Web Analytics Basics

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Thomas Chiu
I SYS 590R
Winter 2013

I have been asked by the company CIO to determine if Web Analytics is a strategy the company should pursue. I shall first provide information about what Web Analytics is. Then, I shall analyze how is can be used to improve a business. Finally, I shall provide my recommendation regarding using Web Analytics for our company—in answer of the CIO’s question.

What is Web Analytics and how can it be used to improve a business?
Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of Internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage1 (The official WAA definition of web analytics).
Web analytics can be—and often is—done without the permission or knowledge of the user. In these cases—particularly with third party cookies which can be shared between different web sites—it can be a breach of privacy.

Web analytics is not just a tool for measuring web traffic but can be used as a tool for business and market research, and to assess and improve the effectiveness of a web site. Web analytics applications also allow companies to measure the results of traditional print of broadcast advertising campaigns.

The primary purpose of a Web analytics system is to measure the performance of a site. Within a Web analytics interface, such as Google Analytics service, managers of a company can see data about how many visits a site has had, how many visits the individual pages have had and additional information about these visits including how long users spent on each page. Analytics also indicates traffic sources, so you can see at a glance how users are reaching your site. In most cases, people visit websites not by typing the web address into their browser but by clicking on a link. Such links can be on other websites or on search engine results pages. By seeing where site users are coming from, company managers can gain insights into how best to focus marketing efforts.

Many companies use online...
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