Understanding Our Reporting: Key Website Metrics to Understand

At Birch River Design Group we are extremely data driven. To measure our success we rely on a lot of information and we do our best to pass along the information in a digestible and helpful way. 

In this article, we want to explain in detail a few categories of reporting metrics used when breaking down website traffic in our weekly reports. 

First, we will look at the difference between Page Views, Sessions, “Different People” and Average Visit Length. Then we will look at how people are getting to your website and how we break down the traffic into categories.

Deciphering the Website Traffic Metrics


Every time a page on your website is shown to a user, this counter will increase by one. It is a good metric to follow but does not always tell the whole story because every user will load a different amount of pages.


A session represents the entirety of a user’s visit. This number will increase once when a user visits your website, but will not go up again unless the user leaves your website for about four hours. This is a great way to see how many real “visits” your website has.

Different People

This number tracks the total amount of people who have visited your website in a certain time frame. If a person visits your website multiple times it will not be counted more than once. 

Average Visit Length

This metric tracks the average length of time users spends on your website.

Deciphering the “Where Is My Traffic Coming From?” Pie Chart:

This section breaks down into categories where your traffic is coming from. The most common sources of traffic are defined below:

Organic Search:

Traffic categorized as “Organic Search” is a visitor who found your website through any website that is considered a search engine. The most common ones are GoogleBingYahoo, and DuckDuckGo.


Traffic categorized as “Referral” is a visitor who came from another website that is linking to your website. Anyone who clicks on the link will show up as “Referral” traffic.


Traffic categorized as “Email” is anyone who clicked on a link to your website in an email. Most often this type of traffic will come from email marketing campaigns or users sharing your website in an email.


Traffic categorized as “Direct” is anyone who types in your website directly into their browser.


Traffic categorized as “Social” is anyone who clicks on a link to your website on any social media platform. The most common social media platforms are FacebookInstagramTwitterTikTokLinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Deciphering the “Device Breakdown” Pie Chart:

This section breaks down into categories of what type of devices are being used to access your website. A slightly different version of your website is shown depending on the screen size. The three-screen sizes are broken down into the following three categories. 


Currently, the most popular form of browsing the web, any traffic categorized as “Mobile” is a user accessing your site from a Smartphone. The most common examples of Smartphones are iPhones and Android Devices (Samsung Galaxy, Pixel, Huawei Phones). These devices have extremely small screens and are shown the smallest version of your website.


Traffic categorized as “Tablet” are users accessing your website using their Apple iPad or Android Tablet devices. These devices have medium to small-sized screens and will generally show a slightly larger version of your mobile website. 


Traffic categorized as “Desktop” are users accessing your website from their personal computer or their laptop. These devices will show the traditional website experience.