Bibliography For Websites Used For Marketing

The Radford University Marketing Department has adopted the citation style established by the American Psychological Association (APA) for documenting sources used in papers assigned by departmental faculty. APA style requires both in‐text citations and a reference list. For every in‐text citation, there should be a full citation in the reference list and vice versa. The examples provided are for the most common types of sources used in student‐based research. For additional examples or more detailed information about the APA citation style, you may refer to the following sites:

If you are unsure about something, ask the professor for the class in which you are preparing the paper.

Reference Citations in Text

There are two types of in‐text citations:

  1. Direct quotations where you use the author’s exact words.
  2. Paraphrasing where you are using an idea from another work.
    In APA style, in‐text citations are placed within sentences and paragraphs so that it is clear what
    information is being quoted or paraphrased and whose information is being cited.

Quoting Directly fro a Work

If you are quoting directly from a work, you need to include the author, year of publication and the page
number for the reference (preceded by “p.”). If you are citing from an electronic source that does not
provide page numbers, use the paragraph number, if available, preceded by the paragraph symbol (¶) or
the abbreviation “para.”. If there are no paragraph numbers, cite the heading and the number of the
paragraph following it to direct the reader to the location of the material.

Examples of Citation in Short Quotations from a Printed Source

According to Stanton (2006), “Marketing is good stuff” (p. 35).
“Marketing is good stuff” (Stanton, p. 35).

Example of Citation in Long Quotations (more than 40 words) from a Printed Source – these quotes
should be in a free‐standing block without quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented
five spaces from the left margin. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation

As Al‐Khatib, Stanton & Rawwas noted (2005):
Suspicious Shoppers believe that others may take advantage of them if the situation were to
present itself. This group also tends to think that morality may be situational‐specific.
Interestingly, though, Suspicious Shoppers are quite idealistic. They do not wish to do anything
that might hurt others. While it seems that this idealistic tendency is in conflict with their
relativistic beliefs, it more clearly delineates this group’s lack of trust. While Suspicious Shoppers
are not likely to engage in unethical actions themselves, they may choose to not be completely
forthright in their disclosures with others for fear of being exploited. (p. 239)

Paraphrasing from a Work

Works by a Single Author

The last name of the author and the year of publication are inserted in the text at the appropriate point.

Marketers must design products that are globally focused (Tong, 2001)

If the name of the author or the date appears as part of the narrative text, cite only the missing
information in parentheses.


Tong (2001) believed that………
In 2001 Tong asserted that…….

Works by Multiple Authors

When a work has two authors, always cite both names every time the reference occurs in the text.
When the names of the authors are enclosed in parentheses, join the names with an ampersand (&)
rather than the word “and”.

… occurs in theory (Taylor & Tong, 1999)

If the name of the author appears in the text, be sure to in include the year the article was published in
parentheses and join the names with the word “and”.

… Taylor and Tong (1999) demonstrated…..

If a work cited has three or more authors, cite all authors at the first mention. In all subsequent
citations, include only the surname of the first author followed by “et al.” (this is Latin for “and others”)
along with the year of publication.

Example of First Mention: Bienstock, Stanaland, & Stanton (2004) found……..

Example of Subsequent Mention: Bienstock, et al. (2004) found……..

Works with No Author

If you are citing a work with no author listed, used the first two or three words of the work’s title
(omitting any initial articles such as The, A, An, etc.) as your text reference, capitalizing each word. Place
the title in quotation marks if it refers to an article/chapter in a book or a document/page on a web site.
Italicize the title if it refers to a book, periodical, brochure, or report.

Example of chapter/article in book/web page: ….marketing is everyone’s business (“Marketing
is Everywhere,” 1999)

Example of book/report/periodical/brochure: Consumer behavior is grounded in psychological
principles (Guide to Consumer Behavior, 2002).

Creating a Reference List

Some overall guidelines:

  1. Order: Reference entries should be arranged in alphabetical order by authors' last names.
    Sources without authors are arranged alphabetically by title within the same list.
  2. Authors: Write out the last name and initials for all authors of a particular work. Use an
    ampersand (&) instead of the word "and" when listing multiple authors of a single work. e.g.
    Smith, J. D., & Jones, M.
  3. Titles: Capitalize only the first word of a title or subtitle, and any proper names that are part of
    a title.
  4. Pagination: Use the abbreviation p. or pp. to designate page numbers of articles from
    periodicals that do not use volume numbers, especially newspapers. These abbreviations are
    also used to designate pages in encyclopedia articles and chapters from edited books.
  5. Indentation: The first line of the entry is flush with the left margin, and all subsequent lines are
    indented (5 to 7 spaces) to form a "hanging indent".
  6. Underlining vs. Italics: It is appropriate to use italics instead of underlining for titles of books
    and journals.

