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OPINION: Honesty matters, know your stats

OPINION: Honesty matters, know your stats

By Michael Moore and Braden Walker
TXAD Internet Services

The Internet represents one of the most popular forms of marketing in today’s world. With that comes a whole slew of knowledge and terms that a lot of people haven’t heard or don’t know what they mean. When it comes to Internet marketing, the technical terms can often be too much to keep up with.

For example, like most folks, you can’t be blamed for confusing what website ‘hits’ are and what they actually mean. I’ll admit, when I first heard that term in relation to a website, I assumed it meant a visitor ‘hitting’ on your website – kind of like hitting on 10 on the blackjack table.

But, it actually means something completely different. According to OpenTracker.Net a website ‘hit’ is: “Each file sent to a browser by a web server is an individual hit.”

This can include image files, the code behind the page and much more. It goes on to explain, “A page view can contain hundreds of hits, so ‘hits’ is NOT reliable to measure web traffic.”

To break it down even more, if I go to a website with a bunch of pictures and files on the home page, this could account for hundreds of hits. That information, while useful to the website’s webmaster, isn’t at all helpful to an advertiser looking for relevant information on whether or not to spend money advertising on that site or evaluating its general marketing strength.

Sadly, there are companies out there that will tout website ‘hits’ as a reliable indicator of website strength when nothing could be further from the truth. “Visitors” and “page views” are the simple forms to measure how effectively a website is followed.

Other metrics such as time on the site, conversion rate, bounce rate, etc., are also incredibly important.

Any website that is trying to sell placement or some sort of service that relies on website traffic should be able to show you legitimate unbiased analytics that are simple to read and explain. An example of the best stats is shown above.

The reason we know this is because Google has provided that service to every website owner for free. It’s called Google Analytics and the webmaster should be able to effectively review these stats with you.

You can go deep into analytics with Google, but they present seven very basic stats that show how strong a website is and how many people are interacting with it. If you want to know where to spend your advertising dollars and if a website is strong, ask for their site’s audience overview from their Google Analytics report. If they can’t provide that, then something is amiss.

So next time a company touts hundreds of thousands or millions of website hits — and ONLY website hits — be very cautious. At best they are confusing website hits with relevant website statistics that matter and, at worse, they’re purposely being deceitful.

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About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is the editor and founder of RV Daily Report. A native of Madison, Wis., he moved to Phoenix in 2009 to escape the endless winters and wicked humidity of the six-week "summer" season. He's a DODO -- Dad of Daughter's Only -- who would crawl across the desert on his hands and knees for an In-N-Out Double Double. He has visited every state except Hawaii and is anxiously waiting for some RV company to host a conference in the Aloha State.

One comment

  1. Mark (www.CampgroundViews.com)

    Great post. It is one of the huge problems in this space. So many owners are not tech savvy and can easily be tricked by misleading numbers. One of the companies in our space actually uses this line to convince people that they are big “225,000 campsites available on our site”. Now that is some serious math!

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