Web Analytics Overview

Web Analytics Overview

Guangzhi Zheng (Southern Polytechnic State University, USA) and Svetlana Peltsverger (Southern Polytechnic State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch756
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Background

Log files have been used to keep track of web requests since World Wide Web emerged and the first widely used browser Mosaic was released in 1993. One of the pioneers of web log analysis was WebTrends, a Portland, Oregon based company, which conducted website analytics using data collected from web server logs. In the same year, WebTrends created the first commercial website analytics software. In 1995, Dr. Stephen Turner created Analog, the first free log file analysis software. In 1996, WebSideStory offered hit counter as a service for websites that would display a banner. Web server logs have some limits in types of data collected. For example, they could not provide information about visitors' screen sizes, user interactions with page elements, mouse events such as clicking and hovering, etc. The new technique of page tagging is able to overcome the limitation and gets more popular recently.

The fundamental basis of web analytics is collection and analysis of website usage data. Today, web analytics is used in many industries for different purposes, including traffic monitoring, e-commerce optimization, marketing/advertising, web development, information architecture, website performance improvement, web-based campaigns/programs, etc. Some of the major web analytics usages are:

Key Terms in this Chapter

HTTP Request: A message sent from a client to a web server to request resources.

Web Analytics: The technology and method for the collection, measurement, analysis and reporting of websites and applications usage data Web log: a text file generated by a web server to record server activity and communication data.

Dimension: An attribute or a perspective to describe measures.

Metric: A key indicator of an objective we want to measure and track.

Digital Analytics: An expansion of web analytics to include data from other sources.

Cookie: A small text file stored at the client side to record additional information that may be shared by multiple requests and responses.

HTTP: The application level data transfer protocol for web applications.

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