Thursday, December 06, 2012

Stats Time Ranges, And Pageview Count Recalculations, Cause Confusion

Periodically, we see evidence of confusion about Stats and the pageview counts, as provided in the various displays and time ranges, expressed in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.
My pageview counts keep going down!
or
My counts go up during the day - but in the afternoon, they drop to zero!!
or
My counts keep going down! There's no end to the drop!!

All of these complaints - and more - involve blog owners, who don't understand the relationships between the displays and time ranges.

We've explored the results of the ongoing referer spam war, of normal viewer activity, and of the daily pageview count reset which is applied, simultaneously, to all blogs. Besides those 3 issues, there is some confusion about the relationships between the various time ranges.

There are 6 different displays - and opportunities for confusion.
  1. The Dashboard "Overview" page.
  2. The Posts "All time" per post pageviews count.
  3. The Stats "Overview" page.
  4. The Stats "Posts" page.
  5. The Stats "Traffic sources" page.
  6. The Stats "Audience" page.

The 4 Stats display pages each offer 5 different "Time range" displays.
  • Now (the last 2 hours).
  • Day (the last 24 hours).
  • Week (the last 7 days).
  • Month (the last 30 days).
  • All time (since May 2006, when Stats pageview counts were first extracted) - though possibly missing one year or another.

Some blog owners try to compare the Stats "Overview" histogram (in its 5 time ranges), with the "Overview" counts ("today", "yesterday", "last month", and "all time history"). Unfortunately, the graphs and numbers are recalculated (by Blogger) on various schedules.
  • Some are recalculated on a minute by minute basis.
  • Some are recalculated hourly.
  • Some are recalculated daily (but not necessarily at midnight, for everybody).

Confusion arises, when a blog owner refreshes a display, without understanding when the numbers behind the display may have been recalculated, relevant to reader activity.
  • When reader activity occurs, the graphs / numbers (when refreshed, following a recalculation) will indicate an increase.
  • When reader activity expires from relevance, the graphs / numbers (when refreshed, following a recalculation) will indicate a decrease.
  • When reader activity is removed because it was bogus, the graphs / numbers (when refreshed, following a recalculation) will indicate a decrease.

Note that Stats bases its figures on access to the URL - not to the blog - and recalculates each display when requested, as far back as 2006. If you just changed the URL of your blog, you may see pageview counts which reflect access to another blog.

The different time ranges may not balance, when a URL change is involved.

Like the inability to balance the various per post pageview counts, the task of balancing the various graphs and numbers may be beyond the ability of some blog owners. Each count or graph has to be considered on its own.

Understanding any two displays, in context with each other, simply may not be possible.

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