A couple of specifics for online resources:

  1. Website URL: A stable URL should be included and should direct the reader as close as possible
    to the actual work. If the URL is not stable, as is often the case with online newspapers and
    some subscription‐based databases, use the home page of the site you retrieved the work from.
  2. Date: If the work is a finalized version published and dated, the date within the main body of
    the citation is enough. However, if the work is not dated and/or is subject to change, use the
    abbreviation (n.d.) and include the date that you retrieved the information.

References for Printed Articles (Paper Version) in Journals, Magazines and Newspapers

References to periodical articles must include the following elements: author(s), date of publication,
article title, journal title, volume number, issue number (if applicable), and page numbers.

Journal Article

Tong, H., & Taylor, R. J. (2008). Marketing lessons that will help shape the future. Journal of Marketing,
33 (2), 189‐196.

Magazine Article

Thakkar, M. (2007, March 27). Online retailing adventures. Business Week, 171(4), 54‐60.

Newspaper Article

Thorton, T. (2009, January 7). RU’s doctor of nursing practice gets state OK. The Roanoke Times, pp. B3, B12.

Newspaper Article (no author)

Whatever happens in 2009, it will definitely not be a boring year for the economy. (2009, January 2). The
Wall Street Journal, p. A9.

Newspaper Article (article contained on multiple, discontinuous pages)

Delaney, K. J., Karnitschnig, M., & Guth, R. A. (2008, May 5). Microsoft ends pursuit of Yahoo, reassesses
its online options. The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, A12.

References for Printed Books

References to an entire book must include the following elements: author(s) or editor(s), date of
publication, title, place of publication, and the name of the publisher.

No Author

Merriam‐Webster's collegiate dictionary (11th ed.). (2003). Springfield, MA: Merriam‐Webster.

Authored Text

Lollar, J. G., & Schirr, G. R. (2006). Professional selling in the pharmaceutical industry: A primer (2nd ed.). Boston: McGraw‐Hill/Irwin.

Edited Book

Stanaland, A. J. S., & Webster, L. (Eds.). (2004). Corporate communication and marketing promotions.
San Francisco: Josey‐Bass.

Essays or Chapters in Edited Books

References to an essay or chapter in an edited book must include the following elements: essay or
chapter authors, date of publication, essay or chapter title, book editor(s), book title, essay or chapter
page numbers, place of publication, and the name of the publisher.

Stanton, A. D., & Rao, C. P. (2000). Macrosegmentation schemes for the emerging eastern European and former soviet countries. In E. D. Hunnicutt & J. B. Ford (Eds.) Globalization and its managerial
implications (pp. 127‐143). New York: Quorum Books.

References for Online/Internet Sources

The APA states two guidelines that should be followed when citing online/Internet sources:

  1. The reader should be directed as closely as possible to the information being cited – this means
    you should use the URL for the specific page from which you find the information rather than a
    site’s home page.
  2. Make sure the URLs provided work.

At a minimum, references for online/Internet sources should include:

  • The document title or description
  • The date the document was published or the date of retrieval
  • The URL/web address of the page from which the work was cited

Many URLs are long and may exceed the end of a line. Do NOT hyphenate a URL; instead, break them
either before a period or after a slash.

Internet Article Based on a Print Source ‐ using the online version of an available in‐print journal,
periodical, magazine, etc. retrieved directly from the source’s web site. You should include the names of
the authors, date of publication, article title followed by [Electronic version], title of publication, volume
number and page numbers.

Artis, A. B. (2008, August). Improving marketing students’ reading comprehension with the SQ3R
method [Electronic version]. Journal of Marketing Education, 30, 130‐137.

Article from an Online‐Only Journal, Magazine, etc.

Lanier, Jr., C. D., & Saini, A. (2008). Understanding consumer privacy: A review and future directions.
Academy of Marketing Science Review, 12. Retrieved January 6, 2009, from‐2008.pdf.

Electronic Copy of a Journal Article Retrieved from a Database – you should use this format when you
retrieve a journal article from a library database.

Ozeum, W., Howell, K. E., & Lancaster, G. (2008). Communicating in the new interactive marketspace.
European Journal of Marketing, 42 (9/10), 1059‐1083. Retrieved January 5, 2009 from
ABI/INFORM database.

Newspaper Article Retrieved Online

Johnson, R. (2009, January 4). Economic survival guide: How to make a budget. The Roanoke Times.
Retrieved from‐190003.

Electronic Book – you should use this if the book is only available online.

