Understand Web Traffic – Hits, Pageviews, Impressions, Unique Visits

There are various terms when it comes to the calculation of web traffics. Some statistics give you a report in terms of daily and monthly unique visitors; some provide more – PageviewsHits, etc. You could have heard webmasters claiming their sites to have more than 1 million hits a month. But how big are 1 million hits, does that mean they have 1 million visitors every month? Here are brief explanations for those who are confused about how figures in these web statistic terms are generated.

Hits

Measuring traffics in hits usually returns you a proudly large number. Hits are also known as request, and it’s the total number of files loaded when a single page is requested from the webserver. So how hits are calculated? Picture this – a single web page with 20 images (transparent.gifheader-background.gif, etc.)is loaded, that’s 20 hits for starters. The web page has ten photos (jammie.jpggroup-photo.jpg, etc.); that’s another ten hits. If you add up the CSS files, Javascript files, and all the external files, each time a web page is loaded, it can quickly build up more than 50 hits. If you clear cache, reload the page, another 50+ hits again.

Hits are rarely used to judge a website’s traffic nowadays as they are not accurate. The numbers are big and undoubtedly cool, but generally useless.

Pageviews

Pageviews is a calculation of how many times a page is viewed. Say a visitor lands on your main page, that’s one pageview. The same visitor clicks to About Us page; that’s another pageview. By dividing total pageviews with total unique visitors, you can get an idea of how many page views each visitor generates.

Impressions

Impression is more or less a marketing term, typically calculated in the bulk of 1000. It counts how many times an element (image, text, video) appears on a web page. If an advertisement network is paying $3/CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions), that means you are getting paid $3 when the banner appears 1000 times on your web page.

Visits / Unique Visitors

Visits are normally equivalent to unique visitors. Think of it as the number of different people (different IP) that visits your web page. Visits or unique visitors are the essential numbers of all when it comes to determining the traffic of a specific site.

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