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On my website I run Google Analytics and I also run Zopim. Zopim is providing very different figures than Google (more hits). Which one should I believe? Why would there be a difference?

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There are lots of reasons why the numbers differ between analytics tools. Here's a post from Clint Eagar of Omniture on why there are discrepancies, but the most important point is this:

Trend is king when analyzing web analytics data. More important than squabbling over a ten percent difference in how Google Analytics or Omniture reports a visitor you should instead be questioning: How many visits to do I have this week compared to last? How are different referring domains driving conversions over time?

Ultimately the differences between analytics vendors is just noise and you should never (did I say never?) attempt reconciliation.

For more information, here's the official Google stance on the topic:

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The most likely answer is that not all your pages are correctly setup to use Google Analytics, in which case the Zopim guide may help.

The most likely alternative is that Zopim is counting something as a page hit that Google Analytics doesn't accept - perhaps the difference between counting partial ajax refreshes or not?

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When in doubt, parse your server logs for stats.

Using a 3rd pary javascript embedded is prone to the following issues :

  1. Browser/plugin/user prevents loading of the script.
  2. Corrupted/broken script in transit.
  3. Script server goes down or is slow.

Your web server knows who has accessed what resource, when, where, and even where from. The server logs have insights into the data that 3rd party hosted trackers just can not gage. What the 3rd party tracker gets out of it, is to be able to freely monitor and try and assess / guess the users desires who happened to come on your page, based on the combined logged interests of what they clicked on or browsed to. For example, the content of your page a user browsed to, is in googles search database even if not public, and the data is used in conjunction with other sites data, and the vector selected (in google analytics backend) of what your site targets, the area, product offering, etc.

My suggestion, stop giving out more data than you are getting back. You have logs, parse them. Webalizer / AWstats / etc, are quite old, so would be nice to see some new development in this area for faster, more modern, and more thorough automatic log parsing.

Oh, and if you wish to track what keyword a user clicked on to come to your site, Google passes a bunch of data along in the redirect which you can capture if the link is clicked from google search results.

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