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Understanding Web Analytics

"What's the difference between hits and visits?" I took a deep breath before attempting to explain the answer to this million dollar question to a group of board members during a client pitch this past week.

Explaining web metrics in a clear and concise way is nothing new to me. Especially since many clients do not take the time to consider analyzing their own data and instead focus on throwing money away on endless paid-per-click search campaigns without any sort of knowledge. I learned early on in my career, if you could explain things in an easy method, breaking down information into bite-sized chunks, chances are much greater that you could close a sale. Any salesperson will tell you that a client buys into you more than the product or service you are selling. Therefore I always made it my number one goal to educate my clientele instead of trying to pull the wool over their eyes.

Pre-dot com bust everyone focused on getting their business online and paid no attention to any web reporting (despite the fact that reporting was also in it's infancy.) Fast forward to today and I question if really anything has changed.

Clients often times clamor to get online without first considering web metrics, and in turn their own audience at all. Fortune 500 clients still do not employ web metrics into their routine. Those that do, are often times paying hand over fist to simply know the amount of hits they receive from a website. The problem that any analyst will tell you is that the number of web hits mean extremely little when it comes to metrics.

I will go one step further and suggest that a number of visits to a given website can mean very little as well. In the case of individuals within a niche marketplace it is acceptable to believe that the desired demographic is going to be more finite than a website that can pander to an extremely wide-ranging audience. Therefore it's important to pay more attention to time spent on the site, page views and bounce rates.

For example, I would much rather 100 people spending 6 minutes or more on my website, thumbing through every page vs 1,000 people spending 10 seconds and going through 1 page (or even leaving directly from the homepage.)

So back to my introductory statement and the answer I gave the group of board members for a luxury retail client... "There is a huge difference between hits and visits, but neither of which should be of a primary concern to you..."

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11/03/2008 06:21:00 AM Subscribe to RSS FeedSubscribe to RSS Feed

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