De Huff, E.W. Taytay’s tales: Traditional Pueblo Indian tales. Retrieved from

Web Document, Web Page or Report ‐ you should list the author (if no author is available, the name of
the web site), date of publication (if not listed, use n.d. for no date), title of document or web
page, the retrieval date and the URL from which the source was retrieved.

Quiznos. (n.d.). Our History. Retrieved October 16, 2006. Retrieved from

Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of web data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage.[1] However, Web analytics is not just a process 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 website. Web analytics applications can also help companies measure the results of traditional print or broadcast advertising campaigns. It helps one to estimate how traffic to a website changes after the launch of a new advertising campaign. Web analytics provides information about the number of visitors to a website and the number of page views. It helps gauge traffic and popularity trends which is useful for market research.

Basic steps of the web analytics process[edit]

Most web analytics processes come down to four essential stages or steps,[2] which are:

  • Collection of data: This stage is the collection of the basic, elementary data. Usually, these data are counts of things. The objective of this stage is to gather the data.
  • Processing of data into information: This stage usually take counts and make them ratios, although there still may be some counts. The objective of this stage is to take the data and conform it into information, specifically metrics.
  • Developing KPI: This stage focuses on using the ratios (and counts) and infusing them with business strategies, referred to as Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Many times, KPIs deal with conversion aspects, but not always. It depends on the organization.
  • Formulating online strategy: This stage is concerned with the online goals, objectives, and standards for the organization or business. These strategies are usually related to making money, saving money, or increasing marketshare.

Another essential function developed by the analysts for the optimization of the websites are the experiments

  • Experiments and testings: A/B testing is a controlled experiment with two variants, in online settings, such as web development.

The goal of A/B testing is to identify changes to web pages that increase or maximize a statistically tested result of interest.

Each stage impacts or can impact (i.e., drives) the stage preceding or following it. So, sometimes the data that is available for collection impacts the online strategy. Other times, the online strategy affects the data collected.

Web analytics technologies[edit]

There are at least two categories of web analytics; off-site and on-site web analytics.

  • Off-site web analytics refers to web measurement and analysis regardless of whether you own or maintain a website. It includes the measurement of a website's potential audience (opportunity), share of voice (visibility), and buzz (comments) that is happening on the Internet as a whole.
  • On-site web analytics, the most common, measure a visitor's behavior once on your website. This includes its drivers and conversions; for example, the degree to which different landing pages are associated with online purchases. On-site web analytics measures the performance of your website in a commercial context. This data is typically compared against key performance indicators for performance, and used to improve a website or marketing campaign's audience response. Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics are the most widely used on-site web analytics service; although new tools are emerging that provide additional layers of information, including heat maps and session replay.

Historically, web analytics has been used to refer to on-site visitor measurement. However, this meaning has become blurred, mainly because vendors are producing tools that span both categories. Many different vendors provide on-site web analytics software and services. There are two main technical ways of collecting the data. The first and traditional method, server log file analysis, reads the logfiles in which the web server records file requests by browsers. The second method, page tagging, uses JavaScript embedded in the webpage to make image requests to a third-party analytics-dedicated server, whenever a webpage is rendered by a web browser or, if desired, when a mouse click occurs. Both collect data that can be processed to produce web traffic reports.

Web analytics data sources[edit]

The fundamental goal of web analytics is to collect and analyze data related to web traffic and usage patterns. The data mainly comes from four sources:[3]

  1. Direct HTTP request data: directly comes from HTTP request messages (HTTP request headers).
  2. Network level and server generated data associated with HTTP requests: not part of an HTTP request, but it is required for successful request transmissions. For example, IP address of a requester.
  3. Application level data sent with HTTP requests: generated and processed by application level programs (such as JavaScript, PHP, and ASP.Net), including session and referrals. These are usually captured by internal logs rather than public web analytics services.
  4. External data: can be combined with on-site data to help augment the website behavior data described above and interpret web usage. For example, IP addresses are usually associated with Geographic regions and internet service providers, e-mail open and click-through rates, direct mail campaign data, sales and lead history, or other data types as needed.

Web server log file analysis[edit]

Web servers record some of their transactions in a log file. It was soon realized that these log files could be read by a program to provide data on the popularity of the website. Thus arose web log analysis software.

In the early 1990s, website statistics consisted primarily of counting the number of client requests (or hits) made to the web server. This was a reasonable method initially, since each website often consisted of a single HTML file. However, with the introduction of images in HTML, and websites that spanned multiple HTML files, this count became less useful. The first true commercial Log Analyzer was released by IPRO in 1994.[4]

Two units of measure were introduced in the mid-1990s to gauge more accurately the amount of human activity on web servers. These were page views and visits (or sessions). A page view was defined as a request made to the web server for a page, as opposed to a graphic, while a visit was defined as a sequence of requests from a uniquely identified client that expired after a certain amount of inactivity, usually 30 minutes. The page views and visits are still commonly displayed metrics, but are now considered[by whom?] rather rudimentary.

