April Stats Update – Google Analytics, 103 Bees & StatCounter

2 May 2007

This is the one you have been waiting for… The heads-to-head comparison of Google Analytics with some competitors, 103 Bees and StatCounter. All three web analytic products, are free at the level I am using them. All of them require their own JavaScript code to be installed in the pages and are totally dependent on that code for measuring any results. If a browser either does not understand JavaScript, or has it disabled, it will not be accurately counted. For this purpose, I have separated these products from the true ‘log analysis’ products I covered yesterday, Urchin & Analog. However, based on the statistics at W3Schools on global browser usage, they find about 94% of users have JavaScript enabled. As their methodology is not described, and they have a disclaimer as to reliablity & local variation, this must be taken into account. Urchin, and other products, has the ability to combine the techniques of log analysis & JavaScript browser sensing. I wish I had access to that level of functionality in my Media Temple account. The Urchin Help pages at Google have a good description on the benefit of using a combined technique.

Well, enough stalling! Here’s the numbers!

Google Analytics

 VisitorsNew Visitors (%)VisitsPageviewsAvg PV/Visit
Month Total198 231463 
Average per Day6.680%7.715.42.04

103 Bees

103 Bees doesn’t give too much detail, but it tries to capture search-terms (as does Goolge Analytics and StatCounter) providing a means of adding them to a ‘To Do’ list. Sound familiar? Think HitTail. Everybody is trying to do it, but I still like HitTail better as it tries to do more analysis on the words by making specific suggestions. More on that in another post! I wish I hadn’t missed their promo deal that ended April 30th, I was planning on taking advantage of it, but got distracted working on the template. Oh well! Hope the rest of you weren’t sleeping!

 Visits
Total336
Average11.2

StatCounter

Finally, there is StatCounter. StatCounter gives a lot of detail, like Google Analytics, in a very easy to navigate interface. It’s free if you don’t mind losing the detailed level of analysis that a large log file gets you. Up to 100 log entries is free, and then you can purchase 1,000 or 10,000 or more log entries to allow you to get more detailed analysis. Summary data is always available. StatCounter also confirmed the 94% JavaScript enabled browser figure from above for my site. Though I would really like to know how they figure that when they only get a log entry when it’s enabled… that’s a good trick that I will have to ask them. If it could see the log entries from the web server’s point of view, then it could compare one method vs. the other.

 Page LoadsUniquesFirst TimeReturning
Total35524720344
Average11.88.26.81.5

Note, StatCounter’s totals are low since I didn’t start them until April 7. I’ll give a full update the end of May. At least we can compare the daily averages.

Analysis

While I would think I could make the following equivalences for terms used, the numbers still don’t line up!

  • Google Pageviews to StatCounter Page Loads (15.4 vs. 11.8 average)
  • Google Visitors to StatCounter Uniques, and possibly 103 Bee’s Visits (6.6 vs 8.2 vs 11.2)
  • Google New Visitor percent to StatCounter (First Time / Uniques)

However, comparing the numbers really doesn’t support a close correlation here! Only possibly for the new visitor percentage, Google’s 80% vs StatCounter’s 83%. Close. As this is a small amount of data, and there was missing data for the beginning of the month for StatCounter, I will withhold any deep opinion on accuracy just yet. However, the variation certainly makes one think…

I added FeedBurner Site Stats yesterday, and paid for an account with HitsLink (I had used there 30-day free analysis a few years ago, and still had an account setup.) I’ll see how they stack up against a continued comparison of the other contenders for May. As I am remembering, I do like HitsLink. Now, I’m interested in seeing who is more accurate. I will also compare the overall page views to the lo-based analysis in an upcoming summary.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: