Uncovering numbers is a small part of the analytics battle. Figuring out which numbers are important and how the data can be applied effectively is crucial. Let's dig deeper with a couple of terms.

Bounce rate (The percentage of people who land on your website and leave without clicking on anything else). Here are some possibilities for a high bounce rate:

  • There's a technical problem, such as with the code.
  • An article page with a lot of search traffic may have a high bounce rate because many visitors are brand-new to the site and don't intend to stick around.
  • Something is wrong with your content: The headline or summary is misleading or the intro is confusing or dense.

Pageviews (The number of clicks or hits a page gets each time the page is loaded or reloaded as users navigate your site). This may seem like a simple metric, but interpreting it can have a few twists.

  • What counts as a page?
  • Does a "paginated" article, requiring clicks to get to continuations of the text, count as one page view or multiple page views? How about a 20-photo gallery?
  • More important, what's the value of a page view, in terms of revenue? There is a direct correlation between pageviews and ad impressions.

Analytics is a numbers game. The key is how you interpret or apply the numbers.

Taken from Analytics 101: Understanding Digital Metrics, a self-directed course by Steve Buttry, Vidisha Priyanka, Teresa Schmedding, John Schlander and Travis Siebrass at Poynter NewsU.

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