Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

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!
Zhik OceanGAC Pindar FreightHall Spars - Boom

Related Articles

America's Cup World Series - Ian Roman's images of Pompey
Ian Roman was in Portsmouth for the America's Cup World Series capturing the Royal visitors Top international photographer, Ian Roman was in Portsmouth for the America's Cup World Series and provided this second of two galleries of the racing across the three days of the regatta, taking in the Royal visitors.
Posted on 26 Jul
America’s Cup World Series – More final day images by Ingrid Abery
Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from final day Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from final day
Posted on 25 Jul
America’s Cup World Series – Final race day images by Ingrid Abery
Ingrid Abery provided this gallery of images from final day Ingrid Abery provided this gallery of images from final day
Posted on 25 Jul
LV America’s Cup World Series - Up and down for Groupama Team France
The new leader is none other than the local team lead by Sir Ben Ainslie, who was rallied along throughout the six races 2016 America’s Cup World Series - This weekend the overall ranking for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series has been turned on its head and with the Portsmouth act complete, the new leader is none other than the local team lead by Sir Ben Ainslie, who was rallied along throughout the six races by strong support from a home crowd.
Posted on 25 Jul
LV America's Cup World Series - Land Rover BAR take two from two
While Oracle Team USA did all but everything they could to take the win with a two, one, one scorecard today 2016 Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series - While Oracle Team USA did all but everything they could to take the win with a two, one, one scorecard today, it wasn't enough to topple the fast and furious tenacity of a Ben Ainslie led Land Rover BAR on the final day of racing at the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Portsmouth.
Posted on 25 Jul
2016 LV America’s Cup World Series - More images by Carlo Borlenghi
Carlo Borlenghi provided this gallery of images from America’s Cup World Series - Race Day 2 and Prize-giving ceremony. 2016 America’s Cup World Series - Carlo Borlenghi provided this gallery of images from 2016 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series - Race Day 2 and Prize-giving ceremony.
Posted on 25 Jul
2016 LV America’s Cup World Series - Day 2 images by Carlo Borlenghi
Carlo Borlenghi provided this gallery of images from America’s Cup World Series - Race Day 2 and Prize-giving ceremony 2016 America’s Cup World Series - Carlo Borlenghi provided this gallery of images from 2016 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series - Race Day 2 and Prize-giving ceremony.
Posted on 25 Jul
America's Cup - Southern Spars to build AC50 for Emirates Team NZ
Southern Spars has been appointed to build Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC50 wingsailed foiling catamaran One of the world's leading composite engineering companies, Southern Spars has been appointed to build Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC50 wingsailed foiling catamaran for the 35th America’s Cup campaign. The move marks a shift away from Cookson Boats who have been Team New Zealand's boatbuilder since 2000. No reasons have been given for the decision to change the builder.
Posted on 24 Jul
America's Cup - Emirates Team New Zealand foiled in Portsmouth
Super Sunday saw more breeze in Portsmouth today, giving all the teams the opportunity for fast racing up on their foils Super Sunday saw more breeze in Portsmouth today, giving all the teams the opportunity for fast racing up on their foils. For Emirates Team New Zealand the regatta finished as realistically expected when lining up to race against an exceptionally strong fleet with with a almost entirely rejigged crew due to Blair Tuke and Peter Burling’s absence in their build up to the Rio Olympics in the 49e
Posted on 24 Jul
LV America’s Cup World Series – Big Ben takes a big win in Portsmouth
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on hand to present the awards and it was a fitting end to an amazing weekend. It really was Super Sunday for Ben Ainslie and Land Rover BAR whose second place in the last of Sunday’s three races gave them the overall regatta win at the Portsmouth event.
Posted on 24 Jul