Web analytics: Better understand your customers.  

Web analytics are the foundation of your digital strategy. They help you to understand your customers better and make truly meaningful connections. Recognise your site visitors, learn how they landed, understand their journey and constantly improve your content - all powered by website analytics. 

What is web analytics?

Web analytics are essential for any business with an online presence. Analytics tools use data science to help you to understand your website and its audience. Businesses and brands can identify the best performing pages and reveal the customer journeys that convert with analytics.

Ready for web analytics? Adobe can help. Request a demo or arrange a call-back today

How web analytics works

Put simply, web analytics collect data that shows how people use and interact with a brand’s website and digital campaigns. Bits of code called tags register every page visit, as well as the person’s location (IP address) and the device they were using. Analytics software helps you to

  • Know who is coming to your site and why
  • Measure customer pathing and traffic sources
  • Gauge how effective your content is
  • Track how people engage with your video
  • Understand what they’re looking for
  • And find the right page or product for them

When talking about analytics software, there’s lots of jargon to understand. Some important terms include:

Tracking cookies and web analytics

Cookies are used to help brands understand how people are using their website. These little snippets of text are placed on people’s web browsers when they land on your site. They can be used to capture:

  • The number of times they’ve visited your site
  • Which pages they have visited
  • When a browsing session began and ended

Tags and web analytics

Tags are another part of web analytics that work with cookies. These snippets of code are added to your site and set to respond when someone using your site does something specific. These are called events. When an event is triggered, you’ll be notified. Events recorded through tags include:

  • Clicking a particular link
  • Submitting a web form
  • Clicking an image or video
  • Completing a survey

5 web analytics terms to understand


  • Geolocation of visitors: This tells you where your visitors are in the world when they are using your site. It breaks down by country, county and city.
  • Click analytics: This tracks how users are engaging with your site by the clicks they make on your pages. For example, a click-through - which takes people from one page to another.
  • Customer lifecycle analytics: This examines the data behind the various touchpoints at which people have engaged with your site content. The aim is to identify the key stages that lead to actions.
  • Logfile analysis vs page tagging: Logfile analysis, a record of server requests, is often used to identify how search engines are crawling your site. In contrast, page tagging is the utilisation of tags (small pieces of code) to understand the user journey and identify popular pages.
  • On and off-site web analytics: On-site web analytics is the data behind how people are using your site. Off-site is more about the wider web and how people are engaging with similar sites and content.

Metrics for website analytics


Some important metrics website analytics can measure include:

  • Traffic: Overall numbers of people visiting your site - broken down into areas such as page views, organic traffic and total traffic.
  • Engagement: How people are engaging with the page - average time spent on your site and page/s, bounce rate and links clicked.
  • Paths: Showing how people go through your site. What page did they land on? Where did they go next? How did they exit?
  • Conversion: Successful events as defined by you - from purchases and orders to sales leads and newsletter sign-ups. 

Ready for web analytics? Adobe can help. Request a demo or arrange a call-back today

Benefits of web analytics

Web analytics tools reveal how well or how poorly your site is performing. See how people use your website - and identify content that does and doesn’t work. Web analytics benefits include...

Recognise your site visitors

Break down your traffic to see how different people are using your site. Separate high-quality leads from web bots and bounced prospects from brand loyalists.

Learn how they landed

Understand how people arrived at your site. Referral data reveals whether someone used a search engine, typed your URL directly or came from an email or social link.

Understand their journey

Track what visitors do once they land on your site. Follow their journey through your web pages - from researching blogs and product pages through to purchase.

Make your site better

See how your audience is interacting with your site across metrics such as downloads, video starts and product reviews. Track conversions across these page elements.

“The challenge today is managing the complexity of marketing to the individual. Many companies still lack a unified customer profile as they struggle to manage disparate data sources”

2020 Digital Trends report  |  Econsultancy in collaboration with Adobe

Why are web analytics important?

Web analytics are important because they detail the performance of a brand’s website. Only by knowing how people use your site - and across which devices - can their customer experience be improved.

Website analytics and customer experience

Today, customer experience (CX) is king. Companies identified as CX leaders cite managing the customer journey as a top priority - with personalisation a top three priority. Web analytics tools can give you the data insight you need. 84% of business leaders agree that digital analytics provide a strong foundation for customer experience initiatives.

"Maximising satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20% but also to lift revenue by up to 15%"
—  McKinsey

Cross-device analytics - from laptop to smartphone

The days of people interacting with your brand using one device are over. People switch from smartphone to laptop and back again in their typical journey. Go beyond devices with the right web analytics software. Data from different channels is stitched together into one coherent journey - from landing to conversion.

