Traffix

Aug 25 2010 Published by under Blogging

Since there are several traffic meters running here at DM on Scientopia, I was curious as to how the GoogleAnalytics, Sitemeter and WordPress in house statistics compare.

The WordPress views and the SiteMeter pageviews seem to match up quite nicely. As usual, SiteMeter visits run in good correlation with, but lower than, the Sitemeter pageviews. Surprisingly, Google Analytics visits are a bit out of register with other numbers.

Takehome message would appear to be that you can't readily compare GA numbers to the other ones, right?

11 responses so far

  • GMP says:

    Yeah, I have read that several places (that GA reports quite differently than most other services). Not sure why.

  • Jason G. Goldman says:

    And yet Google Analytics seems to be the gold standard in some places. Curious.

  • Surprisingly, Google Analytics visits are a bit out of register with other numbers.

    Dude, in what universe does "a bit" mean "three- to four-fold"? Maybe these Google numbers are fucken low because those are the numbers on which they base their payments to bloggers for Adsense ads?

  • A.Nonymous says:

    Do any of these include activity from RSS feeds, where you don't 'directly' visit the site? Just curious.

  • Christina Pikas says:

    Walt - of Walt at Random - compared a bunch of these as well as one running on the server. GA was always significantly lower - like a third or quarter. Part of the problem he found is that GA is intolerant of bad html and it also doesn't work if the viewer has cookies disabled. See his discussion here: http://walt.lishost.org/2010/02/google-analytics-v-urchin-5-a-metrics-quandary/ and here: http://walt.lishost.org/2010/02/a-metrics-update/

  • As with all statistical analyses, you should choose the numbers that best suit your hypothesis and remove the others.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Precisely, PiT, precisely.

    actually, so far the GA/Sitemeter difference is proportionally much, much larger than we ever experienced at the Sb blog. It will be fascinating to see how this difference tracks over time since we're only a month in here at Scientopia

  • Anonymous says:

    so then I guess I'm not the only one who primarily reads this blog when procrastinating at work (as opposed to free time on the weekends)?

  • Synchronium says:

    Think of each one as a slightly different experimental setup - perhaps Google Analytics uses krebs buffer with higher glucose content, or SiteMeter incubates its cells at room temp while WP stats incubates at 37*C...

    The point is, you couldn't compare absolute data from different experiments, but you can still make plenty of valid conclusions about each experiment on its own, and hopefully, the overall conclusions will support each other and together provide a more complete picture.

    Here's a bit more info on these "experimental" differences:

    Google Analytics shows visits and visitors, and pageviews and unique pageviews. But on their dashboard, they only GRAPH visits.

    All these terms are defined here: http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=57164. I'll post 'em below:

    Visits vs. Visitors
    Analytics measures both visits and visitors in your account. Visits represent the number of individual sessions initiated by all the visitors to your site. If a user is inactive on your site for 30 minutes or more, any future activity will be attributed to a new session. Users that leave your site and return within 30 minutes will be counted as part of the original session.
    The initial session by a user during any given date range is considered to be an additional visit and an additional visitor. Any future sessions from the same user during the selected time period are counted as additional visits, but not as additional visitors.

    Pageviews vs. Unique Pageviews
    A pageview is defined as a view of a page on your site that is being tracked by the Analytics tracking code. If a visitor hits reload after reaching the page, this will be counted as an additional pageview. If a user navigates to a different page and then returns to the original page, a second pageview will be recorded as well.
    A unique pageview, as seen in the Top Content report, aggregates pageviews that are generated by the same user during the same session. A unique pageview represents the number of sessions during which that page was viewed one or more times.

    WordPress Stats tracks and graphs pageviews ONLY (according to the plug-in page). However they don't define pageviews. So you can only assume they are similiarly tracked like Google Analytics.

    For example. Yesterday (October 30), WordPress Stats says my site received 103 views. Google Analytics says my site received 99 pageviews. CLOSE ENOUGH! Plus this discrepancy could be caused by the fact that WordPress displays your stats by Greenwich Mean Time, whereas Google uses your specified timezone.

    So when you're using Analytics you should make sure to look at the pageview stats, not the graph which shows visits, if you're comparing to WordPress.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    aaaha! Got it. My mistake.

    I was indeed pulling GA's numbers from the graph so I guess that is visits, not pageviews. That explains the difference. When I made the comment about the Sb stats, GA vs SiteMeter I was talking about monthly pageview numbers, not pulling from the graph.

  • Synchronium says:

    Some other things that might affect results:

    Javascript based analytics packages will record 10-15% less than packages based on server logs, and I'd expect Google Analytics to record slightly more than Site Meter, as the code for that is in the pages head section, while Site Meter's is towards the end of the page, so GA will record visitors who leave before the page has finished loading, whereas SM won't.

    Gotta love "internet science"...

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