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In the context of analytics, a metric is a number. In most modern practice, it appears in columns in your web analytics tools or spreadsheets.
A metric can be a Count (a total), or a Ratio (a division of one number by another). Examples of Count metrics includes Visits, Time on Site and Pageviews. Examples of Ratio metrics include Bounce Rate, Conversion Rate, and Task Completion Rate.
You’ll leverage metrics in your day to day tactical analysis. A smaller subset of metrics will be elevated to be Key Performance Indicators (as they map to Goals), and will be a part of your strategic business analysis efforts.
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