“Knowing how your customers behave on one device isn’t enough to optimise the customer experience or their ongoing loyalty to your brand and recurring revenue to your business”

Nate Smith  |  Adobe Analytics

Ready for web analytics? Adobe can help. Request a demo or arrange a call-back today

Web analytics strategy explained

Digital technology has transformed the way we shop, eat, listen to music, book holidays, watch films and much, much more. To keep pace with such change, web analytics have evolved. We outline an example of an analytics strategy broken down into four key areas.

Four stages of website analytics strategy

1. Collect and measure

Bring all your data under one roof for the clearest possible picture of your customer. Capture data from virtually any source - web, email campaigns, mobile devices and apps.

Web analytics tools include:

  • Multi-channel data collection: Bring together data from your many channels - smartphone and desktop to email campaigns and apps. Learn more
  • Customised variables: Track specific customer behaviours to gather the data that matters most to your business. Learn more
  • Tag management: Analytics strategy is built on tags. Take control of yours with streamlined management and deployment. Learn more

2. Explore and understand

Analyse data to understand what your customer does and why. Use advanced segmentation to transform data into what, why and how style insights.

Web analytics tools include:

  • Ad hoc analysis: Find answers buried in your data. Swap laborious queries and siloed reports for simple drag and drop collaboration. Learn more
  • Advanced segmentation: Identify the customer groups that will help you to hit your targets with powerful automated analysis of your segmentations. Learn more
  • Flow analysis: Understand how people move through your app or site with an analysis of their customer journey to identify quick wins and problems. Learn more

3. Predict and model

Stop manually reviewing rows of data and get actionable insights in real time with the analytical power of AI, machine learning and automation, for a robust analysis of customer behaviour with predictive analytics software.

Web analytics tools include:

  • Marketing attribution: Prioritise the right content and channels with analysis of where the interactions that matter are taking place. Learn more 
  • Anomaly detection: Things go wrong - find out when they do, quickly. Anomaly detection combs huge volumes of data to identify problems. Learn more
  • Contribution analysis: Get to the bottom of issues without having to manually trawl through vast datasets. Learn more

4. Share and act

Turn insights into actions with personalised content campaigns based on the data. Create and manage audience segments based on customer behaviour.

Web analytics tools include:

  • Audience analytics: Bring together analytics and audience manager to learn more about your customers. Learn more
  • Shared audiences: Get more from your audience segments by sharing audiences created in Adobe Analytics across Adobe Experience Cloud products. Learn more
  • Remarketing triggers: Connect with customers who drop out of the journey with personalised remarketing rooted in real-time data. Learn more

Web analytics reporting

Web analytics reporting is built around metrics such as traffic, conversions and paths. With it you can show stakeholders what you are doing right and identify where improvements can be made. It will help you…

  • Separate unique visitors from overall traffic
  • See how they landed on your site and on what page
  • Highlight the keywords they used to find you
  • Work out the time they spent on a page or site

Web analytics customised reports

With the right web analytics tools, you can create customised collaborative reports that go way beyond traditional reporting. Customised reports enable you to set specific metrics and date ranges, which you can then share with your team.

Types of web analytics report


Page efficiency analytics

Slow page speed can lead to higher bounce rates. See how long your pages take to load to identify necessary fixes.


Visitor retention

Identify loyal customers. Track how often people return to your site and view purchasing patterns across new, return and loyal customers.


Channel performance analysis

See which channels are most effective at bringing visitors to your site. Break it down by keywords and campaigns.

Web analytics examples - Adobe case studies

STV is Scotland’s only commercial TV network. Launching a new on-demand service, it wanted to attract more viewers to the platform by making the experience “compelling and personalised”.

The results for STV with Adobe

  • 40% customers watch every episode of some shows
  • 26% conversion rate on push notifications to target segments
  • Generate insight to enhance customer experience

“Adobe Analytics essentially measures every aspect of the health of the viewer’s experience. It’s how we deliver on what we call quality of experience.”
— Gary Miller  |  Digital Analyst, STV

STV and Adobe - learn more


What do website analytics allow you to do?

With web analytics tools, you can track how people use your website/s. Every time someone visits your page, that visit is logged. Tracking traffic, engagement, paths and conversions, analytics offers much valuable insight. For example, which pages are proving most popular? What pages are causing people to drop off?

What is the definition of web analytics?

There’s no clear definition of web analytics. But essentially it is the gathering and analysis of data that captures how many people visit your site and what they do once they land. Businesses use web analytics to identify audiences, personalise content and improve their sites.

What is web analytics testing

Web analytics testing is putting into action the insight from your analytics data and measuring its performance against your goals. You can use analytics reports to see how people are engaging with your site and content and then shape your strategy around that. For example, testing personalised content or a refreshed customer journey.

What is the difference between a cookie and a tag

Cookies and tags are familiar terms when talking about web analytics. Both help to track how people use your website. But they are different. When someone lands on your website, you place a cookie on their web browser to track return visitors. Tags are snippets of JavaScript code - triggered when a user performs a certain action on-site.

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