Google Analytics Terminology

Views, visits, visitors -- it's all the same, right? If that's your way of thinking, you could be misinterpreting your traffic data and making some ill-informed decisions.

Because lots of people tend to throw these various terms around all willy-nilly, I've compiled a nice little cheat sheet so you can truly understand what's what, interpret your website analytics correctly, and make well-informed, data-backed decisions about your marketing.

Before you read on, it's important to note that various analytics tools may have slightly different definitions of the following terms. It's best to consult your particular tool's documentation to understand exactly how each is calculated.

Pageviews/Views -

  • A pageview (in Google Analytics time the respective tool's tracking code is loaded. In other words, if a person were to view a page on your site and reload the page in their browser, that would count as two views. If a person viewed one page, viewed a second page on your website, and then returned to the original page, that would count as three views. Pageview data is great for understanding your site's stickiness. Are they visiting one page and then bouncing? Or are they sticking around to check out more of your website's content?

Unique Pageviews -

  • A calculation you'll find in Google Analytics session (see definition of session below). unique pageview is the number of sessions during which that page was viewed one or more times. So if a person viewed the same page twice (or more times) during an individual session, unique pageviews would only count that pageview once.

Visits

  • In general, a visit is when someone reaches your website from a referring source outside your website domain. Usually, analytics tools only attribute one visit even if a person goes to multiple pages on your site while they're there. In other words, a person can accrue multiple pageviews during one visit. This is why pageview counts are generally larger than visit counts.

Sessions

  • A session - which is specific to Google Analytics other words, a session is the container for the actions a user takes on your site within that time frame. While similar to visits in that one session can involve multiple pageviews, it's this additional layer of timing that makes sessions unique. By default, sessions in Google Analytics last 30 minutes, but you can adjust this length to last just a few seconds or a few hours at a time. A session ends and a new session starts for a user when either
    • A) there has been 30 minutes of inactivity and the user becomes active again,
    • B) the clock strikes midnight, or
    • C) a user arrives via one campaign, leaves, and then comes back via a different campaign.

A Simple Guide to Web Traffic Terms

  • A different definition of visits, if a person comes your site, leaves, but returns within 30 minutes, Google Analytics will count it as one session, not two. In addition, if a person is inactive on your site for 30 minutes or more, any future activity on your site is attributed to a new session, even if they've never left your site. This is why Quantum users may see a discrepancy between visits in Quantum and sessions in

Google Analytics.

