Web Analytics: Sessionisation Methods Part 2
Cookie-based Sessionisation Methods
- Session Cookies - Session cookies, as the name implies, are cookies that are stored on the user’s computer only for that particular session. Once the user leaves the website or turns off the computer all the cookies that was stored on the hard drive are deleted.
- Persistent Cookies - Persistent cookies, on the other hand, store the cookies on the user’s hard drive even after the computer is turned off. The main difference between the two in terms of functionality is that persistent cookies enable the website (or the third-party) to differentiate first-time visitors from returning visitors, a distinction that is important for those concerned with web analytics since you want to be able to identify and analyse the similarites and differences between user habits of first-time/one-time visitors verus returning visitors.
Both methods can gather very important visit-related metrics such as the page views, click path of users, time spent per page, exit pages, etc. As mentioned above the advantage of persistent cookies is that you can gather data about the same user and analyse each user’s long term habits as well as compare between the users habits. Note though that persistent cookies are NOT allowed for US government sites.
Note too both of these methods do not gather information regarding the user’s personal details such as name, phone number, etc, hence, ensuring the user’s anonymity.