Web Analytics

In today's dynamic online world, understanding the performance and behavior of your website visitors is crucial. With web analytics, you gain the power to unlock valuable insights that help you optimize your website and make data-driven decisions with confidence

Web Analytics

Key takeaways

Regardless of your industry, you likely agree on the importance of web analytics for understanding how your customers interact and engage with your website or app. Web analytics provide key information such as what pages users click on, how long they remain on a page, how many bounce out quickly and a host of other key metrics. Think of a web analytics platform as providing intelligence on what website visitors do on a site or app. Where stand-alone analytics platforms fall short is exploring the why behind the actions of website visitors—critical information that provides organizations with a holistic picture of the digital experience.

This guide takes you through all things web analytics. In it you’ll learn:

  • What web analytics is

  • How you can use advanced insights to make better-informed decisions and improve the overall performance of your website or app

  • How to choose a web analytics solution

  • The limitations of standalone web analytics solutions

Let’s jump in!

What is web analytics?

Web analytics is the process of collecting and analyzing data to gain insight into how users interact across the pages of a website or mobile app. Web analytics platforms are used to understand user behavior across a website, including number of visitors, how long they stay on each page, pages visited, elements they interact with, traffic sources and much more.

Teams rely on web analytics data and insights to optimize their website and create a better user experience. Web analytics also help drive your search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertising and content development strategies, providing key metrics to track progress toward your business objectives.

Watch this video for a quick primer on web analytics.

How do web analytics tools work?

Think of web analytics as the performance engine behind your website. Website analytics platforms collect and store data from your website, providing both a macro and micro view of your users’ behavior. They measure and analyze what actions users take on the pages and elements of your site such as watching a video or interacting with certain pieces of content. With web analytics, you can also measure key performance indicators (KPIs) such as contact form fills, calls to action (CTA) and newsletter subscriptions.

From a technical standpoint, web analytics is the process of collecting, measuring, analyzing and reporting on the data related to how visitors interact and engage with your website or app to get a view of user behavior. The process typically involves the following five steps:

Data collection: Web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, employ JavaScript code snippets that are embedded in web pages. When a visitor accesses a web page, the code sends a request to the web analytics server, which collects information about the visitor and their interaction with the website.

Visitor tracking: As visitors browse your website, the analytics code tracks various data points, such as the pages they visit, the duration of their visits, the actions they take (e.g., clicks or taps, scrolls, form submissions) and the source of their traffic (e.g., search engines, referral websites).

Cookies and user identification: Web analytics tools commonly use cookies, which are small text files stored on a visitor's device, to identify unique users and track their activities across multiple sessions. The cookies help distinguish between new and returning visitors and provide a more accurate analysis of user behavior.

Data processing: Once the data is collected, it’s sent to the web analytics server for processing. Processing includes organizing the data, filtering out irrelevant or spammy traffic and aggregating it for analysis.

Reporting and visualization: Once the data is analyzed, it’s presented in the reports and dashboards, allowing website owners and marketers to monitor performance, track goals and make data-driven decisions. The reports often include metrics such as page views, unique visitors, bounce rate, conversion rate and traffic sources.

The importance of web analytics

Web analytics is crucial for making informed decisions, optimizing website performance, enhancing the user experience, maximizing marketing effectiveness, measuring ROI and gaining a competitive advantage in the digital landscape.

Here are some of the key benefits of web analytics tools:

Data-driven decision making: Web analytics provides valuable data and insights about website performance, user behavior, and marketing efforts. By analyzing this data, businesses can make informed decisions based on real-time information rather than relying on assumptions or guesswork.

Improved website performance: Web analytics helps identify areas of improvement on your website. By understanding how visitors navigate through your site, which pages they find engaging, and where they may encounter obstacles, you can optimize your website's design, content, and user experience to enhance performance and achieve your goals.

Enhanced user experience: Web analytics helps you understand how users interact with your website, including their preferences, interests, and needs. This knowledge enables you to tailor your website's content, layout, and functionality to provide a seamless and personalized user experience, leading to increased engagement and satisfaction.

Effective marketing strategies: Web analytics allows you to measure the success of your online marketing efforts. By tracking referral sources, analyzing conversion rates, and monitoring campaign performance, you can determine which marketing channels and tactics are driving the most valuable traffic and adjust your strategies accordingly for optimal results.

Return on investment (ROI) measurement: Web analytics provides insights into the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns and website investments. It helps you track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as conversions, revenue, and customer acquisition costs, enabling you to assess the ROI of your marketing activities and allocate resources wisely.

Competitive advantage: By leveraging web analytics, you gain a competitive edge. Understanding your audience, their behavior, and preferences can help you identify market trends, spot opportunities, and stay ahead of your competitors. Web analytics empowers you to make data-driven decisions and adapt your strategies to meet evolving customer needs.

