Web analytics: Key terms jargon buster

Do you know your KPIs from your unique browsers? The jargon of web analytics can be a bit overwhelming. So, in the last of four videos, digital consultant Esra Dogramaci explains some key terms. There is also a glossary.

Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of web data to understand and optimise a website’s performance. But you need to know the meaning of the terms and tools used to make the most of the metrics.

There are tricky areas: around things like page views and visitors, or bounce rate and exit rate. And be clear about whether you are talking about a website or social media.

Another term that needs to be handled carefully is ‘engagement’, which is beginning to be used as a ‘catch-all’ measure when it is often something unique to a website.  

This is the last of our four videos on web analytics. Part one covers the basics; part two shows how BBC News uses analytics tools; while part three looks at how the metrics can help your journalism.



Bounce rate

The number of visitors to land on a page and leave immediately. ‘Bounces’ are always one-page sessions


Social news and entertainment website


A web analytics tool

Click path           

Chronological sequence of page views - visitor flows


A message given to a web browser by a web server. The browser stores the message in a text file


A web analytics tool


Simultaneous visits (the number of people who have looked at a story page at the same time)


Transforms Twitter stream into actionable alerts. Dataminr for News instantly analyses all public tweetsand delivers the earliest warning for breaking news         


Interaction with your audience on websites and social platforms

Entry rate

The percentage of visits starting on a particular page (that is, the number of entry page views divided by total number of visits)

Exit rate

Percentage of visitors who left your site from a specific page. They may not have landed on that page, and they may have viewed more than one page in a session

Facebook Insights

A web analytics tool


Twitter analytics tools which measure followers on your Twitter accounts


A custom overlay which grades the order in which users are clicking on your website and shows in real-time where people are scrolling or clicking  

JavaScript tag

A code or command that enables Web Analytics system to spring into action.


Key performance indicators (KPIs) measure things like success, the reach of your website, engagement and metrics


British-US news website, technology and social media blog


A web analytics tool


Refers to people coming direct to your site


People coming to your site from elsewhere

Page depth

The number of pages on your site a user visits in one session

Page view

A single complete page delivered to a request of a URL


Website: The number of visits to a page compared to total site visits

Facebook:The number of Facebook fans who have had a specific post in their newsfeed 


Tracks how many users click from one article page to another, in terms of flow and ‘stickiness’


A platform for internet communities; an entertainment, social networking service and news website


A technical term for a visit


Search engine optimisation, which ranks your search terms and how frequently or highly your website will be found online


A social media optimisation platform


An analytical tool which gives information about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn

Social referrals

Refers to the traffic coming from social platforms or channels to your website

Spike alert

Real-time information on what stories are trending in your area of interest


Keep visitors reading and staying around your website


A social media monitoring and analytics tool

Time spent

The amount of time (in minutes or seconds) visitors have spent on your site


The load on a communications device or system

Twitter Analytics

A web analytics tool

Unique browsers  

A user who visits a website more than once within a specific period of time (that is, measurement is IP address + cookie/registration ID). Unique visitors are counted once only, no matter how many times they visit the site


Uniform resource locator - a unique address for a file accessible on the internet


A visit occurs when you send a request to a server and the response displays the website you requested

Web analytics

The study of the impact of a website on its users. The measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of web data for the purpose of understanding and optimising web usage.

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