Meaning of Hits, Visits, Page Views and Traffic Sources – Web Analytics Definitions


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There are many programs available that allow you to track visitors on your site, how they got to you and what they did while they were there. The statistics can be a little confusing so here is a little explanation on what you will be looking at and what each item really means.
1. Visit – This is the one piece of information that you really want to know. A visit is one individual visitor who arrives at your web site and proceeds to browse. A visit counts all visitors, no matter how many times the same visitor may have been to your site.
2. Unique Visit – This is also called Visit by Cookie. A unique visit will tell you which visits from item 1 are visiting your site for the first time. The website can track this as unique by the IP address of the computer. *The number of unique visits will be far less that visits because a unique visit is only tracked if cookies are enabled on the visitors computer*
3. Page View This is also called Impression.  Once a visitor arrives at your website, they will search around on a few more pages. On average, a visitor will look at about 2.5 pages. Each individual page a visitor views is tracked as a page view.
4. HitsThe real Black Sheep in the family. The average website owner thinks that a hit means a visit but it is very different (see item 1).  A Hit actually refers to the number of files downloaded on your site, this could include photos, graphics, etc. Picture the average web page, it has photos (each photo is a file and hence a hit) and lots of buttons (each button is a file and hence a hit). On average, each page will include 15 hits.
To give you an example –  Using the average statistics listed above, 1 Visit to an average web site will generate 3 Page Views and 45 Hits.
5. Traffic Sources – How do visitors find your site
  • Direct Navigation (type URL in traffic, bookmarks, email links w/o tracking codes, etc.)
  • Referral Traffic (from links across the web, social media, in trackable email, promotion & branding campaign links)
  • Organic Search (queries that sent traffic from any major or minor web search engines)
  • PPC (click through from Pay Per click sponsored ads, triggered by targeted keyphrases)

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