Web analytics metrics

Generating metrics is the foundational reason for web analytics. Website analytics platforms reveal a wide range of metrics that can help you improve the digital experience for your users. From page views, bounce rates and time on page, to referring sites, audience demographics and geographical information, web analytics tools give you a window into your users’ behavior.

Types of metrics to track

Traffic Metrics: These metrics provide an overview of website visitors and their behavior, including the number of visitors, unique visitors, sessions, and page views. They help measure the overall reach and popularity of the website.

Engagement Metrics: Engagement metrics assess user interaction and behavior on the website. They include metrics such as bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who leave after viewing only one page), time on page, pages per session, and click-through rates. These metrics provide insights into how users engage with the website content and indicate the level of interest and involvement.

Conversion Metrics: Conversion metrics measure the effectiveness of the website in achieving specific goals or conversions. Examples include conversion rate (percentage of visitors who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form), average order value, and abandonment rate (percentage of users who abandon a process, such as an incomplete checkout). These metrics help evaluate the website's ability to drive desired actions.

Traffic Sources: Understanding the sources that drive traffic to the website is crucial. Metrics such as referral sources, organic search traffic, paid search campaigns, social media traffic, and direct traffic provide insights into which channels are most effective in bringing visitors to the site. This information helps in optimizing marketing strategies and allocating resources.

Site Speed Metrics: Site speed metrics measure the loading time and performance of the website. Metrics like page load time, server response time, and page size provide insights into the website's speed and performance. Slow loading times can lead to higher bounce rates, lower user satisfaction and ultimately revenue loss. Check out this article to uncover the value of monitoring and optimizing site speed.

Example metrics

There are a wide range of metrics that web analytics tools show, based on a time period you select. You can track metrics down to the day, month or year, and run month-over-month and year-over-year comparisons to track improvements or declines.

Here are some of the metrics you can expect to see from a web analytics platform:

Traffic acquisition metrics

Traffic Metrics:

  • Total website visits
  • Unique visitors
  • Sessions
  • Page views
  • Average time on site
  • New vs. returning visitors

Engagement Metrics:

  • Bounce rate
  • Pages per session
  • Average session duration
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Scroll depth
  • Form submission rate

Conversion Metrics:

  • Conversion rate
  • Goal completions
  • Revenue per visit
  • Average order value
  • Abandoned cart rate
  • Lead generation rate

Traffic Sources Metrics:

  • Organic search traffic
  • Referral traffic
  • Direct traffic
  • Paid search traffic
  • Social media traffic
  • Email marketing traffic

Site Speed Metrics:

  • Page load time
  • Server response time
  • Page size
  • Time to first byte (TTFB)

Top 7 web analytics tools

There are a variety of web analytics tools that can unearth data about what happens when users visit your website or app. We compiled a list of the top 7 web analytics tools with a brief solution description, key features, key integrations, pricing (if publicly available) and G2 ratings.

1. Glassbox

Glassbox’s is a digital experience intelligence platform that analyzes the entire user journey. Combining real-time event tracking with analytics tools helps you understand what users are doing on your website or app and why they behave that way. This data can then be examined for meaningful trends and opportunities to test, optimize and improve the overall digital experience on your website or app.

Key features

  • AI and machine learning to detect anomalies and surface insights

  • Real-time data capture, indexing and instant availability

  • Move from aggregated views to individual sessions seamlessly

  • Advanced filters and search help

  • At-a-glance journey analysis

  • Interaction maps, which are next-generation of heatmap tools, and ad-hoc funnel analysis

Key integrations

  • Google Analytics

  • Adobe Analytics

  • Adobe Segments


Not publicly available


4.8 out of 5 stars, based on 100+ verified customer reviews on G2

2. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a popular web analytics platform for website data collection and management. It enables users to access, organize and visualize their data to fit business needs. The platform allows users to run deep, custom analyses of their website data without the limitations of pre-defined reports and share insights with other users.

Key features

  • Automated data analytics, user behavior prediction and modeling

  • At-a-glance and deeper-dive reporting

  • Custom data analysis to report and share with colleagues

  • Variety of integrated tools to collect, organize and manage data

Key integrations

  • Google Ads

  • Display & Video 360

  • Search Ads 360

  • Google Cloud

  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud Integration

  • Google Ad Manager

  • Google AdMob

  • Google Play

  • Google Search Console




4.5 out of 5 stars, based on 100+ verified customer reviews on G2

3. Adobe Analytics

Adobe Analytics lets organizations mix, match and analyze data from any digital point in the customer journey. It provides interactive dashboards and reporting and facilitates real-time sharing of website information throughout the organization.

