Our Web Analytics Session in Manila on January 14th was attended by enthusiastic participants. We covered various topics related to Web Analytics such as Content Analysis,Traffic Analysis and Business Analysis. Two things or questions stood out when it came to this seminar: First question “What is the difference between Page Views and Unique Page Views?” Second question dealt with understanding Sessions.
Let us start with the second question first: Understanding sessions – When does a session start and when does it end? For example, assume a user is on www.ge.com, browses www.ge.com for 7 minutes, then goes to www.google.com from the same tab. Does the first session on www.ge.com end? (No. It only ends after 30 minutes of inactivity on www.ge.com)
What about the following scenario? User goes to www.ge.com, browses www.ge.com for 7 minutes, then goes to facebook.com from the same tab and logs into facebook.com. Does the first session on www.ge.com end? No. (Again it only ends after 30 minutes of inactivity on www.ge.com)
A session on a website ends under the following common scenarios:
- After 30 minutes of inactivity on a website or
- The browser is closed or
- Ends at midnight and a new session automatically starts at 1 second past midnight. or
- You login into a website then log out
Let us turn to Page Views (the first question). Assume we have a website with three pages Home Page, Product Page and About Page. User A visits the website in the morning and browses as follows:
Home Page -> Product Page -> Home Page -> Product Page -> Home Page
Number of PageViews = 5, Number of unique PageViews = 2
The same user comes back in the evening and browses as follows:
Home Page -> Product Page -> About Page -> Home Page -> Product Page
Number of PageViews = 5
Number of unique pageviews = 3
The unique page views KPI is a better indicator of the depth of browsing on any given website.
From an overall standpoint the seminar in Manila was received with enthusiasm and we hope to return soon.