As with Session Duration, this metric is complicated by the fact that analytics programs can not measure the length of the final page view unless they record a page close event, such as on Unload ().

Active Time / Engagement Time – Average amount of time that visitors spend actually interacting with content on a web page, based on mouse moves, clicks, hovers and scrolls. Unlike Session Duration and Page View Duration / Time on Page, this metric can accurately measure the length of engagement in the final page view.

Page Depth / Page Views per Session – Page Depth is the average number of page views a visitor consumes before ending their session. It is calculated by dividing total number of page views by total number of sessions and is also called Page Views per Session or PV/Session.

Frequency / Session per Unique – Frequency measures how often visitors come to a website. It is calculated by dividing the total number of sessions (or visits) by the total number of unique visitors. Sometimes it is used to measure the loyalty of your audience.

Click path – the sequence of hyperlinks one or more website visitors follows on a given site.

Click – “refers to a single instance of a user following a hyperlink from one page in a site to another”[9]. A growing community of web site editors use click analytics to analyze their web sites.

Site Overlay is a technique in which graphical statistics are shown besides each link on the web page. These statistics represent the percentage of clicks on each link.

Note: in this case there are three agencies that make sense for these terms, namely Jicwebs (Industry Committee for Web Standards), ABCe (Auditing Bureau of Circulations electronic, UK and Europe), WAA (Web Analytics Association, US) and IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau). But there is no standard agreement used.

Want to know a popular statistical tool used on the blog / website? Read post: Google Analytics, Awstats, and alternative statistical tool.

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