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Old 12th October 2007, 11:23 AM   #1
Trainer Bubble
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Default Google Analytics - Good Tracking?

I use Google Analytics to track visits to my website as well as lots of other useful information. However, I recently changed server and now can track visits etc. through my server hosts stat system 'SmarterStats Professional'.

I've always been quite content with the reporting that Google Analytics has done in the past. However, this new tool says that I am receiving on average 3 times as many visits as google is reporting. Is this surprising to anyone?

Obviously I am pleased with this development, but I have to say I'm surprised that I was missing the reporting of so many visits through google.

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Old 12th October 2007, 06:12 PM   #2
RayGoneFishing
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Originally Posted by Trainer Bubble View Post
I've always been quite content with the reporting that Google Analytics has done in the past. However, this new tool says that I am receiving on average 3 times as many visits as google is reporting. Is this surprising to anyone?
Three times as many seems a bit high but not extraordinarily so. On my websites I typically see Google Analytics underreporting traffic by about 30-40 percent compared with the host's statistics, sometimes by as much as 50 percent.

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Old 13th October 2007, 12:25 PM   #3
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Google Analytics uses JavaScript, so any visitor who doesn't have JS enabled won't show up. This includes search engine spiders and other "bots."

If your new stats program is a log-based application and isn't excluding spiders & bots, I wouldn't be surprised to see huge differences.

Log-based stats programs also have their issues. They can use cookies to try to track return visitors (which can cause overcounting for people who don't accept cookies -- and those same pesky spiders and bots, who can't accept cookies), or they can make assumptions about which visitors from the same IP address are new and which are returning (which can cause inaccuracies if you get a lot of visitors from, say, AOL or businesses or others who surf through proxies).

Bottom line, no analytics program is going to give you exactly the same numbers as any other. The important bit is not the precise numbers of visitors you get, but the trends and the paths they take through your site.

If you like your new stats program, use it. If you prefer Google Analytics' interface, use that. Either one is going to be better than not using an analytics package at all.

--Torka

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Old 15th October 2007, 05:22 PM   #4
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Default Stats

I'm always tempted to trust the higher figure!

Torka has it covered with the reasons why the stats vary so much. Google analytics provide statistics nirvana in that they are easy to use out of the box, but if you dig you can get some great information that can really inform your marketing efforts.

They can't measure anything you can't embed javascript into of course, so if you offer something like a free pdf download from a link, the only way to measure the success of this is to go to the server logs, or server stats if you are lucky.

I'm not familiar with Smarter Stats, but odds on they can't track the efficiency of any PPC ads, so I'd stick with Google.

Jeremy.

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Old 16th October 2007, 10:26 AM   #5
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I recently started using Visistat and was a little bummed that my numbers fell. The culprit was the bots exclusion. My former tracking s/w counted them.

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Old 17th October 2007, 07:23 AM   #6
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The culprit was the bots exclusion. My former tracking s/w counted them.
Yeah I switched programs and noticed that too!

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Old 17th October 2007, 10:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by torka View Post
Google Analytics uses JavaScript, so any visitor who doesn't have JS enabled won't show up. This includes search engine spiders and other "bots."

If your new stats program is a log-based application and isn't excluding spiders & bots, I wouldn't be surprised to see huge differences.

Log-based stats programs also have their issues. They can use cookies to try to track return visitors (which can cause overcounting for people who don't accept cookies -- and those same pesky spiders and bots, who can't accept cookies), or they can make assumptions about which visitors from the same IP address are new and which are returning (which can cause inaccuracies if you get a lot of visitors from, say, AOL or businesses or others who surf through proxies).

Bottom line, no analytics program is going to give you exactly the same numbers as any other. The important bit is not the precise numbers of visitors you get, but the trends and the paths they take through your site.

If you like your new stats program, use it. If you prefer Google Analytics' interface, use that. Either one is going to be better than not using an analytics package at all.

--Torka
This is a really helpful post. So many people have this issue but I have never seen a response so well worded. And I had never considered the fact some people dont accept cookies so they will show up as multiple visitors.

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Old 19th October 2007, 07:59 AM   #8
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Yeah, that really cut through the BS Torka. Nice 1.

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Old 21st October 2007, 11:41 PM   #9
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I use Google as well. But Generally I look for the volume of traffic from Stat counter and other tools. But in way it is very important to check the where the traffic are coming from and how much they are spending their time.

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Old 28th October 2007, 01:47 AM   #10
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I like the daily email PDF report Google send me (when you request it) so I can tell what is working and what is not.

Great integration of the PPC helps to.

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