The emergence of search engine spiders and robots in the late 1990s, along with web proxies and dynamically assigned IP addresses for large companies and ISPs, made it more difficult to identify unique human visitors to a website. Log analyzers responded by tracking visits by cookies, and by ignoring requests from known spiders.[citation needed]

The extensive use of web caches also presented a problem for log file analysis. If a person revisits a page, the second request will often be retrieved from the browser's cache, and so no request will be received by the web server. This means that the person's path through the site is lost. Caching can be defeated by configuring the web server, but this can result in degraded performance for the visitor and bigger load on the servers.[5]

Page tagging[edit]

Concerns about the accuracy of log file analysis in the presence of caching, and the desire to be able to perform web analytics as an outsourced service, led to the second data collection method, page tagging or 'Web bugs'.

In the mid-1990s, Web counters were commonly seen — these were images included in a web page that showed the number of times the image had been requested, which was an estimate of the number of visits to that page. In the late 1990s this concept evolved to include a small invisible image instead of a visible one, and, by using JavaScript, to pass along with the image request certain information about the page and the visitor. This information can then be processed remotely by a web analytics company, and extensive statistics generated.

The web analytics service also manages the process of assigning a cookie to the user, which can uniquely identify them during their visit and in subsequent visits. Cookie acceptance rates vary significantly between websites and may affect the quality of data collected and reported.

Collecting website data using a third-party data collection server (or even an in-house data collection server) requires an additional DNS look-up by the user's computer to determine the IP address of the collection server. On occasion, delays in completing a successful or failed DNS look-ups may result in data not being collected.

With the increasing popularity of Ajax-based solutions, an alternative to the use of an invisible image is to implement a call back to the server from the rendered page. In this case, when the page is rendered on the web browser, a piece of Ajax code would call back to the server and pass information about the client that can then be aggregated by a web analytics company. This is in some ways flawed by browser restrictions on the servers which can be contacted with XmlHttpRequest objects. Also, this method can lead to slightly lower reported traffic levels, since the visitor may stop the page from loading in mid-response before the Ajax call is made.

Logfile analysis vs page tagging[edit]

Both logfile analysis programs and page tagging solutions are readily available to companies that wish to perform web analytics. In some cases, the same web analytics company will offer both approaches. The question then arises of which method a company should choose. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach.[6]

Advantages of logfile analysis[edit]

The main advantages of log file analysis over page tagging are as follows:

  • The web server normally already produces log files, so the raw data is already available. No changes to the website are required.
  • The data is on the company's own servers, and is in a standard, rather than a proprietary, format. This makes it easy for a company to switch programs later, use several different programs, and analyze historical data with a new program.
  • Logfiles contain information on visits from search engine spiders, which generally do not execute JavaScript on a page and are therefore not recorded by page tagging. Although these should not be reported as part of the human activity, it is useful information for search engine optimization.
  • Logfiles require no additional DNS lookups or TCP slow starts. Thus there are no external server calls which can slow page load speeds, or result in uncounted page views.
  • The web server reliably records every transaction it makes, e.g. serving PDF documents and content generated by scripts, and does not rely on the visitors' browsers cooperating.

Advantages of page tagging[edit]

The main advantages of page tagging over log file analysis are as follows:

  • Counting is activated by opening the page (given that the web client runs the tag scripts), not requesting it from the server. If a page is cached, it will not be counted by server-based log analysis. Cached pages can account for up to one-third of all page views. Not counting cached pages seriously skews many site metrics. It is for this reason server-based log analysis is not considered suitable for analysis of human activity on websites.[by whom?]
  • Data is gathered via a component ("tag") in the page, usually written in JavaScript, though Java can be used, and increasingly Flash is used. Ajax can also be used in conjunction with a server-side scripting language (such as PHP) to manipulate and (usually) store it in a database, basically enabling complete control over how the data is represented.[dubious– discuss]
  • The script may have access to additional information on the web client or on the user, not sent in the query, such as visitors' screen sizes and the price of the goods they purchased.
  • Page tagging can report on events which do not involve a request to the web server, such as interactions within Flash movies, partial form completion, mouse events such as onClick, onMouseOver, onFocus, onBlur etc.
  • The page tagging service manages the process of assigning cookies to visitors; with log file analysis, the server has to be configured to do this.
  • Page tagging is available to companies who do not have access to their own web servers.
  • Lately page tagging has become a standard in web analytics.[7]

Economic factors[edit]

Logfile analysis is almost always performed in-house. Page tagging can be performed in-house, but it is more often provided as a third-party service. The economic difference between these two models can also be a consideration for a company deciding which to purchase.

