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Siliconbeat “beats” webanalytics industry

Posted by webmeasurement on August 10th, 2006 filed in Webanalytics general

Today Matt Marshall at Siliconbeat wrote in his blog that webanalytics is back to square one. He points out that Hitwise, Comscore and Alexa show different numbers. Here the graphs that he was writing about:

I. Comscore - Unique visitors and total pageviews

 II. Hitwise- All sites market share in Computer & Internet - Net communities and chat based on visits

III. Alexa - daily page views by million


What Matt forgot to say is that all three companies above collect their data in completely different ways. Here an approach to explain the different types of data collection of the three vendors: 

Alexa: Alexa data is collected via the Alexa browser toolbar, which is obviously more often installed on tech interested users, than on average Joe’s computer. This means that more tech relevant users on your site increase the chance that your Alexa rank increases. Also software programmes like Alexabooster can easily “boost” your rank . Alexa only gives you an idea or a trend, but will never be accurate.

Comscore: Comscore is based on 2 million participants, which allows them to capture a broad view of surfing and buying behavior. Problem here is pretty much the same. Accuracy won’t be 100% for tech related websites.

Hitwise: Hitwise collects logfile data directly from the ISP networks (network-centric) and does not have a user-centric or site centric approach. They also combine this rich ISP data with a worldwide opt-in panel to overlay demographic, lifestyle and transactional behavior across the thousands of websites that are reported on every day.


I totally agree with Matt, that the numbers and techniques are not technicially mature, but webanalytics is definitely not at square one. The webanalytics industry is relatively new and norms and regulations have to be (and will be) found.

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