If you are reading this blog you probably know metrics like Unique Visitors, Visit, Pageview, etc. Those metrics are Standard metrics, which means that the way those metrics are being measured is based on a definition made by a recognized organization (the Web Analytics Association), allowing comparisons among different projects. Actually when someone tells you “I have 10.000 unique visitors” we all know the meaning of that (10.000 unique browsers being measured by a particular cookie).
Standard metrics are very important, actually the Web Analytics Association have a committee that works very hard trying to define those standards (The standardization committee), and very useful as well. Standard metrics are focused on external analytics, which means the analytics that relates your company/project with other companies/projects. So with standard metrics you can do external analytics for control, benchmarking (I don’t like so much external benchmarking but it does exist), etc. This means that you shouldn’t use standard metrics for Internal analytics ever? No, no, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying what’s the main focus of those metrics, but if any of those metrics is useful for you for Internal Analytics then just use it.
On the other hand you have the non-standard metrics. The non-standard metrics are those that you use for internal measurement and benchmarking. In this case it doesn’t matter that the metrics is not standard because you will only use it as a sensor that will allow you measure your own company’s performance.
Why I’m saying this? Because when looking for “sensors” to measure your performance you have to be creative, creating a metric able to capture the specific information that you or someone from your company will required.
So, when looking those metrics to measure your internal performance forget about all what you know and think about the ideal one and call it in a way that the users of the metrics will understand and don’t forget to write the description and formula of the metric everywhere the metric will be shown.
You can also download the Standard Metrics from the Web Analytics Association