Web Analytics and Data Warehousing

Extracted from Graves et. al., Professional SQL Server 2000 Data Warehousing with Analysis Services, Wrox Press, ISBN: 1861005407; Chapter 18:
Web Analytics is the analysis of web data. More specifically, it is business intelligence that allows analysts to gain insight into their web-based businesses (e.g. e-commerce, customer support, etc.). Web Analytics allows you to understand customer behavior and identify common sales trends allowing you to personalize services for your customers and increase customer satisfaction.  It allows you to understand how well your products, content, and online processes are working.
The difficulty of Web Analytics is that it requires you to combine different sources of data and correlate the data in order to resolve these issues. With the complexity of web sites, offerings, multiple locations, and promotions, it is difficult to answer even the most basic questions concerning these online businesses. For example, in order to answer the question "How well did our web promotion work", you will need to:
  • Transform web log data to determine the number of users who visited the site due to the
  • Transform commerce data to determine the number of users who made purchases due to the
    promotion itself
  • Associate the commerce data to the web log data to include only purchases that were made due
    to those promotions
  • Transform banner ads and e-mail marketing campaign data to determine the number of users who
    actually received the promotion
  • Finally, correlate this data against all of the data above
For more info, refer to the book, eh?!  Meanwhile, a good article on "Storing Session State in a SQL Server database" which is key to web analytics data warehousing (i.e. handling the scale of data):

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