Analytics 101: Understanding Digital Metrics

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 Teresa Schmedding, John Schlander, Travis Siebrass, Steve Buttry and Vidisha Priyanka at Poynter NewsU.

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    Vicki Krueger

    Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current position as marketing communications manager.

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