Sitecore Experience Analytics (XA) provides graphical representation of visitors data(facts) using dimensions, metrics and segments. Dimensions are attributes of a visitor’s data while metrics are quantitative measurements of those attributes.
Dimensions, segments and metrics are defined in the master database of Sitecore. A segment is then deployed to the reporting database where it is used for aggregation. Learn more about aggregation.
- Visitor is usually referred as Contact in Sitecore.
- While visit is also called interaction.
- Metrics are also referred as facts.
These terms will be used interchangeably during this article.
Dimensions are attributes of an interaction or a visitor of a website. For instance country is a dimension which tells the origin of the visitor’s interaction based on its IP address. We can think of different dimensions like browser the visitor was using or which pages the visitor visited.
Segments are like dimensions but provide another level of differentiation. A segment can have a filter associated to it. This filter can filter out data during aggregation. Hierarchy wise, a segment is a child of a dimension. One dimension can have multiple segments based on the filters you want to apply. Consider the following dimension
All visits from US referred by Facebook is a segment
The first segment (All visits by country) will have facts about visitors irrespective of their country. So a report which is configured to show facts for this segment will show facts about all the countries. While the second segment(All visits from US originated from Facebook) will have facts about visits originating from US and referred from Facebook. In order to achieve this filtration, Experience Analytics provides filters that we can apply to segments.
Filters are set of rules which we can apply on segments. A segment will use the filter to decide which data it can provide to a report. For the segment (All visits from US originated from Facebook), we will need to create a filter and then apply that filter to this segment.
Metrics are different measurements about those dimensions. For instance PageViews is a numerical measurement which tells how many pages were visited by the contact. A metrics is only meaningful when we see it in combination with a dimension e.g. how many PageViews are there for a specific country.
Sitecore experience analytics provides following fixed set of metrics for every dimension.
- Visits: Indicates the number of visitors.
- TimeOnSite: Total time spent by a visitor.
- Bounces: An interaction is considered a bounce if the contact leaves the website without adding any value. Normally, if a contact visits only one page and exits the website it is considered as a bounce.
- Conversions: Conversions indicate how many goals were triggered during the interaction. For instance “Like a blog”, is a goal for a website. If a visitor likes a blog it is considered as one conversion.
- Value: Engagement value of an interaction associated with a goal. “Like a blog” has a value of 10. If a visitor likes the blog the value would become 10.
- Count: Number of times a specific action was triggered. For instance, Count for downloads could be number of times a documents was downloaded.
- PageViews: Total pages viewed during an interaction.
Today, until 8.2 version of Sitecore we have only these seven metrics. This set of seven metrics is fixed for all the dimensions. Google analytics provides this flexibility where we can associate metrics to a dimension based on their relevance. For instance, for a country the ‘Count’ metric doesn’t make any sense but in XA you would see a count metric is always associated to the country dimension, albeit with a 0 value always.