The Analytics Glossary: Analytics Terms You Should Know

The Analytics Glossary: Analytics Terms You Should Know

Here are some basic analytics terms to help you understand things better before getting into the world of business intelligence.

Before anything else, let’s start with the analytics definition. Analytics refers to any data or statistics that you calculate and break down further. It could be anywhere from a simple totaling of site visitors you have in a day to more complex concepts such as using data to optimize your business operations.

Business intelligence (BI) is a process that largely depends on analytics. It uses data to predict profit or look more closely into customer behaviors. Analytics helps BI in the sense that it makes the numbers easier to understand. It also makes problem solving and troubleshooting easier.

Here are 15 basic analytics terms that could help you grasp the concept better.


An action generally refers to any activity or interaction that a user performs on your site. This could be anywhere from the simple website or profile visits to signing up for email updates or newsletters.


When a user takes a certain action on your website, you might opt to have automation following it. For example, if a user inputs their email address on your prompt, you could have automation to have them included in your future email campaigns without you having to manually input their email into your mailing list.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who click on your page and leave without taking other actions on your website. A lower bounce rate often means that your page or site is performing well since users are interacting with it.


Churn is the number of subscribers that leave over time. Like the bounce rate, the goal of businesses is to keep the churn rate low. This means that you should be able to target customers and make them renew their subscriptions to prevent them from churning.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is a term that’s also widely used in digital marketing. It refers to the number of site visitors that you can convert into paying customers. You can generate several leads for your website, but the real challenge is convincing them to avail of your products and services. The higher the conversion rate, the better.


Cookies may be a familiar term for you by now since you’ll often see them when you browse the internet. But just so we’re on the same page, cookies refer to the files that are stored on your browser when you visit a site. This allows site owners to track customer behavior.

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic is any user who types your domain name directly onto their browser. Direct traffic is the visitor that doesn’t come from search engines or external links to your site. Higher direct traffic usually means that your site is becoming more well-known or that you’re establishing your own brand slowly but surely.

Engagement Rate

Engagement rate measures how users interact with your website. The longer they stay on your page or the more pages they click on your site, the better. A user that visits your site multiple times or shares your post on social media platforms will have a higher engagement rate than someone who only visits your site once and leaves.


Impressions are the number of times that people see or view your content. This is common on Facebook and Twitter. More impressions mean more exposure and wider reach for your site or business.

Lead Score

The lead score works much like an engagement rate in the sense that the more actions a user does on your site, the higher the lead score will be. Lead score is also used to gauge the quality of the leads you get for your site.


Ranking usually refers to your site’s performance on search engines. The more “high-quality” your content is, the higher your ranking will be. A higher ranking means more exposure and leads for your site.


Retargeting is more of a marketing strategy for site and business owners. With the cookies, you can track users who have shown interest in your products and follow up on them by showing them your ads. This helps in giving potential customers a little more nudge to finally avail of your services.


A session refers to the user activity for a certain period of time. If they’ve been inactive for a while (say, they switched to other tabs without closing the tab for your site), the session ends. When they come back to your tab, later on, that’s usually considered a new session.

Tracking URL

A tracking URL helps site owners to know where their site visitors come from. It may usually show that a user came from a search engine like Google. Sometimes, users are redirected to the site by clicking on an external link from another source or article.

Unique Visitor

A unique visitor is anyone who visits your site. Every time a new user clicks on your site, they’re considered a unique visitor. Remember how cookies track users’ IP addresses? This is where unique visitors are determined. A user that clicks on your site multiple times doesn’t drive up the figures unless they use a different computer or device to visit your site.

Business Intelligence

screenshot of google analytics

There are a lot more terms you’ll encounter as you go by, but these terms should be enough to get you started. Take your time in learning these basic terms (and more) so that learning about BI or digital marketing wouldn’t take you by surprise and overwhelm you.

To recap, here are 15 basic analytics terms you should know about:

  • Action - any interaction with your site
  • Automation - actions that follow a certain user activity or condition
  • Bounce rate - the percentage of visitors who land on your page and leave without doing anything else
  • Churn - the number of subscribers who leave over time and don’t renew their subscriptions
  • Conversion rate - the percentage of visitors that you can convert to paying customers
  • Cookies - small files stored on your browser that lets site owners track your activity on the site
  • Direct traffic - users who input your domain name directly on their browser
  • Engagement rate - the percentage of interactions and actions that a user makes on your site
  • Impressions - the number of times people view your site or page
  • Lead score - determines the quality of leads you get for your site
  • Ranking -  your performance on search engines like Google or Bing
  • Retargeting - a marketing strategy that aims to convert potential customers into actual paying customers
  • Session - any activity that a user makes on your site for a certain period of time
  • Tracking URL - helps site owners understand where their visitors come from before landing on their page
  • Unique visitor - a user with a unique IP address who visits your site

This post was submitted by a TNS experts. Check out our Contributor page for details about how you can share your ideas on digital marketing, SEO, social media, growth hacking and content marketing with our audience.

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