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Analytics Glossary: An Executive Refresher

Posted on 1.30.2008
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Take your data back! The following will get those new to analytics up to speed with common verbiage and make you a master of analytics jargon. Relate to the geeks in the basement, impress your boss, alienate your friends and feel better about knowing more about what’s going on with your website!

Average Lifetime Value: The average of the lifetime value of a visitor or multiple visitors during the reporting period. Each visitor's lifetime value is the total monetary value of a visitor's past orders since visitor tracking began.

Benchmark: A standard by which something can be measured or judged. Assigning value to Key Performance Indicators (KPI) ensures your organization is measuring performance against similar goals.

Conversion Funnel: The series of steps that move a visitor towards a specified conversion event, such as an order or registration signup. Funnels vary for every site, but best practice is to limit the depth a user must engage to convert.

Demographics: The physical characteristics of human populations and segments of populations often used to identify consumer markets. Demographics can include information such as age, gender, marital status, education or geographic location.

Frequency: The number of times a visitor has visited a site during a reporting period. Average Frequency is the average of all visitors’ frequencies during the reporting period. Frequency is a retention metric and part of RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) analysis.

KPI - Key Performance Indicators: Typically available in dashboards and provides an overall understanding of how the site is performing. Some KPIs include conversions, clicks and page views but are defined by the analytics user.

Latency: The average number of days between visits for a given visitor during a reporting period. For example, those who visit on average every seven days.

Parameters: These are located in the URL immediately after a question mark and followed by an equal sign and a return value, known as name=value. Parameters indicate to a database what page a user is viewing. For example, www.mysite.com/product/widget.aspx?=1234. Here, widget is the product and 1234 is the product identifier.

Psychographics: Data used to build customer segments based on attitudes, values, beliefs and opinions as opposed to the factual characteristics such as age or gender.

Scenario Analysis: A report showing the amount of activity at each step of a defined scenario, plus conversion rates for each transition from step to step as well as for the whole process. Examples of scenarios are check-out, registration, or application sequences.

Sessionization: Refers to methods used to define a session (includes cookies, IP address, IP + Agent and others) telling the analytics system how to measure – or not measure – a series of page requests from the same individual or browsing machine.
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