Key features

  • Multichannel data collection

  • Custom variables

  • Offline data integration

  • Tag management

  • Data warehouse and data feeds

Key integrations

  • Adobe Target


Not publicly available


4.1 out of 5 stars, based on 100+ verified customer reviews on G2

4. Hubspot

Hubspot's marketing analytics, which is available through the platform’s Marketing Hub, tracks the actions of website visitors and reveals how users interact with a website. It analyzes how each page is performing, compares key metrics like sessions and conversion rates and tracks which traffic sources bring in the most sessions and customers over time.

Key features

  • Detailed marketing reports for every marketing asset: website, emails, blog posts, social media and more

  • Dashboard with all reports in one place


Free to $3,600/month


4.4 out of 5 stars based on 9,530 verified customer reviews on G2

5. Chartbeat

Chartbeat is a content intelligence platform for media publishers and digital content teams that provides analytics across desktop, social and mobile platforms. It offers headline testing, in-page optimization tools, reporting and more to understand and measure attention earned by written and video content.

Key features

  • Real-time and historical dashboards

  • Heads up display

  • Reporting

  • Advanced queries

  • Headline testing

  • Multi-site view

Key integrations

  • Slack


Not publicly available


4.4 out of 5 stars, based on 100+ verified customer reviews on G2

6. Woopra

Woopra's product analytics tool analyzes customer journeys, trends, retention, segmentation and more. It provides journey reports that combine any set of actions or attributes to see how users move through a website, marketing campaigns and products. Trends reports reveal how metrics change over time.

Key features

  • Trends, cohort and retention reports

  • Behavioral segmentation

  • Built-in triggers and automation

  • One-click integrations

Key integrations


  • Azure

  • Google Ads

  • Dropbox

  • Facebook

  • Google Drive

  • HubSpot

  • MailChimp

  • Marketo

  • MySQL

  • Salesforce

  • WordPress


Free to $999+/month


4.4 out of 5 stars, based on 100+ verified customer reviews on G2

7. Open Web Analytics

Open Web Analytics (OWA) is an open-source web analytics software framework to track and analyze how people use websites and applications. It offers an easy way to add web analytics and comes with built-in support for tracking website development with popular content management frameworks.

Key features

  • First party control

  • Customizable web analytics framework

  • Dozens of standard metrics, dimensions and reports

  • Data access API

  • Privacy controls

  • Heatmaps

  • Clickstream of anonymized user sessions

Key integrations

  • WordPress

  • Media Wiki




4.5 out of 5 stars, based on 100+ verified customer reviews on G2

Typical uses for web analytics tools

Web analytics tools are key for knowing what visitors do on the pages of your site. Here are some of the common uses for web analytics tools:

Website performance analysis

Website performance analysis involves assessing the overall health and effectiveness of a website using a combination of metrics and measurements available through web analytics. These metrics provide valuable insights into various aspects of a website's performance, helping you understand how well your website is functioning and performing.

Traffic source analysis

Web analytics tools enable you to identify the sources that drive traffic to your website, such as search engines, social media platforms, referral websites, or direct traffic. Understanding the performance of different traffic sources helps you allocate marketing resources effectively and optimize your acquisition strategies.

Content performance

With web analytics tools, you can assess the performance of your content, including blog posts, articles, videos, or product descriptions. By tracking metrics like page views, time on page, and social shares, you can identify high-performing content and replicate its success while improving underperforming content.

Conversions and goals

Web analytics tools help track conversions, which are specific actions you want visitors to take on your website, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter or filling out a contact form. By monitoring conversion rates, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and website design in driving desired actions.

Basic behavior analysis

Web analytics tools allow you to understand how visitors interact with your website. You can analyze metrics such as the number of unique visitors, returning visitors, and the paths they take through your site. This information helps you gain insights into user behavior, preferences, and engagement levels.

🔥While popular web analytics tools like Google Analytics offer insights into user behavior, understanding the underlying reasons behind user behavior requires a more powerful engine. Check out the section below on web analytics vs digital experience intelligence to delve deeper into this topic.

Revealing bounce rates

A high bounce rate can indicate that visitors are not finding the content or experience they expected upon landing on a specific page. It suggests a lack of engagement or relevance, which may be attributed to factors such as misleading search results, poor website design, irrelevant content, slow loading times, or confusing navigation. Analyzing bounce rates across different pages can help identify areas for improvement and optimize content to better align with user expectations.

It's important to note that while a high bounce rate may raise concerns, it doesn't necessarily indicate a problem. Some pages, like blog posts or informational articles, are designed for quick consumption, where visitors find the information they need and then exit the site. Therefore, it's crucial to consider bounce rates in the context of the specific page and its objectives.

💡To address high bounce rates on specific areas of your website, it is crucial to understand the underlying reasons behind this behavior. Only when you're able to surface the insights which lead to an understanding as to why users are bouncing are you able to confidently implement changes to drive user engagement.

Improving SEO

An analytics tool can also inform your SEO strategy. For example, if a specific blog is among the top visited pages of a site, an organization can take that as a signal of high user interest and develop more content around the topic and keywords contained in that blog.

