Web analytics refers to the collection, analysis and reporting of Web site usage by visitors and customers of a web site. This information is used by those responsible for the success of the web site to better understand the effectiveness of online initiatives and other changes to the web site in an objective, scientific way through experimentation, testing, and measurement. This understanding and knowledge can be used wisely to optimize the web site so that it more effectively accomplishes the goals of the business. The optimization process can occur in any number of areas such as site content and media offerings, product and merchandising, site navigation, creative design, internal search and the checkout process.

As the preceding brief definition indicates there are many facets to Web analytics. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the fundamental concepts as well as some of the more practical considerations of Web analytics to ensure that those responsible for the success of a web site – web masters, marketing, merchandisers, content producers, and IT – are able to get the most out of their Web analytics. The focus of Web analytics should be on optimization rather than simply measurement. In the not so distant past Web analytics was considered to only refer to the analysis of web site log files to determine basic web traffic data including the number of visitors to the site and the number of page views. This paper intends to provide some insight into how to go from measurement to optimization by aligning metrics and analysis with the strategic goals and vision of the business.