Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad

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!
Colligo Marine 660x82T Clewring - GenericNewport Boat Show 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Crew catch up - Meet Dhruv Boruah
After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations, some decide on a future in the marine industry, some take time out to assess their next move in life and others seek their next challenge.
Posted today at 5:49 am
SoftBank Team Japan achieve first foiling tack
SoftBank Team Japan announced today that they cracked foiling tack earlier this year while training with their AC45 boat SoftBank Team Japan announced today that they cracked the foiling tack earlier this year while training with their AC45 Sport test boat in Bermuda.
Posted on 26 Aug
The Clipper Race turns 20!
Throughout the race, tales of crew celebrating birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion Throughout the race, tales of Clipper Race crew celebrating their birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion, likely to remain a completely unique event in their lifetime.
Posted on 23 Aug
America's Cup - Architect of NZ Qualifier withdrawal steps down
The Commissioner for the America's Cup General Dr. Harvey Schiller has stepped down from the role The Commissioner for the America's Cup General Dr. Harvey Schiller has stepped down from the role and will finish at the end of the month. The move was confirmed today by America's Cup correspondent Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press.
Posted on 23 Aug
An Q&A with Steve and Heidi Benjamin about the NYYC’s 2016 Queen’s Cup
Sail-World caught up with Steve and Heidi Benjamin to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup. When it comes to U.S. Grand Prix sailing, it’s hard not to encounter the names of Steve and Heidi Benjamin. The two highly polished sailors have been successfully campaigning their series of yachts, named SPOOKIE, for years, starting first with a Carkeek 40 and progressing to their TP52. I caught up with Steve and Heidi to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup
Posted on 19 Aug
PredictWind - One stop shop
PredictWind have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software PredictWind the world leader in forecasting believe that more is better, and have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Fresher breezes expected inside and outside on Day 3
Stronger winds are expected for the third day of racing in the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Rio de Janeiro. Stronger winds are expected for the third day of racing in the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Rio de Janeiro. Two of the fleet scheduled to race outside on the Atlantic Ocean course off Copacabana Beach, while the 470 Men and Women will race inside on Guananara Bay.
Posted on 10 Aug
35 Copa del Rey Mapfre - Armin Strom Sailing Team in action
Armin Strom Sailing Team remain in contention for the top of the podium throughout the 35 Copa del Rey Mapfre this week. Heading the leaderboard from the start and quickly finding a ‘turbo’ foiling mode saw Armin Strom Sailing Team remain in contention for the top of the podium throughout the 35 Copa del Rey Mapfre this week.
Posted on 8 Aug
American Windsurfing Tour – Final day
Ferdinando Loffreda slashed his foot open in the campo last night so retires from the Pro bracket. Ferdinando Loffreda slashed his foot open in the campo last night so retires from the Pro bracket.
Posted on 7 Aug
35 Copa del Rey Mapfre - Final day images by Carlo Borlenghi
Carlo Borlenghi provided this gallery of images from the final day. Carlo Borlenghi provided this gallery of images from the final day.
Posted on 7 Aug