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Web Analytics: Introduction

If you’re new to the online marketing, the term web analytics might sound intimidating, but as long as you know +, -, * and / of mathematics, you are good enough to use a web analytics tool. Having said that, you need to understand certain basic things about analysis techniques and analytics tools before you can unleash their power to propel your online business.

This article is designed to give you a basic understanding of the types of data that you deal with while using any type of web analytics tool.

What is a Web Analytics tool?

A web analytics tool, broadly, collects and gives information about Who, How, Why and What kind of questions related to the users who are coming to your website and what is happening after they reached your website.

The objective of using an analytics tool is to understand your users/customers and generate actionable insights to achieve your business objectives.

In general, the information provided by most web analytics tools can be broadly categorized as

  1. Acquisition
  2. Behaviour
  3. Outcomes

These 3 categories of information, only when used together can provide actionable insights. Consider them three pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Why Use Web Analytics:

"Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."

If you ever took a marketing or a digital marketing course, you should’ve heard this evergreen quote by John Wanamaker. This quote aptly refers to the inability of traditional marketers to understand the results of their marketing efforts.

If you’re a marketer at a huge FMCG firm, and you pump $XX,00,000 for marketing, using bill boards, radio ads, Television ads and also Newspaper ads. You observe that, in that quarter the sales have increased by >70%.

This is good but why exactly did this raise happen? Was it because your ads in News Paper beautiful? Or the radio voice was audibly tantalizing or did your television ad feature a celebrity in trend. Was all of their contribution to the revenue, equal? How much was each individual contribution etc.

As you can see, these are very valuable pieces of information, to make important business decisions and making more money!

This is just acquisition side of things. For most brick and mortar stores, it is mission impossible to understand the behaviour of the customers, (except for the Tom Cruises of the business world, who have a lot of secret gadgets up their sleeve).

If your business is online, then web analytics tools provide you information that answers all these questions for you. Everything you do can be measured, analysed and understood. You can know which channels are helping you gain users who are actually becoming your customers and which of the customers are more valuable so that you can focus your efforts and money accordingly.

Let us understand the information provided by Web Analytics tools, while the following categories are pretty much what most analytics tools provide, operational specificities (if any) are with reference to Google Analytics.


User Acquisition is the most critical aspect of any website. No matter to what end it exists (business, Funds collection, social service etc.,). On internet, there are numerous sources and many channels you can acquire traffic from. Sometimes it’s free (like google organic search results) and other times it costs money (Like google Adwords ads, Affiliates etc.). Besides these, there is also email marketing and social media marketing, where you run various campaigns, usually at a cost.

The Acquisition category of information provides you the details of the number of visits you have from the various “places” you are getting your traffic from. This can be the most basic of the information that is needed for any website and is the first piece of the puzzle.


This category of information gives you an understanding of the user behaviour (hence the name). This category includes information such as, the avg. time a user spends on your website, the avg. number of pages per visit, if a user is visiting for the first time or if he’s a returning visitor etc.

This is information about what the users are doing once they get to your site. If you use both the behaviour and acquisition based information together, you can see that there is a significant change in the user behaviour based on the source of acquisition.


This category ties your website with your business and is the bottom line at any given day! This category provides information as to what is happening with your end objectives. Be it sales, or any other objectives with which you are running your website.

Using this information with acquisition, helps you realize which traffic is most valuable to you. Either in terms of number of sales or the average value of sale. Which will give you insights into what type of marketing activities you should focus most on. When you use it together with behaviour (you need to create segments to do this), you will be able to get a better understanding of what your users are looking at/for and make the necessary changes to your website or products on your website.


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