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What Does ‘New Usage Analytics’ in SharePoint 2013 Mean?

SharePoint 2013 being a knowledge managing platform, has introduced the cutting edge concept of ‘usage analytics’. Usage analytics in SharePoint 2013 serves as a replacement to web analytics in SharePoint 2013. Usage analytics is simply the improved version of web analytics. While web analytics is a means of optimizing web usage by measuring, collecting, analyzing and reporting web data; usage analytics is a clever extension of web analytics. Usage analytics is a tool to examine user actions or usage events such as clicks or viewed items on the SharePoint site.

The discard of web analytics in SharePoint 2013 led to emergence of not only usage Analytics but also search analytics. User analytics, as discussed above, is about analyzing user actions, but, search analytics examines the content in the search index. Examining the search index content means examining extracted sets of information from content stored in the search index such as links and anchor texts. The extracts of usage analytics are then combined with search analytics. This information is further processed to provide recommendations and data on usage events. The entire statistics on usage is added to search index and sent to analytics reporting database.

How does usage Analytics work?

The working of usage analytics is based on the occurrence of usage event. A usage event occurs when it is issued. A usage event is issued every time a user views an item. This increases the usage event counts for that item. The entire statistics on different usage events are added to the search index and send to the analytics reporting database. But what is a usage event?

As discussed above a user event is issued by the system every time a user views an item. SharePoint 2013 has three user events, which are the default events and are always registered and analyzed by SharePoint. These usage events are

  • Views for single item, page or document.
  • Recommendation displayed for single item page or document.
  • Clicks upon the page item or document after recommendation.

Apart from these usage events customized events can also be added.

How to use Usage Analytics?

You can use the data that is generated by usage events in the following ways:

  1. You can display recommendations and popular items on site. These recommendations guide users for tapping on to other content that may be relevant for them. These recommendations can be added by displaying recommended items or Popular Items Web parts on the page.
  1. Then Content Search WebPart (CSWP) is used and search results are sorted by the number of counts of a usage event.
  2. Most Popular Items usage report applies to all items in a library, and lists the most popular items for each usage event. This report can be used very effectively.

View the usage event data in the Popularity Trends report. This report applies to a Site Collection, a Site or an individual item in a library or list. The report shows the daily and monthly counts for each usage event — for example, the total views of a page on a specific day.

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