SharePoint 2013 completely revamped the previously Web Analytics Platform provided in SharePoint 2010. The new engine works smarter and is aimed to:

  1. Improve search relevance – analyzing individual actions by the end users and click through rates of sessions etc.
  2. Improve user adoption – using the familiar items to guide users to other parts that may be relevant to them based on how other users have previously interacted with the site.
  3. Increase efficiency – tracking and analyzing the number of views and generate reports via Excel.
  4. Increase flexibility – becoming the platform providers that allow third parties integration.

The new Analytics Architecture consists of three main parts:

  1. Analytics Processing Component;
  2. Analytics Reporting Database;
  3. Link Database.

The Analytics Processing Component is divided into two main types of components: Usage Analytics and Search Analytics. The first identifies the user behaviours and the latter analyzes the search performance. This article will explore the reports provided by Analytics Processing Component. For further information about the other parts, check out our future posts and the recommend materials at the end of the page.

Usage Analytics

Usage Analytics identifies and analyzes usage trends, actions, and events on the SharePoint site. Working together with Search Analytics component, it allows SharePoint to add information to the search index and automatically improves search relevance over time. Also, ‘Usage Reports’ are generated in Excel files, providing a valued resource for administrators determining the next steps to improve the search system.

An Example of Usage Report on Popularity Trends - SharePoint 2013.

An Example of Usage Report on Popularity Trends – SharePoint 2013.

There are two categories of reports produced by Usage Analytics:

Popularity Trends

Popularity Trends shows daily and monthly counts of the total views of a page representing by line charts, split by Hits and Unique Users. It is useful in identifying usage trends and times of high and low activity. Administrators can access this data for the site collection, site or even an individual item in a library or list.

Most Popular Items

Most Popular Items captures the statistics of the most viewed items in both SharePoint lists and libraries. To explore users’ interaction with the site, this feature gives administrators the option to choose three different types of search results in a report:

  1. Most views – the number of views for a single item, page or document.
  2. Most views by unique users – the number of times a single item, page or document was displayed as a recommendation.
  3. Most recommendation clicks – the number of times a single item, page or document was clicked when it was displayed as a recommendation.

These reports present different views in historical data and show how visitors have interacted with the content on a SharePoint website.

An example of rankings of the most page viewed in a list.

An example of rankings of the most page viewed in a list.

Search Analytics

Search analytics is the second type of analyses that runs in the Analytics Processing Component. It is a set of powerful reports that extract in-depth analysis of how content as it is being crawled and processed in the search index. There are eight search reports in total to help administrators design a better approach to search experience and identifying the most common user behaviours.

The reports are automatically updated once every 24 hours when the Usage Analytics job run, however, they can also be run on an ad-hoc basis.

Types of search reports provided in search analytics.

Types of search reports provided in search analytics.


In a nutshell, it is all about understanding the users. Being able to understand what content your users want and need and have this information surfaced seamlessly through the optimization of search analytics is just what the new Analytics engine in SharePoint has to offer.

Need some help?

If you want to learn more about these new features or how V51 Consulting can help you to deliver on your strategic objectives, feel free to contact us.

Recommended Materials

Overview of analytics processing in SharePoint Server 2013 (mdsn)
View and configure usage analytics reports in SharePoint Server 2013 (SharePoint IT Pro Blog)
Overview of SharePoint 2013 Analytics Features and Implementation (video)