Basic mobile analytics

With the rise of mobile devices, web analytics tools offer mobile-specific tracking and analysis. These features provide insights into mobile traffic, user behavior, and device-specific metrics, allowing you to optimize your website and marketing strategies for mobile users.

E-commerce analysis

Web analytics tools cater to E-commerce businesses by offering features to track and analyze online sales. These tools provide metrics like conversion rates, average order value, abandoned cart rates, and product performance, helping you optimize your E-commerce website and increase sales.

Limitations of standalone web analytics tools

While web analytics is crucial for identifying what users do on a website by showing you what actions they take, that’s only one part of understanding the digital experience your website provides. The other part of the equation is understanding why users behaved the way they did.

For example, a web analytics platform shows you that users spend a good amount of time on your page, but they aren’t converting. But you don’t know why that happened. There could be many reasons, including:

  • The visitor read the page but didn’t find the information they were seeking

  • The user was frustrated by a broken element—e.g., the user is repeatedly trying to click on a link that isn’t actually clickable

  • Your conversion tracking is broken—e.g., there are form errors and it won’t submit

  • The user was really interested in the content, but they didn’t want to take a conversion action—e.g., the form required a cell number, and they refused to enter this information after filling out the rest of the fields

Each of these experiences is not only a unique problem—but would also require very different interpretations and interventions. A digital experience intelligence platform unifies all the data to get the most complete view of the digital customer experience. These advanced insights enable organizations to optimize the digital experience.

Knowing only what users did on your website reveals a partial picture of the digital experience of your website or app. A digital experience intelligence platform provides advanced insights that tell the complete picture, by combining web analytics with data from other parts of the organization. This combination takes into account the wider context of the user’s journey.

Web analytics vs. digital experience intelligence

While web analytics and digital experience intelligence (DXI) tools both gather data about how users interact and engage with your website or app, there are some key differences to consider.

Web analytics typically track user behavior on websites and mobile apps, tracking what a visitor does on your website and website conversions. This data is used to identify trends and link them to team KPIs and overall business goals.

In contrast, digital experience intelligence looks at user behavior across a wider range of interactions on a website or mobile app. A digital experience intelligence solution can capture all the elements of a user’s experience over either a single session or multiple sessions. This reveals how a user behaves on a web page or mobile app, where they struggle and insight into the decisions they make throughout the process. Digital experience intelligence platforms offer teams new levels of insight into the customer journey as they experience your website or app and answers the why behind why visitors behave the way they do.

Best practices for choosing a web analytics platform

While it doesn’t tell the whole story, a web analytics platform is a must-have no matter the size of your organization. If you haven’t already added one to your site, it’s important to start there. You’ll immediately begin building data about what actions your visitors take on your website or mobile app.

Don’t forget to explore your options

There are many web analytics tools to choose from so evaluate your options to see which one is the best fit for your organization. Pay attention to G2 ratings because these ratings are given by actual verified users of the technology.

Be mindful of integrations

Each web analytics tool comes with its own set of easy-to-integrate technologies it is built to work well with. If you use other technologies as a key part of your MarTech stack, you will want to check if there is an integration that will work for you. Even if it’s not listed as a core integration, it can’t hurt to reach out to the company selling the web analytics tool. Frequently there are workarounds that can help you integrate with other tools if it’s necessary for your team.

Watch a demo

Most web analytics providers allow you to test drive their solutions before committing. Request an online demo so you can see how all the features of the web analytics platform work.

Read reviews. Most well-established web analytics platforms will have reviews you can read online (🔥humble brag time: Glassbox has a 4.8/5 rating on G2).

How to get the most out of your web analytics data

Don’t settle for only knowing what actions your users take on your website or mobile app. A digital experience intelligence platform like Glassbox combines web analytics with other data throughout the business, giving users a complete picture of the customer journey.

These advanced DXI insights lead to data-driven, well-informed decisions. The data goes deeper than showing you what users did on your website or app. It shows you why they behave the way they do. You can also grow your digital business by unlocking a deeper level of customer understanding.


Check out the web analytics FAQs if you’re short on time and are looking for a cheat sheet on web analytics.

What is web analytics?

Web analytics collects and analyzes data to gain insight into how users interact across the pages of a website or mobile app.

What are web analytics examples?

Web analytics measure what users do on your website or mobile app in three categories: acquisition, behavior and conversion.

What do web analytics tools measure?

Web analytics platforms measure many metrics including overall traffic, number of users, how long users stay on a page, pages visited, elements they interact with, traffic sources and much more.

What are the most popular web analytics tools?

The seven most popular web analytics tools are:

  • Glassbox

  • Google Analytics

  • Adobe Analytics

  • Hubspot

  • Chartbeat

  • Woopra

  • Open Web Analytics.