Owner at Head Higher
26 November 2008 17:01pm
I wonder if anyone can throw any light on some odd site traffic statistics in google analytics please?
My client, whose website I have put a link to from my personal site, shows a "number of referrals" figure coming from my personal site - that is more than the number of visitors that came to my site in the same period.
So to be clearer and specific with an example, emergeneticseurope.com had 12 referals from my Head Higher site which only had 9 visitors in total in the same period (3 days).
How do I know if any of the numbers I am seeing in the analytics results are valid?
CEO at Econsultancy
27 November 2008 09:19am
I guess you need to be clear about the difference between visits and visitors for starters. Of course you can have multiple visits (or sessions) from the same visitor (or unique user).
Is it possible that the "number of referrals" is measuring visits whereas you are measuring visitors? The same person might well have clicked through several times from your site to emergeneticseurope.com
Or are you filtering traffic in different ways? Could the referrals including non-human traffic that you are excluding from your own stats?
27 November 2008 15:56pm
thanks for the reply! Both reports refer to "visits" so I would guess they refer to the same variable; I have not set any filters - have a fairly basic set up and getting to know the analytics - which is how i spotted the strange numbers.
It is not business critical - not in this case - but it might be for sites dealing in bigger numbers who perhaps pay for referrals/traffic.
27 November 2008 17:26pm
Are you using the same analytics tool / set up in both cases - Google Analytics?
Separating one "visit" from another can be manipulated in various tools by changing the timeout on a session (usually set to 30 mins). If you changed the timeout setting to be only 10 mins on one site but 30mins on another then you could appear to get 3 times as many visits/sessions on the former.
Engagement Manager at Omniture
28 November 2008 22:59pm
It's possible to have one visit on site A that in turn leads to 10 referral visits to site B. Each referral to site B need only be >30mins since the last to create a new referred visit on site B each time, but so long as that user is returning to site A within the 30 minute timeout (or is browsing site A in a different window or tab, for example), then this single visit on site A will be maintained.
Not saying this is what is happening, but it's possible. :-)
01 December 2008 10:29am
thanks, I think you have hit the nail on the head. Having checked all the settings are the same (thanks Ashley) I have taken another look at the patterns - and they fluctuate, and so suggest varying user behaviour; your scenario maps on to that very well - a few people are either cross referencing the sites or doing as you suggest in the browser.
My faith in google restored I will invest more time in the analytics!
The fifth annual Online Measurement and Strategy Report, carried out in association with web analytics consultancy Lynchpin, contains a comprehensive analysis of issues affecting the web analytics industry and valuable insights into the use of analytics and business intelligence tools.
The Web Analytics Statistics documents are part of Econsultancy's Internet Statistics Compendium package, a comprehensive compilation of internet statistics and online market research with data, facts, charts and figures that are ideal for presentations, business cases or client pitches, RFPs and understanding the marketplace as a whole.
Free market research on digital marketing
Daily Pulse: award winning newsletter
It takes 30 seconds to register