Some of the things that are commonly collected, and subsequently available in reports, are:
- Browser program and version number
- Operating system and version number
- Viewport width and height
- Computer screen width and height
- User’s IP address, which provides geolocation and internet service provider information
- Page Referrer – The page referrer is the technical name for the where the user came from. If the user came from Google, then that information will be capture. If the user directly typed in your homepage, then the page referrer will be empty.
- Page Information – Information about the page including the title and URL.
- Request Time – A timestamp record for the time of the user request for the page.
A quick example
An understanding of the more technical aspects of how analytics programs work can help a marketer gain a better understanding of what user behavior is possible to track and what the limitations are.
How Cookies are Used
Cookies are necessary for analytics programs to correctly keep track of users. They allow users to be tagged with unique identifiers in the cookies. This allows the programs to know that subsequent webpage requests or events are from the same user and tie them together. Cookies are what allow funnel reports, unique visitor counts, session times, and time on page stats to be possible.
Now that you’ve got the basics of how analytics programs work, you can get to work defining your analytics goals.