Measure your online marketing

Key web analytics metrics


The criteria for analysing the effectiveness of your site depend on your business and online objectives. There are certain metrics that most website owners will want to measure.

Most web analytics software can measure a wide range of metrics. The most common include:

  • Unique visitors - the number of individual people visiting the site during a reporting period. Each visitor is counted only once. The software will usually filter out non-human visitors such as spiders, robots, and website crawlers. These visitors periodically scan websites or download content for search engines.
  • Bounce rates - a 'bounce' is a visit that consists of a single-page view, eg where visitors do not navigate beyond the landing or home page. The bounce rate is the percentage of visits to a page that 'bounce'.
  • Conversion rate to goals - this is the percentage of visitors who complete target actions. This might include registering for more information, signing up for a newsletter, completing a purchase or asking for a price quote.
  • Average order value - this is a calculation used on e-commerce websites, which is the total value of sales divided by the number of individual orders. It is often used alongside order conversion rate as a key performance indicator of the site's effectiveness.
  • Shopping cart drop-out rate - this is the percentage of people who start the online buying process, but stop before completing the purchase. It can highlight a problem with the buying processes on your site. For example, complicated forms or a lack of clarity about delivery charges.
  • Keywords used - this shows what visitors were looking for when they came to your site. If you have an internal search facility, it can show what they looked for when they reached the site. These can be invaluable in maximising search effectiveness.
  • Referring domain - this is the site where your visitors were before they came to your site.
  • Visitor information - usually including where they came from and their network location.
  • Pages visited and dwell time - it is important to see what pages in your site visitors look at, and how long they spent on each page.

Metrics can be helpful to find out: 

  • persuades visitors to complete your marketing goals
  • whether there is something that causes you to lose prospects at a particular point
  • whether cross-selling or up-selling works on your site

On e-commerce sites you can track the user journey from product view through to purchase. Consider whether there are points in that journey where customers are dropping out.