Head of Web Product Management at Penguin Group (UK)
22 November 2005 12:17pm
Has anyone made a switch from a server log approach to a page tagging approach for web measurement?
For many reasons our server log data had never been processed to meet ABCe requirements (we don't sell advertising space for a start!) and undertandably the page tagging approach is showing a significant difference in unique visitors and visits.
I'm having trouble getting buy in on the new figures so any 'me too' stories (anonymous or otherwise) would be gratefully received,
Technical Director at Box UK
22 November 2005 13:40pm
Is there a particular segment that is missing in one data set (browser, etc), or is it a general difference in stats across the board?
Sorry I can' t be more help at this stage,
22 November 2005 13:51pm
Thanks for your quick reply. We're seeing a significant drop in unique visitors, visits and page views across the board. It seems to big a drop to be apportioned to search engine's only but wondered if anyone had a similar experience.
Multi Media Developer at SportNetwork.net
24 November 2005 09:39am
Also as we have advertising on every page our advert server also says we do 8 million.
How did you count your unique users before? As using just I.P. addresses will give you very strange results, as most AOL users will have the same i.p. address but a BT Broadband user might have 10 different i.p. addresses in a week.
We have a difference in unique user numbers between our advert server and urchin, we put this down to our users not accepting 3rd party cookies as I can't fathom it out anyother way.
CEO at Econsultancy
25 November 2005 13:17pm
I've never met anyone whose traffic/stats have gone up as a result of moving from log file analysis to page tags. And that's always been because the log file analysis stats have been overstating traffic - unfortunately it is almost always the lower number which is more accurate!
As John says the 2 most common reason for overstatement of traffic for log file analysis are:
2. The same user is being counted as multiple users. This is where a 'user' is uniquely identified by IP address. If that IP address keeps changing (as it does for most consumers using ISPs) then that same person will be counted as a different user each time.
The above is somewhat of a simplification and can, to a large degree, be avoided even with log file analysis. For example, you can try and filter out non-human activity from your stats; you can also use a cookie instead of an IP address to identify unique users.
For an excellent overview of the pros and cons of the various approaches you should read Dr Brian Clifton's "Web Traffic Data Sources" paper - something we contributed to.
VP Operations & Marketing at Celebrus Limited
25 November 2005 17:34pm
Ashley, your right increases are unusual, BUT there are reasons why it can happen.
If (for example) your content is cached then the cache can deliver a page without your web server ever noticing.... its another reason why you can't trust your logs...
25 November 2005 17:38pm
Decreases can also occur with page tags if they are the kind which need to be put into every page / template and you omit to put them into all the relevant places, of course...!
25 November 2005 17:43pm
Thanks for the responses (and to everyone else to). We were expecting the numbers to drop we just weren't expecting them to drop that much!
I am seeking an acknowledgement from others that the numbers are in fact very different (which I think you've all given me). Hopefully I can now persuade the site owners that although this is a bitter pill, it's a necessary pill. They might need a good stiff scotch to wash it down with though ;-)
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