Web Analytics Imperfections and Differences

Web Analytics Imperfections and Differences

Clients often come to us and ask why the data that they’re getting from Google Analytics and other javascript based analytics information differ from data that there web hosting service provides. What we explain to them is that approximately 10-15% of web surfers have javascript disabled, resulting in approximately 10-15% less traffic than what your web hosting provider might say. What they also need to come to understand is that web analytics has two competing fields: log files, and javascript. Log files were used in the early days of the field, and relied upon log files that every web server has. The log files record every human or robot that comes to your website, which inflates numbers in reality. Javascript based web analytics, like what Google Analytics runs on doesn’t record robots or spiders as they’re sometimes called, resulting in lower traffic counts than log file examination would show.

Javascript based solutions rely upon servers that collect the information from sites that they’re monitoring, so if they go down, or slow some of your data can be lost. Log file examination has trouble showing paths that users take by a site, and distinguishing between real peopple, and robots is often difficult. There is no 100% accurate way of knowing everything about every possible user who comes to your website, but you can get a very detailed picture for the great majority. Keep in mind that web analytics is a tool that should be used to enhance your business, not dictate the precise way you should run it. If you have any further questions that we haven’t clearly addressed, or just need some advise feel free to email us at [email protected]

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