Differences in analytics reporting are a common issue, not just within our client base, but across the net. Most notably, Google Analytics can often report numbers vastly different from tools offered by webhosts.
In many cases, the analytics themselves are implemented completely differently:
- Numbers can vary largely depending on how much automated traffic is received. GA identifies & removes much more “robot” or automated traffic than any other service, not unrelated to the fact that so many of the bots are theirs, and they are better equipped to deal with this type of traffic than anyone else.
To complicate the issue, the cause is not merely technical:
- There really are no consistent reporting standards: Definitions even of the word “unique” are currently being investigated by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). As the industry progresses, hopefully this will become less of an issue. For the time, analytics packages will provide definitions for each of their reported metrics. Try comparing definitions word by word and you may be able to pretty quickly discover where the difference exists.
These are only a few of the usual suspects to look at in examining differences. Ultimately, the best use of metrics is to evaluate long term trends, so pick one set of numbers and develop them consistently month after month. That should show your growth, which is the most enticing factor in any sales or advertising effort.