  • Logfile analysis typically involves a one-off software purchase; however, some vendors are introducing maximum annual page views with additional costs to process additional information.[citation needed] In addition to commercial offerings, several open-source logfile analysis tools are available free of charge.
  • For Logfile analysis you have to store and archive your own data, which often grows very large quickly. Although the cost of hardware to do this is minimal, the overhead for an IT department can be considerable.
  • For Logfile analysis you need to maintain the software, including updates and security patches.
  • Complex page tagging vendors charge a monthly fee based on volume i.e. number of pageviews per month collected.

Which solution is cheaper to implement depends on the amount of technical expertise within the company, the vendor chosen, the amount of activity seen on the websites, the depth and type of information sought, and the number of distinct websites needing statistics.

Regardless of the vendor solution or data collection method employed, the cost of web visitor analysis and interpretation should also be included. That is, the cost of turning raw data into actionable information. This can be from the use of third party consultants, the hiring of an experienced web analyst, or the training of a suitable in-house person. A cost-benefit analysis can then be performed. For example, what revenue increase or cost savings can be gained by analysing the web visitor data?

Hybrid methods[edit]

Some companies produce solutions that collect data through both logfiles and page tagging and can analyze both kinds. By using a hybrid method, they aim to produce more accurate statistics than either method on its own. An early hybrid solution was produced in 1998 by Rufus Evison.[citation needed]

Geolocation of visitors[edit]

With IP geolocation, it is possible to track visitors location. Using IP geolocation database or API, visitors can be geolocated to city, region or country level.[8]

IP Intelligence, or Internet Protocol (IP) Intelligence, is a technology that maps the Internet and categorizes IP addresses by parameters such as geographic location (country, region, state, city and postcode), connection type, Internet Service Provider (ISP), proxy information, and more. The first generation of IP Intelligence was referred to as geotargeting or geolocation technology. This information is used by businesses for online audience segmentation in applications such online advertising, behavioral targeting, content localization (or website localization), digital rights management, personalization, online fraud detection, localized search, enhanced analytics, global traffic management, and content distribution.

Click analytics[edit]

Click analytics is a special type of web analytics that gives special attention to clicks.

Commonly, click analytics focuses on on-site analytics. An editor of a website uses click analytics to determine the performance of his or her particular site, with regards to where the users of the site are clicking.

Also, click analytics may happen real-time or "unreal"-time, depending on the type of information sought. Typically, front-page editors on high-traffic news media sites will want to monitor their pages in real-time, to optimize the content. Editors, designers or other types of stakeholders may analyze clicks on a wider time frame to help them assess performance of writers, design elements or advertisements etc.

Data about clicks may be gathered in at least two ways. Ideally, a click is "logged" when it occurs, and this method requires some functionality that picks up relevant information when the event occurs. Alternatively, one may institute the assumption that a page view is a result of a click, and therefore log a simulated click that led to that page view.

Customer lifecycle analytics[edit]

Customer lifecycle analytics is a visitor-centric approach to measuring that falls under the umbrella of lifecycle marketing.[citation needed] Page views, clicks and other events (such as API calls, access to third-party services, etc.) are all tied to an individual visitor instead of being stored as separate data points. Customer lifecycle analytics attempts to connect all the data points into a marketing funnel that can offer insights into visitor behavior and website optimization.[citation needed]

Other methods[edit]

Other methods of data collection are sometimes used. Packet sniffing collects data by sniffing the network traffic passing between the web server and the outside world. Packet sniffing involves no changes to the web pages or web servers. Integrating web analytics into the web server software itself is also possible.[9] Both these methods claim to provide better real-time data than other methods.

On-site web analytics - definitions[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(September 2011)

There are no globally agreed definitions within web analytics as the industry bodies have been trying to agree on definitions that are useful and definitive for some time. The main bodies who have had input in this area have been the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), JICWEBS (The Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards in the UK and Ireland), and The DAA (Digital Analytics Association), formally known as the WAA (Web Analytics Association, US). However, many terms are used in consistent ways from one major analytics tool to another, so the following list, based on those conventions, can be a useful starting point:

