Why do some website traffic analysis programs report more hits, page views and visits than Google Analytics

According to Google, this is their information available on this page about more visits being reported by other metrics programs than analytics:

The following text in this one post is for me (the author) to search and find and reference, which may not be updated as often google does, go to the link above for the real deal.
Google Help › Analytics Help › Reports central › Troubleshooting reports › Why does Google Analytics report different values than some other web analytics solutions?
Why does Google Analytics report different values than some other web analytics solutions?

Different web analytics products may use a variety of methods to track visits to your website. Therefore, it is normal to see discrepancies between reports created by various products. However, we generally believe that the best way to think of metrics across different web analytics programs is think in terms of trends, as opposed to numbers by themselves.

One example is to compare related metrics, such as pageviews (eg. 15% of traffic went to page x). In addition, the comparison of data over time could be valuable – information such as “conversions increased by 20% over the past 3 months,” or “our site gained 10% more pageviews in the month of March.” In most cases, you’ll notice that different analytics solutions, though different in numbers, will generally depict the same trends.

While we’re not able to provide side-by-side comparisons of Google Analytics with other web tracking solutions, the following list points out some of the main reasons your actual numbers may differ:

* Terminology: The terminology used in one program may not mean the same thing or may not be measured the same way as in another program. Pageviews are generally similar between vendors; however, it’s much more difficult to define a visit or a visitor. In Analytics, if a user comes to your site twice within thirty minutes without closing their browser, they’ll register as one visit. Other web analytics solutions may treat this behavior as two visits, depending on their definitions.
* Tracking methods: There are two main methods of tracking activity: cookie-based and IP + User Agent.
o Cookie-based tracking relies on a browser setting the cookie. If cookies are disabled, cookie-based analytics programs (such as Google Analytics) will not count the visit. This would exclude, for example, hits from a robot or spider.
o IP + User Agent tracking typically uses log file analysis for its data. This may report higher numbers than reported by cookie-based tracking because of dynamically assigned IP addresses and spider and robot visits.
* 1st party vs. 3rd party cookies: Even among cookie-based tracking solutions, there’s a difference between 1st party and 3rd party cookies. Because 3rd party cookies are set by a source other than the website being visited, they’re often blocked by browsers and security software. Google Analytics uses 1st party cookies.
* 3rd party images: Some browsers give users the option to disable images that are requested from domains other than the current page. Disabling such images will prevent data from being sent to Google Analytics.
* Filters/settings: Many web analytics solutions provide data filters. Differences in the way that filters are applied, or creating different filtering altogether, can drastically affect the data in your reports
* Timezone differences: If your web analytics solutions group data using different timezones, your daily or hourly data will be affected.
* Visitor browser preferences: Visitors must have JavaScript, images, and cookies enabled in their browsers in order for Analytics to report their visit. Depending on their method of collecting data, other analytics solutions may still register these visitors.
* Caching: Google Analytics directly calls Google’s servers each time a page is visited, even if the page has been cached. Other analytics solutions may not record an additional visit if the page is pulled from a user’s or server’s cache.

Leave a comment