Clickthroughs, Visits and Page Views in Webtrends

These 3 metrics can provide what appear to be irrational numbers, so this article explains how they are derived.

First some definitions:

To tell Webtrends that the Visitor has come from a campaign, you will have added the WT.mc_id parameter to the link in your email, tweet or banner ad (or put it in the meta data of a landing page for off-line campaigns). As you would expect, clickthroughs are simply the number of times that someone clicks on the link (i.e. the number of times that Webtrends sees a hit with the WT.mc_id parameter present).

Conceptually, a Visit is when someone looks at your site, views a few pages and then goes away again. The difficulty is that we can’t know when they stop looking! In line with general practice, Webtrends assumes that the Visit ends after 30 minutes of inactivity. So that means that if someone goes to lunch in the middle of looking at your site and comes back after an hour to resume, that will count as a second Visit.

A Page View is the easy one! Someone looks at a Page, that is a Page View!

However, looking at all these together can result in some apparently strange results:

Page Views higher than Visits

If someone looks at the Home Page, the Products page and then goes back to the Home Page, then you would see 3 Page Views but only 1 Visit in your your Campaign report. In the Pages report for the Home Page you would see 2 Page Views and 1 Visit because that person has looked at the same page twice within a single visit.

Clickthroughs higher than Visits

When someone clicks through from an email, looks at a page on the site, returns to the email and clicks through on either the same or another link, that will be 2 clickthroughs. If that behaviour is seen by Webtrends as all being a part of the same Visit (i.e. without 30 minutes of inactivity at any point between the 2 clickthroughs), then there will be 2 Clickthroughs, but only 1 Visit.

Visits higher than Clickthroughs

A number of Campaign reports attribute future Visits to the last (or “Most Recent”) Campaign. So, if someone clicks through from an email on Monday, bookmarks the site and returns via the bookmark on Tuesday, then these reports would attribute the second visit to the campaign as well, even though the Visitor had come to the site directly. So, the metrics for the week would appear as 1 Clickthrough and 2 Visits.

Still worried about giving visitors cookies?

Leading up to May 2012 there was a lot of confusion about the legal requirements for giving cookie to Visitors (used by almost all sites to provide metrics on site traffic).  This resulted in a number of different implementations providing a variety of user experiences.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) eventually provided clarity (http://bit.ly/ZzXyOW), but there are still sites today whose method of dealing with the regulations is overly intrusive.  If you think you may be one of them, read on!

The underlying EU regulation stated that consent must be obtained.  However, this requirement has now been watered down, so that “implied consent is a valid form of consent”.  It is important that users understand what is going on and this must be explained clearly and openly, but in practice it is now widely accepted that, as long as you provide explicit navigation to a cookie policy page containing clear descriptions of all cookies, how they are used and how they may be deleted, that is sufficient.

So, say goodbye to those large banners and irritating pop-ups!

P.S. If you are looking like for an example of how to implement your cookie policy, the ICO one is as good as any other – http://www.ico.org.uk/Global/cookies.aspx