  • Hit - A request for a file from the web server. Available only in log analysis. The number of hits received by a website is frequently cited to assert its popularity, but this number is extremely misleading and dramatically overestimates popularity. A single web-page typically consists of multiple (often dozens) of discrete files, each of which is counted as a hit as the page is downloaded, so the number of hits is really an arbitrary number more reflective of the complexity of individual pages on the website than the website's actual popularity. The total number of visits or page views provides a more realistic and accurate assessment of popularity.
  • Page view - A request for a file, or sometimes an event such as a mouse click, that is defined as a page in the setup of the web analytics tool. An occurrence of the script being run in page tagging. In log analysis, a single page view may generate multiple hits as all the resources required to view the page (images, .js and .css files) are also requested from the web server.
  • Event - A discrete action or class of actions that occurs on a website. A page view is a type of event. Events also encapsulate clicks, form submissions, keypress events, and other client-side user actions.
  • Visit / Session - A visit or session is defined as a series of page requests or, in the case of tags, image requests from the same uniquely identified client. A unique client is commonly identified by an IP address or a unique ID that is placed in the browser cookie. A visit is considered ended when no requests have been recorded in some number of elapsed minutes. A 30-minute limit ("time out") is used by many analytics tools but can, in some tools (such as Google Analytics), be changed to another number of minutes. Analytics data collectors and analysis tools have no reliable way of knowing if a visitor has looked at other sites between page views; a visit is considered one visit as long as the events (page views, clicks, whatever is being recorded) are 30 minutes or less closer together. Note that a visit can consist of one page view, or thousands. A unique visit's session can also be extended if the time between page loads indicates that a visitor has been viewing the pages continuously.
  • First Visit / First Session - (also called 'Absolute Unique Visitor' in some tools) A visit from a uniquely identified client that has theoretically not made any previous visits. Since the only way of knowing whether the uniquely identified client has been to the site before is the presence of a persistent cookie or via digital fingerprinting that had been received on a previous visit, the First Visit label is not reliable if the site's cookies have been deleted since their previous visit.
  • Visitor / Unique Visitor / Unique User - The uniquely identified client that is generating page views or hits within a defined time period (e.g. day, week or month). A uniquely identified client is usually a combination of a machine (one's desktop computer at work for example) and a browser (Firefox on that machine). The identification is usually via a persistent cookie that has been placed on the computer by the site page code. An older method, used in log file analysis, is the unique combination of the computer's IP address and the User Agent (browser) information provided to the web server by the browser. It is important to understand that the "Visitor" is not the same as the human being sitting at the computer at the time of the visit, since an individual human can use different computers or, on the same computer, can use different browsers, and will be seen as a different visitor in each circumstance. Increasingly, but still somewhat rarely, visitors are uniquely identified by Flash LSO's (Local Shared Object), which are less susceptible to privacy enforcement.
  • Repeat Visitor - A visitor that has made at least one previous visit. The period between the last and current visit is called visitor recency and is measured in days.
  • Return Visitor - A Unique visitor with activity consisting of a visit to a site during a reporting period and where the Unique visitor visited the site prior to the reporting period. The individual is counted only once during the reporting period.
  • New Visitor - A visitor that has not made any previous visits. This definition creates a certain amount of confusion (see common confusions below), and is sometimes substituted with analysis of first visits.
  • Impression - The most common definition of "Impression" is an instance of an advertisement appearing on a viewed page. Note that an advertisement can be displayed on a viewed page below the area actually displayed on the screen, so most measures of impressions do not necessarily mean an advertisement has been view-able.
  • Single Page Visit / Singleton - A visit in which only a single page is viewed (this is not a 'bounce').
  • Bounce Rate - The percentage of visits that are single page visits and without any other interactions (clicks) on that page.
  • Exit Rate / % Exit - A statistic applied to an individual page, not a web site. The percentage of visits seeing a page where that page is the final page viewed in the visit.
  • Page Time Viewed / Page Visibility Time / Page View Duration - The time a single page (or a blog, Ad Banner...) is on the screen, measured as the calculated difference between the time of the request for that page and the time of the next recorded request. If there is no next recorded request, then the viewing time of that instance of that page is not included in reports.
  • Session Duration / Visit Duration - Average amount of time that visitors spend on the site each time they visit.It is calculated as the sum total of the duration of all the sessions divided by the total number of sessions. This metric can be complicated by the fact that analytics programs can not measure the length of the final page view.[10]
  • Average Page View Duration - Average amount of time that visitors spend on an average page of the site.
  • Active Time / Engagement Time - Average amount of time that visitors spend actually interacting with content on a web page, based on mouse moves, clicks, hovers and scrolls. Unlike Session Duration and Page View Duration / Time on Page, this metric can accurately measure the length of engagement in the final page view, but it is not available in many analytics tools or data collection methods.
  • Average Page Depth / Page Views per Average Session - Page Depth is the approximate "size" of an average visit, calculated by dividing total number of page views by total number of visits.
  • Frequency / Session per Unique - Frequency measures how often visitors come to a website in a given time period. It is calculated by dividing the total number of sessions (or visits) by the total number of unique visitors during a specified time period, such as a month or year. Sometimes it is used interchangeable with the term "loyalty."
  • Click path - the chronological sequence of page views within a visit or session.
  • Click - "refers to a single instance of a user following a hyperlink from one page in a site to another".
  • Site Overlay is a report technique in which statistics (clicks) or hot spots are superimposed, by physical location, on a visual snapshot of the web page.

