Web Analytics: Sessionisation Methods Part 1

There are several sessionisation techniques used for web analytics including:

  • IP-based Sessionisation;
  • Session parameter/ID;
  • Authenticated User;
  • Session cookies; and
  • Persistent Cookies

These methods are classified under two main categories - non-cookie sessionisation methodsand cookie-based sessionisation methods. Obviously the last two are the ones that fall under the cookie-based methods.

I will be discussing each technique briefly starting with the cookie-based sessionisation methods. Remember from our last several posts that the cookie-based methods are not ideal for use if you are going designing a government site.

Cookie-based Sessionisation Methods

In the non-baking lingo cookies are pieces of information that are sent by a website to the user’s browser and then stored on the hard drive. Cookies are very useful for increasing usability via personalisation as well as for gathering data for web analytics.

There are two kinds of cookies - first and third party cookies (no second party? ^_^). First party cookies are simply cookies that are sent directly by the website the user is visiting. Third party cookies are sent by some other entity, usually a web analytics service provider hired by the website, to the user’s browser. Whether the cookie is from the website being visited or a third party doesn’t matter in terms of the kind and amount of information that is revealed and gathered. What matters more is the kind of information/data the cookie is set to gather and the ability of the party that analyses the data to interpret the data with ease. Note that session cookies and persistent cookies can both use either of the two kinds of cookies (1st and 3rd party cookies).

to be continued…

Source: Web Analytics Traffic Metrics Best Practices for Government Agencies by WebTrends Marketing Lab

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