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Differences In Visitor Totals - Event Date: 18 Sep 2006 - 18 Sep 2006

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Stephen View Drop Down
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Joined: 21 Oct 2005
Location: Stoke on Trent
Posts: 1415
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    Posted: 18 Sep 2006 at 8:31pm
This is a common question:
"Why do the visit totals shown by WhosOn differ from my existing analytics app?"

There are a number of reasons for this:

1. Spiders Are Not Recorded When Using Page Tagging
If you are using page tagging to track visitors (where you embed some javascript into your page) then spiders may not be tracked. Spiders (a 'spider' is a search engine automated program that indexes your site) and other automated 'bots' do not execute code or download images, so therefore do not get tracked. Spiders can make up a big percentage of web traffic on most sites.

2. DNS Grouping
WhosOn has a feature called 'DNS Grouping'. If multiple visitors arrive at your site from similar DNS names within a short period (5 mins) then WhosOn groups these together as one visit.. since in reality these visits will be from the same physical person. Other analytics apps may not have this feature and therefore would show more visitors.

For example, suppose the following DNS names hit your site within 5 minutes:

"proxy192.aol.com"
"proxy102.aol.com"
"proxy342.aol.com"

WhosOn will group these together as a SINGLE visit - shown as [*.aol.com]. This is because its an AOL user and AOL changes users IP addresses rapidly. Even though its 3 different IP addresses it will (most likely) be only one person. The DNS grouping feature improves over time, so the longer you have been using WhosOn the more accurate it becomes.

3. Length Of A 'Visit'
WhosOn assumes that a visit has ended either when the visitor leaves your site (if using the embedded javascript) or 10 minutes after a visitor last requested a page. If the same visit returns to your site 11 minutes later, this will be classed as a new visit. Any analytics application that counts 'visits' as opposed to just 'hits' will also have some sort of timeout value. If another program used 5 minutes as its timeout or some other method of ending a visitor session then you would see different results.
 
4. Code Not Embedded On All Pages
If you have not placed the WhosOn Tracking Code on all your pages then visits to these pages will not be recorded and will therefore not show in the visit totals.

Steve


Edited by Stephen - 23 Mar 2009 at 10:01am
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