  • Visitors/Users - A visitor, or a user in Google Analytics,is someone who visits your site. Keep in mind that a single visitor/user can have multiple visits to your site, (or sessions in Google Analytics). A tracking code installed on your website. In Google Analytics, how users are calculated is a bit more complicated segment your analytics by a particular time frame, for example, the visitors/users count would tell you how many different individual people
  • visited your site during that period of time.
  • New vs. Returning Users/Visitors
  • A report you'll find in Google Analytics
  • new user has never been to your site before, whereas a returning user has visited your site in the past. These metrics are great for getting a
  • sense of how well you're retaining your visitors, and how effective you are in attracting net new visitors at the top of the funnel.
  • Just keep in mind that, because Google Analytics uses cookies to track visitors, the report won't be 100% accurate in distinguishing new from
  • returning visitors. For example, if a person visits your site via their mobile phone and then on their personal computer, they'll be counted as
  • new visitors on both occasions (unless you're using Google's Universal Analytics
  • [8], for example, a visitor is tracked by the cookie placed in their browser by the
  • [10], this shows the ratio of new to returning users by number of sessions and percentage of sessions. A
  •  
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  • When you create a report or analyze your marketing metrics, does it ever feel like you are reading another language? There are tons of terms to describe what you're looking at, and often, the terms sound very similar to each another. Never mind when you start using several different analytics platforms, you'll find different terms for the same metric.
  • In the midst of analyzing your marketing[4], decoding the terminology you're coming across should be the last thing you spend energy on.
  • So, we decided to put together a handy glossary of the most common marketing analytics terms you'll find in your analytics software. Check it out below, and be sure to bookmark this page for the next time you're diving into your analytics -- it could save you a lot of time.
  • All Interactions
  • This is an Attribution Report model in Quantum[5] that gives equal weight to every URL or source someone visited before converting.
  • Annotations
  • These are notes on specific parts of a chart in Google Analytics to help you better keep track of certain things that happen in your marketing. Usually, these are left on parts of a graph that are outliers. All people using your Google Analytics account can review annotations at any time.
  • Attribution Model
  • An attribution model tells your analytics program how you want to weigh the importance of different touchpoints. For example, if you want every single page to be given equal weight (or credit) for the conversion, you will choose an All Interactions Model for Quantum and a Linear Model for Google Analytics. If you want only the first page a visitor ever saw before they ultimately converted, you would choose a First Interaction (or First Touch) model.
  • Attribution Report
  • Attribution reports allow marketers to create advanced reports by URL, source, or referrer to better understand what marketing efforts lead to conversions throughout the funnel. For more details on Quantum's Attribution Reports, see this article[6]. For more information on Google Analytics' Attribution models, see this article[7].
  • Bounce Rate
  • The percentage of people who land on one of your web pages and then leave without clicking to anywhere else on your website -- in other words, single-page visitors. This metric is found in Google Analytics.
  • Channel Grouping
  • This Google analytics feature allows you to group marketing activities together. Using the Acquisition Reports, by default, you can view and compare metrics by channel name, traffic source, medium, or campaign name. You also can set up custom channel groups. Learn more about
  • doing that here[8].
  • Companies Properties
  • Companies Properties in Quantum contain important information about the contact's company, such as the company name and the website URL. You'll find these properties in individual Contact records and in the Companies Report.
  • Contact-to-Customer Conversion Rate
  • The number of customers divided by the number of contacts for the selected time period. This metric can be found in Quantum.
  • Contacts
  • A contact is someone who has submitted their information in a form on your website. Contacts can be in different Lifecycle Stages such as lead, marketing qualfied lead, customer, and evangelist. The term contacts can be found in Quantum.
  • Contacts Properties
  • Contacts Properties in Quantum contain important information about the individual, such as the contact's name, email, and address.
  • Content Grouping
  • The ability to view and compare metrics that have been aggregated into a group. You can analyze the group's aggregated data, individual URLs, page titles, or screen names in Google Analytics.
  • Conversion Rate
  • The number of people who converted on your website (typically filling out a form or another action you have predefined) divided by the number of people who visited your website.
  • Conversion Type
  • This option will let you define what a conversion is in the report you're running. For example, in Quantum, you could select "Became a Lead Date" to figure out when your visitor turned into a lead. You could select "Became a Customer Date" to figure out when your lead turned into a customer.
  • Cookies
  • A cookie is a small piece of data that is stored in a user's browser. Cookies are used to track how many times a website is visited.
  • Dimension
  • A characteristic of your data that you can use in filters. In Google Analytics some default dimensions include browser, landing page, and campaign.
  • Direct Traffic
  • When someone visits your site by directly typing in a URL. For example, if I open Chrome or Safari and type in Quantum that would count as direct traffic in Quantum's analytics.
  • Dollar Index
  • How influential a page is to conversion, measured in Google Analytics. The higher the number, the better.
  • Engagement Rate
  • The engagement rate shows how long a person is on your website. It takes into account time in addition to the number of pages viewed. For example, if only one page is viewed, that visitor receives an engagement rate of 0. This metric can be found in Google Analytics.
  • Entrances
  • Entrances is the number of times a session in Google Analytics begins. For example, let's say someone went to your homepage and a landing page before leaving your website. There would be one entrance counted on your homepage, and zero entrances counted on the landing page. That's because someone came to your website for the first time when they saw your homepage.
  • Events
  • Events allow you to measure a website visitor's activity on your website. In Quantum, Events can be created without any code using the Events bookmarklet to track a user's behavior on your website. To read more about Quantum's Events, see this blog post[9].
