On a Web site, clickstream analysis (also called clickstream analytics) is the process of collecting, analyzing and reporting aggregate data about which pages a website visitor visits -- and in what order. The path the visitor takes though a website is called the clickstream.
There are two levels of clickstream analysis, traffic analytics and e-commerce analtyics. Traffic analytics operates at the server level and tracks how many pages are served to the user, how long it takes each page to load, how often the user hits the browser's back or stop button and how much data is transmitted before the user moves on. E-commerce-based analysis uses clickstream data to determine the effectiveness of the site as a channel-to-market. It's concerned with what pages the shopper lingers on, what the shopper puts in or takes out of a shopping cart, what items the shopper purchases, whether or not the shopper belongs to a loyalty program and uses a coupon code and the shopper's preferred method of payment.
Because an extremely large volume of data can be gathered through clickstream analysis, many e-businesses rely on big data analytics and related tools such as Hadoop to help interpret the data and generate reports for specific areas of interest. Clickstream analysis is considered to be most effective when used in conjunction with other, more traditional, market evaluation resources.