waa logo Some of you know that I am a member of the Web Analytics Association Board of Directors. Amongst my duties are to help share responsibility for the WAA Standards Committee, which is led by the committee co-Chairs Jason Burby and Angie Brown.

It is my distinct pleasure to share with you all 26 brand spanking new metrics that have been published by the WAA standards committee today. They have been a long time in the making (you can imagine what happens when practitioners, consultants, vendors, industry thought leaders all come together!!), and were announced at the Search Engine Strategies (SES) show in San Jose.

You can download a copy of this wonderful document: WAA Aug 2007 Standards.

I am incredibly proud of the work Angie, Jason as well as the committee volunteers have put in over the last so many months. Their hard work has resulted in standard definitions for some of the most foundational metrics in our world. Everyone will benefit from this additional clarity and all of us now have a benchmark to compare our own web analytics vendor's metrics.

Here are the new terms that have been defined:

Building Block Terms:
        Page, Page Views, Visits, Unique Visitors, New Visitor, Repeat Visitor, Repeat Visitor & Returning Visitor

Visit Characterization:
        Entry Page, Landing Page, Exit Page, Visit Duration, Referrer, Internal Referrer, External Referrer, Search Referrer, Visit Referrer, Original Referrer, Click-through, Click-through Rate/Ratio, Page Views per Visit

Content Characterization:
        Page Exit Ratio, Single-Page Visits, Single Page View Visits (Bounces), Bounce Rate

Conversion Metrics:
        Event, Conversion

Here very briefly are the definitions (the real gold is in the comments that you see in the document for each definition, make sure you download it and read it carefully):

    Page: A page is an analyst definable unit of content.

    Page Views: The number of times a page (an analyst-definable unit of content) was viewed.

    Visits/Sessions: A visit is an interaction, by an individual, with a website consisting of one or more requests for an analyst-definable unit of content (i.e. "page view"). If an individual has not taken another action (typically additional page views) on the site within a specified time period, the visit session will terminate.

    Unique Visitors: The number of inferred individual people (filtered for spiders and robots), within a designated reporting timeframe, with activity consisting of one or more visits to a site. Each individual is counted only once in the unique visitor measure for the reporting period.

    New Visitor: The number of Unique Visitors with activity including a first-ever Visit to a site during a reporting period.

    Repeat Visitor: The number of Unique Visitors with activity consisting of two or more Visits to a site during a reporting period.

    Return Visitor: The number of Unique Visitors with activity consisting of a Visit to a site during a reporting period and where the Unique Visitor also Visited the site prior to the reporting period.

    Entry Page: The first page of a visit.

    Landing Page: A page intended to identify the beginning of the user experience resulting from a defined marketing effort.

    Exit Page: The last page on a site accessed during a visit, signifying the end of a visit/session.

    Visit Duration: The length of time in a session. Calculation is typically the timestamp of the last activity in the session minus the timestamp of the first activity of the session.

    Referrer: The referrer is the page URL that originally generated the request for the current page view or object.

    Internal Referrer: The internal referrer is a page URL that is internal to the website or a web-property within the website as defined by the user.

    External Referrer: The external referrer is a page URL where the traffic is external or outside of the website or a web-property defined by the user.

    Search Referrer: The search referrer is an internal or external referrer for which the URL has been generated by a search function.

    Visit Referrer: The visit referrer is the first referrer in a session, whether internal, external or null.

    Original Referrer: The original referrer is the first referrer in a visitor's first session, whether internal, external or null.

    Click-through: Number of times a link was clicked by a visitor.

    Click-through Rate/Ratio: The number of click-throughs for a specific link divided by the number of times that link was viewed.

    Page Views per Visit: The number of page views in a reporting period divided by number of visits in the same reporting period.

    Page Exit Ratio: Number of exits from a page divided by total number of page views of that page.

    Single-Page Visits: Visits that consist of one page regardless of the number of times the page was viewed.

    Single Page View Visits (Bounces): Visits that consist of one page-view.

    Bounce Rate: Single page view visits divided by entry pages.

    Event: Any logged or recorded action that has a specific date and time assigned to it by either the browser or server.

    Conversion: A visitor completing a target action.

There is a lot more value added content in the document, it lays out key context that will help you think through and understand these definitions. Please download the WAA standards document.

In closing I would like to once again thank the co-chairs and the Volunteers for their hard work (with a special big warm hug for Angie!!).

This is fun stuff. Perhaps you'll consider joining the WAA, if you are not a member already?

Angie, Jason, the Volunteers and I welcome your feedback and critique of the definitions, please share your thougths with us.

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