Capturing evolving visit behavior in clickstream data



Many online sites, both retailers and content providers, routinely monitor visitor traffic as a useful measure of their overall success. However, simple summaries such as the total number of visits per month provide little insight about individual-level site-visit patterns, especially in a changing environment such as the Internet. This article develops an individual-level model for evolving visiting behavior based on Internet clickstream data. We capture cross-sectional variation in site-visit behavior as well as changes over time as visitors gain experience with the site. In addition, we examine the relationship between visiting frequency and purchasing propensity at an e-commerce site. We find evidence supporting the notion that people who visit a retail site more frequently have a greater propensity to buy. We also show that changes (i.e., evolution) in an individual's visit frequency over time provides further information regarding which customer segments are likely to have higher purchasing conversion rates.