Off-site web analytics[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(September 2014)

Off-site web analytics is based on open data analysis, social media exploration, share of voice on web properties. It is usually used to understand how to market your site by identifying the keywords tagged to your site, either from social media or from other websites.

By using HTTP Referer, webpage owners will be able to trace which are the referrer sites that helps bring in traffic to their own site.

Common sources of confusion in web analytics[edit]

The hotel problem[edit]

The hotel problem is generally the first problem encountered by a user of web analytics. The problem is that the unique visitors for each day in a month do not add up to the same total as the unique visitors for that month. This appears to an inexperienced user to be a problem in whatever analytics software they are using. In fact it is a simple property of the metric definitions.

The way to picture the situation is by imagining a hotel. The hotel has two rooms (Room A and Room B).

Day 1Day 2Day 3Total
Room AJohnJohnMark2 Unique Users
Room BMarkJaneJane2 Unique Users
Total222 ?

As the table shows, the hotel has two unique users each day over three days. The sum of the totals with respect to the days is therefore six.

During the period each room has had two unique users. The sum of the totals with respect to the rooms is therefore four.

Actually only three visitors have been in the hotel over this period. The problem is that a person who stays in a room for two nights will get counted twice if you count them once on each day, but is only counted once if you are looking at the total for the period. Any software for web analytics will sum these correctly for the chosen time period, thus leading to the problem when a user tries to compare the totals.

Web analytics methods[edit]

Problems with cookies[edit]

Historically, vendors of page-tagging analytics solutions have used third-party cookies sent from the vendor's domain instead of the domain of the website being browsed. Third-party cookies can handle visitors who cross multiple unrelated domains within the company's site, since the cookie is always handled by the vendor's servers.

However, third-party cookies in principle allow tracking an individual user across the sites of different companies, allowing the analytics vendor to collate the user's activity on sites where he provided personal information with his activity on other sites where he thought he was anonymous. Although web analytics companies deny doing this, other companies such as companies supplying banner ads have done so. Privacy concerns about cookies have therefore led a noticeable minority of users to block or delete third-party cookies. In 2005, some reports showed that about 28% of Internet users blocked third-party cookies and 22% deleted them at least once a month.[11] Most vendors of page tagging solutions have now moved to provide at least the option of using first-party cookies (cookies assigned from the client subdomain).

Another problem is cookie deletion. When web analytics depend on cookies to identify unique visitors, the statistics are dependent on a persistent cookie to hold a unique visitor ID. When users delete cookies, they usually delete both first- and third-party cookies. If this is done between interactions with the site, the user will appear as a first-time visitor at their next interaction point. Without a persistent and unique visitor id, conversions, click-stream analysis, and other metrics dependent on the activities of a unique visitor over time, cannot be accurate.

Cookies are used because IP addresses are not always unique to users and may be shared by large groups or proxies. In some cases, the IP address is combined with the user agent in order to more accurately identify a visitor if cookies are not available. However, this only partially solves the problem because often users behind a proxy server have the same user agent. Other methods of uniquely identifying a user are technically challenging and would limit the trackable audience or would be considered suspicious. Cookies are the selected option[who?] because they reach the lowest common denominator without using technologies regarded as spyware.[12]

Secure analytics (metering) methods[edit]

It may be good to be aware that the third-party information gathering is subject to any network limitations and security applied. Countries, Service Providers and Private Networks can prevent site visit data from going to third parties. All the methods described above (and some other methods not mentioned here, like sampling) have the central problem of being vulnerable to manipulation (both inflation and deflation). This means these methods are imprecise and insecure (in any reasonable model of security). This issue has been addressed in a number of papers [13][14][15] ,[16] but to-date the solutions suggested in these papers remain theoretic, possibly due to lack of interest from the engineering community, or because of financial gain the current situation provides to the owners of big websites. For more details, consult the aforementioned papers.

