Hits, Sessions & Users: Understanding Digital Analytics Data
Every day we used words like hits, sessions etc. to define our digital campaigns. But more often then we know, we are not even aware about what these terms actually mean and what effect they have on our brand and its campaigns. In this blog, we will help you get a thorough understanding of the entire concept of the three elements of digital marketing called- Hits, Sessions and Users. The three mentioned elements are present in a hierarchical order of-
Let us get on with understanding each element of this hierarchy to comprehend the entire concept of how these help us in identifying business opportunities and give a boost to our marketing-
Hit is a mere process of requesting a file or information from the web. It is a granular piece of information used to send data to the collection server. All data is sent from the website to the collection server using a hit. The analytics tool has a number of types of hits. The most common ones are-
- Pageviews– It is a tool to automatically generate and measure a user who is viewing a page or some content. It is one of the most basic elements of digital analytics. Pageviews can be used to find out other analytics like Pageviews per visit or the average time that a user spends on a page.
- Event– An event is used to measure if the user takes action on a content that he views. An event is manually implemented i.e. the marketer triggers an event when a user takes some action on a content. The action that a user takes could be anything from clicking a button to swiping a screen. The main motive of the tool is to ensure user interaction with the page and the screen.
Whatever the type of hit is, all of them are sent to Google Analytics by the help of a tracking code. The type of tracking code that you need depends on the type of content that you a tracking. Regardless of its types, all hits have a similar format.
A session is a collection of hits from a single user. Most analytics tools have a default setting of grouping hits together based of the type of activity by the user. While grouping hits, if the analytics finds that the user it was targeting is no more active, it will terminate the session and start a new one when the users becomes active the next time. There are a number of sessions for the analytics to manage, thus the analytics use a 30 minutes of inactivity to separate the sessions. This time period of 30 minute is called a timeout. You can customize your timeout duration according to your needs.
We can say that hits are grouped together to form sessions, now let’s find out how sessions are grouped together on the basis of users.
Users are the most important element of the entire digital analytics. It is the work of the analytics tool to identify if a user has visited page. Every time it does so, an identifier is created for the user and that identifier exists till the time the user exists or until the time it is deleted. The identifier contains every hit of data and is sent to the analytics tool. The analytics tool then group hits and sessionstogether with the help of the identifier. But how are users detected. Let us now focus on how this is done by the most common platforms-
- Website Users- Cookies are the easiest way to measure users on a website. Cookie is a small text file that contains an anonymous identifier. The identifier that is stored in the cookie is sent to the analytics every time am hit is sent from the browser.
- Mobile Users- Mobile platforms have become very popular in the last few years. Thus an increased need to track the mobile users. Tracking a mobile is similar to tracking the web. Instead of the cookie, an anonymous identifier is stored in the device’s database. The identifier is sent back to the analytics on every hit. The identifier is used to create unique users.
Ending the topic here, you must have got a fair idea about how these three elements of digital analytics work. Measuring and tracking the three is an important step in knowing what type of traffic you receive and how you can increase it. So what are you waiting for, get on with working on these!