Digital Analytics vocabulary

So as any family in Digital Marketing, Digital Analytics has its own vocabulary, which is very close from one solution to another. Let's see the main terms below.

Note that most Digital Analytics solutions will follow the industry standards in order to have a common/close pattern. The Internet Advertising Bureau may be a good reference to have a look at

Bounce: it corresponds to a connection made to your website that did not result in any other interaction with the tracking code. Like a ball launched on a wall, only one interaction is counted, the hit on the wall.

Bounce rate: it is one of the most famous metric calculations in Digital Analytics. It is the ratio between the number of connections, which only had one interaction and the overall number of connections. The highest this bounce rate is, the worst. For instance, if your website has a bounce rate of 90%, it means that 90% of your internet users are just viewing one page of your website, so overall it means that they do not want to interact with your website and good chances are that your conversion rate is catastrophic too. Many people will try to defend their high bounce rate by saying that internet user may have found the information they were looking for. If you are in this position then add additional tracking code on your page in order to validate this assumption.  One can for example measure the movements of the mouse, the scrolls, the clicks on the page itself. Some people feel better when they have an idea of what is a good/bad bounce rate.

In the best case scenario, one would get their competitor's bounce rate in order to make a comparison. But as it is very unlikely that you can do so, the following categories are being used:

Above 75%: there is something massively wrong on your website or website analytics tracking. You have to fix that.

Between 50% and 75%: there are for sure ways of improvements on your website and you know that. Please implement all the ideas you have in mind in order to provide a better experience to your end user.

Between 25% and 50%: if your website is quite young (launched less than a year ago), you can be proud of you, it is a nice bounce rate. If you are an old website, keep optimizing it, you are on the right track.

Below 25%: unless your analytics tracking has some issues (typically if you have less than 10% bounce rate you can suspect something), this is a really good rate. Probably now you should focus on another indicator such as the conversion rate.

Conversion: conversions are nothing more than a goal, which is achieved and you are the one defining what conversions are for your website/app.

Cookie: a text file recorded within the browser of the internet user. The value of this cookie can be anything, it will be read afterward by the analytics solution in order to improve its data processing. For instance, if the visitor cookie value has already been set then, the analytics system will consider that this is a recurring visitor.

Entry page: it refers to the first page of the visit of an internet user. This information is really interesting because it shows by which door your visitors are entering on your website and what is the first impression they have. Analyzing this report is really interesting when you are breaking it by communication channels such as SEO, Marketing campaigns, SEA, etc.

Event: events are interactions which are not tracked by default within the analytics solution. By default most of analytics solutions are just tracking the page views as they have no idea what matters the most to you in terms of measurements. Thus, you have to tell the analytics solution what are the extra interactions that you would like to measure. Those are called events. You are then free to decide if you want to measure those events as goals if they really matter to you.

Exit page: and yes, as you have entry pages, you also have exit pages... Makes sense, right? Exit pages are the last pages of the visits of your visitors. Some may be legitimate, some others not. To ensure that, select the pages that are not legitimate and fire a pop-up survey when their mouse is trying to leave the window, in any cases those internet users are lost, so better ask them why they are leaving, right?

Goals: goals are actions that you are defining on your website/app as the most important for you. When a goal is achieved, we call it a conversion.

Landing page: to be honest with you, there is no much difference between a landing page and an entry page. A landing page is the page visitors will be redirected to when clicking on a link, so to say, same as entry page.

Pageview: so here it means that the function which carries the same name has been executed, so everytime that the tracking code is executed it means that the page has been displayed.

Time spent: it corresponds to the time spent on the page but (...HUGE but) in analytics, this metric very often does not take the time spent on the last page of the visit into consideration. The reason is that analytics solution need a push in order to update the time. You might ask: "Why don't they send a push every second? " Because this would take too much space in the analytics software database and slow down the browser of the website user.

You might ask again: "What is the best solution to avoid that then? ". Actually, it does not exit but you can let it like this or define a reasonable time threshold in order to update it (15 or 30 seconds is pretty reasonable).

Unique pageview: a unique pageview corresponds to the number of users of have visited your website or a given page. Let's say you have a website which received 20 visitors and that the contact page unique pageview count is 20. This means that all your internet users saw this particular page. This would have been totaly different if the pageview number for this page was 32 whereas its unique pageviews were 16, as it would mean that out of the 16 internet users, some of them visited the contact page multiple times.

URL: Uniform Resource Locator, also called web address. It is used to specify a resource on the web (web page, image, video, etc.).  e.g. the full location path of an image named "hello.jpg" (aka its URL) may be https://my-website/images/hello.jpg

URI: Uniform Resource Identifier, a fancy name to say the URL within the domain name. URI of is then /contact.

User id: a tracking system based on an identifier in order to link all visits, visitors to an individual. In general this user id is set once a person is logging themselves through a system, for example entering an email address and a password, once logged the analytics system is grabbing the data email address in order to assign it as a user id. As no user will share the same email address the count of users is the right one.

Visit: it corresponds to the fact that someone came on your website. Note that this someone can come several times within the same day. So the analytics system needs to find a way to calculate when a visit will end. In general it is a standard to consider that 30 minutes of inactivity is the de facto reference. Closing down a browser is as well considered the end of a visit in most analytics system.

Visitor: it corresponds to a browser on which there is a cookie with a unique value and/or a fingerprinting reference in order to say that this person is unique. Note though that a visitor does not equal human being but a browser. So a single human being will be considered as two visitors if she or he is using two browsers. In fact, it just makes sense if you fake the system then the system will have wrong data. In order to ensure the right calculation you will need to get the information from the end user, this is what we refer to the user id within the analytics world.

If you are considering using Matomo as a Digital Analytics solution, you will find here the access to the Matomo glossary defining each term they use:

Last modified: Wednesday, 29 July 2020, 4:23 PM