See also[edit]



  • Clifton, Brian (2010) Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics, 2nd edition, Sybex (Paperback.)
  • Kaushik, Avinash (2009) Web Analytics 2.0 - The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity. Sybex, Wiley.
  • Mortensen, Dennis R. (2009) Yahoo! Web Analytics. Sybex.
  • Farris, P., Bendle, N.T., Pfeifer, P.E. Reibstein, D.J. (2009) Key Marketing Metrics The 50+ Metrics Every Manager needs to know, Prentice Hall, London.
  • Plaza, B (2009) Monitoring web traffic source effectiveness with Google Analytics: An experiment with time series. Aslib Proceedings, 61(5): 474–482.
  • Arikan, Akin (2008) Multichannel Marketing. Metrics and Methods for On and Offline Success. Sybex.
  • Tullis, Tom & Albert, Bill (2008) Measuring the User Experience. Collecting, Analyzing and Presenting Usability Metrics. Morgan Kaufmann, Elsevier, Burlington MA.
  • Kaushik, Avinash (2007) Web Analytics: An Hour a Day, Sybex, Wiley.
  • Bradley N (2007) Marketing Research. Tools and Techniques. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Burby, Jason and Atchison, Shane (2007) Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions.
  • Davis, J. (2006) ‘Marketing Metrics: How to create Accountable Marketing plans that really work’ John Wiley & Sons (Asia).
  • Peterson Eric T (2005) Web Site Measurement Hacks. O'Reilly ebook.
  • Peterson Eric T (2004) Web Analytics Demystified: A Marketer’s Guide to Understanding How Your Web Site Affects Your Business. Celilo Group Media
  • Lenskold, J. (2003) ‘Marketing ROI: how to plan, Measure and Optimise strategies for Profit’ London: McGraw Hill Contemporary
  • Sterne, J. (2002) Web metrics, Proven Methods for Measuring Web Site Success, London: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Srinivasan, J .(2001) E commerce Metrics, Models and Examples, London: Prentice Hall.
  • Zheng, J. G. and Peltsverger, S. (2015) Web Analytics Overview, In book: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Third Edition, Publisher: IGI Global, Editors: Mehdi Khosrow-Pour

External links[edit]

Basic Steps of Web Analytics Process
Clickpath Analysis with referring pages on the left and arrows and rectangles differing in thickness and expanse to symbolize movement quantity.
  1. ^WAA Standards Committee. "Web analytics definitions." Washington DC: Web Analytics Association (2008).
  2. ^Jansen, B. J. (2009). Understanding user-web interactions via web analytics. Synthesis Lectures on Information Concepts, Retrieval, and Services, 1(1), 1-102.
  3. ^Zheng, G. & Peltsverger S. (2015) Web Analytics Overview, In book: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Third Edition, Publisher: IGI Global, Editors: Mehdi Khosrow-Pour
  4. ^Web Traffic Data Sources and Vendor Comparison by Brian Clifton and Omega Digital Media Ltd
  5. ^Marketing Management: A Value-Creation Process (2nd Edition) by Alain Jolibert, Pierre-Louis Dubois, Hans Mühlbacher, Laurent Flores, Pierre-Louis Jolibert Dubois, 2012, p. 359.
  6. ^Increasing Accuracy for Online Business Growth - a web analytics accuracy whitepaper
  7. ^"Revisiting log file analysis versus page tagging": McGill University Web Analytics blog article (CMIS 530) Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^IPInfoDB (2009-07-10). "IP geolocation database". IPInfoDB. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  9. ^Hu, Xiaohua; Cercone, Nick (1 July 2004). "A Data Warehouse/Online Analytic Processing Framework for Web Usage Mining and Business Intelligence Reporting". 19 (7): 585–606. doi:10.1002/int.v19:7 – via ACM Digital Library. 
  10. ^"Clicktale: What Google Analytics can't tell you: part 1". 
  11. ^McGann, Rob. "Study: Consumers Delete Cookies at Surprising Rate". Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  12. ^"Home News Access the Guide Tools Education Shopping Internet Cookies- Spyware or Neutral Technology?". CNET. February 2, 2005. Retrieved 24 April 2017. 
  13. ^Naor, M.; Pinkas, B. (1998). "Secure and efficient metering". Advances in Cryptology — EUROCRYPT'98. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 1403. p. 576. doi:10.1007/BFb0054155. ISBN 3-540-64518-7. 
  14. ^Naor, M.; Pinkas, B. (1998). "Secure accounting and auditing on the Web". Computer Networks and ISDN Systems. 30: 541. doi:10.1016/S0169-7552(98)00116-0. 
  15. ^Franklin, M. K.; Malkhi, D. (1997). "Auditable metering with lightweight security". Financial Cryptography. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 1318. p. 151. doi:10.1007/3-540-63594-7_75. ISBN 978-3-540-63594-9. 
  16. ^Johnson, R.; Staddon, J. (2007). "Deflation-secure web metering". International Journal of Information and Computer Security. 1: 39. doi:10.1504/IJICS.2007.012244. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *