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Often if you present too much stuff to normal audience (non geeky tech guys) they might go in confusion.

If you had to present a simple minimalistic website's monthly statistics to someone, with one and only one graph.

Would you show them a graph of total visits per month, or a graph with total unique visits per month? And why one vs the other?

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So... what was your solution? :) – Chris Adragna Dec 21 '10 at 22:08
@Chris Adragna: the truth?! :) I'm showing them Visits! The reason?! Cause if I show to final user Unique Visitors they might complain they are too few. :) I have a customer that complained to me because his friend told him his website had 4K pages visited per month and my customer site had only 350 Visits per month. It was already a nightmare try to explain him that Visits are NOT visted pages and that 350 Visits in hist stats corresponded to more than 4K Pages visited as shown in the stats. :) – Marco Demaio Jan 30 '11 at 16:15
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I would show a graph with the business metrics they are trying to improve, if they are trying to get more visitors to the site then unique visitors would be best if they are trying to get more of their visitors to return to the site then show a graph that compares unique visitors to totals visits (IE so they can see visits per visitor are increasing) if they are looking to increase ad views then pageviews might be the only metric necessary. If they are looking at revenue or some other money related metric for success then visits or uniques would only be useful if you can show how they convert.

Your absolutely right that when you show too many metrics it gets confusing, but the best metric to show is the one that relates to how you measure success.

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For most sites, I think that unique visitors is more important than visits.

Like Joshak said, this could differ based on the business goals. However, I think that it is more typical to be curious about the size of an audience, such as:

  • How many people watched a TV show?
  • How many clients do you serve?
  • How many prospects inquired about our products?

Also, another reason to suggest visitors is because it does tell a (fairly) complete story, e.g. "200 different people visited your site last month." In contrast, saying that there were "500 different visits" seems to not tell as complete a story, opening the door to more questions (and that might be good for you).

As far as the number of visits goes, that can be affected by other factors. For example, a product that has a long sales cycle could result in the same prospective buyer to make many visits to a site to view/review the product(s). Also, a product or service that is not easily understood (or not well communicated) may also result in more visits per prospect or per closed sale.

Agreed, it's not absolutely clear for all cases, but you asked for a recommendation and seem to want to keep it simple. For that reason, I suggest visitors.

Lastly, for what it's worth:

  • Googling "web site visitors" shows 17MM results
  • Googling "web site visits" shows 7MM results

Both queries contained quotes around the entire query phrase. This method has been proven to expose some spurious results, but mostly when the comparisons are supersets and subsets of one another.

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