Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Dinghy Wetsuits

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!
The Water Shed - 4Collinson and CoMackay Boats

Related Articles

America's Cup - Talbot Wilson reports from the Practice Series
Bermudan based sailing journalist, Talbot Wilson looks at the first five day practice racing session just concluded Talbot Wilson looks at the first five day practice racing session just concluded in Bermuda. All five America’s Cup teams training in Bermuda have wrapped up the first of six “practice racing periods” allowed under the latest changes to the 2017 America’s Cup protocol. The protocol changes were approved March 16 by the defender, Oracle Team USA and signed by the four challengers in Bermuda.
Posted today at 12:52 am
Volvo Ocean Race - Team AkzoNobel leaves Persico
The Simeon Tienpont skippered Team AkzoNobel Volvo65 has left the building facility at Persico Marine in Bergamo The Simeon Tienpont skippered Team AkzoNobel Volvo65 has left the building facility at Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy to The Boatyard in Lisbon under the custodianship of GAC Pindar. Before she left the yard at Persico the team had a celebration to mark the end of the build phase.
Posted on 27 Mar
America's Cup - First five day round of practice racing concludes
The latest round of America’s Cup Class (ACC) practice racing ahead of the 35th America’s Cup has concluded The latest round of America’s Cup Class (ACC) practice racing ahead of the 35th America’s Cup concluded on a beautiful spring Sunday on the Great Sound. All five America’s Cup teams now based in Bermuda took part in a series of match races in varied conditions, racing each other on a course that closely mirrors that to be used in May and June 2017
Posted on 27 Mar
America's Cup - Oracle picks up some bow protection for docking
Bangin' the Corner team talk Jimmy and the boys on Oracle Team USA through the process of getting some bow protection The Bangin' the Corner team talk Jimmy and the boys on Oracle Team USA through the process of getting some bow protection for their new AC50, before they dock after a long day on the Great Sound, and don't dock like Ben did.
Posted on 26 Mar
Bureau Vallée 2 back in the water in Brittany
The former Banque Populaire VIII aboard which Armel Le Cléac’h won the last Vendée Globe was put back in the water The former Banque Populaire VIII aboard which Armel Le Cléac’h won the last Vendée Globe was put back in the water on Friday in Lorient (Brittany), with her new decoration in the colours of Bureau Vallée.
Posted on 25 Mar
America's Cup - Bermuda practice racing videos March 24, 2017
MyislandhomeBDA is videoing the Practice racing and training with the five teams in Bermuda MyislandhomeBDA is videoing the Practice racing and training with the five teams who are based in the venue for the 2017 America's Cup. Here's the set from March 24,2017
Posted on 25 Mar
America's Cup - Coutts hits back at critics over Protocol change
Russell Coutts, has responded to criticism over the recent changes to the 35th America's Cup Protocol Five times America's Cup winner and CEO of the America's Cup Events Authority, Russell Coutts, has responded to criticism over the recent changes to the 35th America's Cup Protocol, allowing testing and racing between Challengers and the Defender in Bermuda ahead of the start of the Qualifiers.
Posted on 24 Mar
America's Cup - Groupama Team France's AC50 sailing in Bermuda - Video
Groupama Team France has had her first sail in Bermuda with the AC50 looking impressive in the video shot by the team. Groupama Team France has had her first sail in Bermuda with the AC50 looking impressive in the video shot by the team.
Posted on 24 Mar
America's Cup - Images of Emirates Team NZ flypast Devonport
Image gallery shot as Emirates Team New Zealand returned in the late afternoon from another four hour race session Image gallery shot as Emirates Team New Zealand returned in the late afternoon from another four hour race training session on the Waitemata harbour. Our cameras were on Devonport Wharf to catch the sequence - and for the first time a wide angle lens had to be used.
Posted on 23 Mar
America's Cup – Get to know Iain Murray and the ACRM
He has enjoyed a long and illustrious career since he first started sailing at the age of nine in his native Sydney. Throughout its 166 year history the rivalries between owners, skippers, crews, yacht clubs, fans and nations have been some of the most intriguing facets of the competition for the world’s oldest sporting trophy.
Posted on 23 Mar