Comparing web traffic stats: google analytics, google urchin, and webtrends

The best way to take web analytics data is with a healthy dose of salt. While analytics software packages have improved over the years, they are still best seen as providing an indicator of patterns over time, rather than representing accurate absolute numbers.

As I currently have access to traffic stats for the same website from three different analytics solutions, I thought I would share them.

Table: Analytics data
Visits by month
Analytics package June July August September
Webtrends 31,581 28,333 29,582 29,374
Google Analytics 5,821 5,539 4,525 6,683
Google Urchin 27,920 25,082 25,022 23,839

As you can see, Web Trends and Google Urchin are roughly in line (not surprising, considering they are both work via logfile analysis), while Google Analytics is about five times lower than the others.

Another interesting comparison was on file downloads, as recorded by Urchin and Web Trends. With my limited sample, I found that Google Urchin undershot Web Trends in reported PDF download numbers by a factor of anywhere between 2 and 10. That is to say, Web Trends might report 28,000 downloads, and Urchin would report 2,500. Or Web Trends would say 5,000 and Urchin lists 2,300.

Apparently random, and confusing. I haven’t tried any of the javascript hacks that get Google Analytics to track file downloads.

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