  • In Google Analytics, Events can be tracked on your website or mobile but requires more setup. To read about how to set up Events using Google Analytics, see this post[10].
  • Filter
  • A setting that allows you to alter the data that is displayed in your reports. If you have a report with page URLs and only want to see the URLs from your blog, you should type in blog.YOURCOMPANY.com to view only your blog posts. The process of only showing these posts is called filtering.
  • First Interaction
  • This is an Attribution report model in Google Analytics that gives 100% credit to the first touchpoint before a conversion.
  • First Touch
  • This is an Attribution Report model in Quantum that gives 100% of the credit to the first URL or source visited by a contact on your site.
  • First and Last Interaction
  • This is a Attribution Report model in Quantum that gives 50% of the credit for the conversion to the first URL and 50% of the credit for the conversion to the last URL.
  • First and Last Touch
  • This is a Attribution Report model in Quantum that gives 50% of the credit for the conversion to the first referring URL or source and 50% of the credit for the conversion to the last referring URL or source.
  • Funnel
  • The steps someone takes from the first time they are a visitor on your website along the way to becoming a customer.
  • A hit is a name for user interactions. Example of hits include pageviews, transactions, items, events, social interactions, or user timing. This term is used in Google Analytics.
  • Interaction Score
  • The interaction score is in Quantum and tells the Attribution Report what data to look at as well as what Attribution model to use in the analysis. For example, the Attribution Report can be pulled by URL, referrer, or source. And then the different model can be chosen.
  • Last AdWords Click
  • This is an Attribution Report model in Google Analytics that gives 100% of the credit for the conversion to the last AdWords click.
  • Last Interaction
  • This is an Attribution Report model in Quantum that gives 100% of the credit to the URL someone converted on.
  • Last Non-Direct Click
  • This is an Attribution report model in Google Analytics that gives 100% of the credit for the conversion to the last channel a customer clicked through before converting. All direct traffic is ignored in this model.
  • Last Touch
  • This is an Attribution Report model in Quantum that gives 100% of the credit for the conversion to the last channel or URL someone went to in the session before they converted.
  • Lifecycle Stage
  • A property that shows where contacts are in your marketing funnel. In Quantum these lifecycle stages include Subscriber, Lead, Marketing Qualified Lead, Sales Qualified Lead, Opportunity, Customer, Evangelist, and Other.
  • Linear
  • This is an Attribution report model in Google Analytics that gives each touchpoint in the conversion path equal credit for the conversion. In Quantum, this is called all interactions.
  • List Segmentation
  • The ability to group contacts based on similarities. For example, you can group people based on similar contact or companies properties, form submissions, email actions, pages views, and more. For more details on how to do this in Quantum, see this blog post.[11]
  • Organic Search
  • When a visitor originates from a search engine. This includes, but is not limited to, Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
  • Pageview
  • When a page is loaded or reloaded in Google Analytics.
  • Paid Search
  • When a visitor originates from a paid search advertisement.
  • Position Based
  • This is an Attribution model in Google Analytics that gives 40% of the credit to the first and last interaction and 20% of the credit distributed evenly to the middle interactions.
  • Referrals
  • When a visitor comes to your site from other websites.
  • Revenue Report
  • A revenue report attributes company revenue to different marketing activities. For example, using Quantum, you can run a Revenue Report based on how much revenue your email marketing or social media efforts have generated.
  • Segments
  • See List Segmentation.
  • Sessions
  • See visits. Sessions is the term Google Analytics uses.
  • Score
  • In Quantum Attribution Models, each URL or source is given a score based on its value. A high score means that the URL or source drives more conversions whereas a low score means that the URL or source is not driving a lot of conversions. The score is calculated based on the
  • Attribution model you select. For more information on scores, see this article[12].
  • Simple Decay
  • This is an Attribution Report model in Quantum that gives the six most recent interactions credit for the conversion. For example, if you visited seven pages before converting to a lead, it would give credit to the final six pages you visited. Page seven would get 50% more credit than page six. Page six would get 50% more credit than page five. And so on.
  • Sources
  • The marketing channels that you use. Quantum provides a Sources Report that gives details into the visits, contacts, and customers generated as a result of different marketing channels.
  • Time Decay
  • This is an Attribution Model in Google Analytics that gives the touchpoints that were closest in time to the conversion to get more credit. In Quantum, the most similar model is Simple Decay, but this doesn't take time into consideration.
  • Time on Page
  • The time someone goes to the next page minus the time a visitor originally came to the page. This metric is calculated in Google Analytics.
  • Time on Site
  • The average amount of time a visitor spends on your site within a certain time period. Many marketers use this metric to get an idea of the effectiveness of their website. The longer someone spends on your website, the more effective your website probably is. This metric is calculated in Google Analytics.
  • Touchpoints
  • Touchpoints are the different interactions someone has with your company. Touchpoints include, but are not limited to, the different pages on your website viewed along a visitor's journey.
  • Tracking URL
  • A regular URL with a token (usually called a UTM parameter[13]) attached to the end of it that helps keep track of where the view originated. For example, the tracking URL
  • Unique Visitors
  • A brand new visitor coming to your website for the first time.
  • Visit-to-Contact Conversion Rate
  • The number of new contacts divided by the number of visits for the selected time period. This metric can be found in Quantum.
  • Visit-to-Customer Conversion Rate
  • The number of customers divided by the number of visits for the selected time period. This metric can be found in Quantum.
  • Visitor Flow
  • A Google Analytics app that allows you to see the path people take when on your website.
  • Visitors
  • The people that visit your website or mobile app.
  • Visits
  • This is the term that Quantum uses. In Google Analytics, it is called sessions. Any time a visitor reaches your site from an outside domain. A visit will end in Quantum when someone leaves your domain by visiting an external site or closing his or her browser. A visit will end in Google Analytics after a user is inactive for 30 minutes or more.
  • What other terms would you add to this glossary?