Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius - Fixed Value

Internet 101 - Hits are not people - understanding basic web stats

by Rob Kothe on 2 May 2009
Magnus Woxen at the Onboard Media Station on Volvo Open 70 Ericsson. A facility such as this aboard the Volvo 70’s is transforming coverage of trans-oceanic racing events on the Internet. ©Rick Tomlinson Volvo Ocean Race© http://www.volvooceanrace.com
While the internet is now 20 years old, confusion still abounds about the basic recording of visits to web sites.

I just heard on the radio, a sports administrator talking about the great interest there was his sport online. It had almost a hundred thousand hits in the month and his radio interviewer asked why the new website had received such amazing interest, when the sport (which shall remain nameless) was so small in this country.

It was abundantly clear that both the sports administrator and the radio interviewer were confusing hits and people. It was not 100,000 visitors who had clicked onto the site but more likely around 5,000 – still a good number but not quite the same.

Here is a short explanation of the basic things you need to know, so you don’t get confused when you’re trying to get a handle on the relevance and status of a particular website.

HIT (internet): A request for a single website file from a website server.

The number of hits received by a website is frequently used to talk about it’s popularity, but this number is extremely misleading and dramatically over-estimates popularity. Many people confuse hits and visits. This is wrong - hits do NOT equal visits by people.

A single graphics rich web page typically consists of dozens of images and text files, each of which is counted as a hit as the page is downloaded.

A website like Sail-World receives between 20-25 million hits each month, that does not mean 25 million viewings of the site.

PAGE VIEW: Single website page download. This is a much more realistic and accurate assessment of the popularity of a site.

External auditing systems – place a tag at the bottom of a page so that when the page is downloaded, that is recorded. This provides an accurate measurement of pages read, because if online readers click away from a site, even after the start of a page download, then there is no page view recorded.

In contrast when a reader flicks through a magazine and bypasses articles (and all the ads surrounding them ) – no one knows.

Over the last three months Sail-World has averaged 1.6 million page views each month. Again that is not people, just pages.

UNIQUE VISITOR: The uniquely identified client generating requests on the website server (log analysis) or viewing pages (page tagging) within a defined time period (i.e. day, week or month). A Unique Visitor may make multiple visits, but counts only once within the timescale.

So when counting unique visitors in a day, a visitor on Boxing Day (December 26th) for example looking for the latest news on the Sydney to Hobart, might have visited Sail-World six times, but they are just recorded as one unique visitor on that day.

In the month of March 2009 Sail-world recorded 125, 841 unique visitors.

Many sailors go to the Sail-world site 2-3 times a day, every day of the month, but they are only recorded as one unique visitor.

Of course web site's like the Volvo Ocean Race www.volvooceanrace.org receive much larger world wide traffic and sites like www.CNN.com receive many many millions of visitors per month. These numbers are people not hits.

So when you are being told about the wonderful traffic a website receives, check to see if the claimant has been impressed by the hits, the page views or the unique visitors. In fact do they even know the difference?

Now YOU do!

Related Articles

Will NZ's most successful Olympic Sailing event cop the Selection axe?
New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain in September 2014. In two of those the RS:X Windsurfing event, New Zealand is unlikely to be represented in the Men's event, and in the Women's event, Natalia Kosinska would appear to be a borderline selection.
Posted today at 2:58 am
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
Kosinska to hit out against the Hyeres heavy metal in 2016 Olympic bid
Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at Hyeres later this week. 2016 Olympic aspirant, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at the third round of the Sailing World Cup Hyeres.
Posted on 26 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Rio2016 - Winther hits ball firmly into Olympic selectors' court
2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team finishing 11th in the 2016 Laser Radial World Championships in Mexico. Running a self-funded campaign which took in the Princesca Sofia Regatta in Palma, Spain followed by the World Championship on Banderas Bay, Mexico, Winther placed 11th overall and 10th country.
Posted on 21 Apr
Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Kosinska flies out in RS-X Olympic bid
Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres, in her final attempt to gain NZ Olympic selection. Kosinska has been training in her own program in New Zealand with the 2015 Women's World Champion, Chen Peina (CHN) in the RS:X Windsurfer, and Zhichao Zhang the Men's #4 at the 2015 Worlds in Oman
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther makes top three in final Qualifying race
2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds 2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds and has moved up the leaderboard to be in 12th place at the end of the shortened Qualifying Round. She placed third in the only race sailed today and continues to improve as the regatta progresses, and her confidence builds.
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther scores three single digit places - Day 3
New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table at the 2016 Laser radial Worlds being sailed in Mexico. She now lies in 15th place overall after three days of racing. She achieved single digit scores in the three races sailed today, despite hitting marks in two races and having to perform penalty turns.
Posted on 17 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Kiwis locked in Olympic selection fight - Day 2
The points gap has narrowed between the two elading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection The points gap has narrowed between the two lading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection in the Womens Singlehanded Laser Radial class.
Posted on 16 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther off to a handy start in light airs
Sara Winther has got away to a handy start to the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds, being sailed in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Sara Winther has got away to a handy start to the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds, being sailed in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. She is best placed of the three New Zealand competitors in the regatta, lying in 22nd overall after two races were sailing the Qualifying Round.
Posted on 15 Apr
Naiad/Oracle SupplierSailutions - SeldenSailGAC Pindar Sailing News