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Why Are Blogger And Analytics Stats So Different?

Blogger LogoSo, you’ve been blogging for a while on Google’s Blogger site and have become sophisticated enough to include the Google Analytics code required to gain a more enterprise-level look at your blog statistics. But, as your blog is being viewed, you notice that the stats that Blogger offers are distinctly different from what you see in Analytics. What gives?

Summary: I take a look at the common different statistics in Blogger and Google Analytics and offer some ways to improve the sometimes wildly different  display of statistics.

The Problem
First, let me show you an example of this discrepancy. In the graphic below, I have listed a recent post on Windows 8. In the Google Analytics example, PageViews are listed as 111 and unique PageViews are listed as 105. However, in Blogger, the exact same post is listed as having a “View Count” of 147.

Even worse, if I drill down in Blogger’s stats, I see another reference to the above post and a PageView count of 145.

All of these different numbers are quite troubling. Since a user can’t stop the gathering of stats by Blogger,  this information is constantly a reminder of how one or both of these sources of information are incorrect. So, what’s going on?

The story from Google
Some information can be gathered from the blog that announced the addition of stats. Based on the updates they’ve undertaken, it seems clear that the PageViews can be skewed by your own viewing of the page (while you’re writing) as well as bots that crawl pages automatically. It seems very likely that Blogger is not capable of catching all the different kinds of robots out there, hence the major discrepancy in PageViews. Blogger also attaches a disclaimer “Note that the pageview data in Blogger Stats and in Google Analytics may not be identical, due to different collection mechanisms used.”

To make the counting in Blogger more accurate, I would suggest you exclude your own opening of the site by going to Stats -> Overview in your Blogger Dashboard and clicking on the link that says  “Don’t track my pageviews”. This adds a cookie to your computer that tells Blogger not to count you. You’ll want to do that from every computer  (and browser) you use to write with.

What about the Preview?
On average, I’m going to preview an article I write three or more times. This preview counts, right? Well, not exactly. When I look at the code of the preview (“View Source” in your browser), you’ll find all of the code required for counting in Analytics and presumably in Blogger too.

Here’s where things are different though. Blogger is likely counting the preview operation as a pageview because of the title of the post. Analytics, however is smart enough to know that the preview is not the actual post. If you take a look at the content drill-down in Analytics, you’ll see that the posts you preview are counting completely separate from your published posts:

Which should I trust?
In this case, you are going to trust Google Analytics statistics. It can’t be understated that the kinds of statistics you get in Blogger are as simplistic as possible. Blogger is really only tracking PageViews and likely by title which can really skew the total. In Analytics, there are more details and options to understand your site’s performance. Another reason to trust Analytics? Professionals use it to track all kinds of sites, not just blogs.

What can I do now to make the statistics more accurate?
Here’s a few things you can do if you still want to use Blogger’s stats in addition to having an Analytics account.
#1. Exclude yourself – Make sure you exclude your use of the blog by going to Stats -> Overview in your Blogger Dashboard and clicking on the link that says “Don’t track my pageviews”.
#2. Make sure Analytics code is installed – For every page (or a few of them to test), open the page and right-click on any white space area. In that menu, chose “view source” or “page source” or whatever is equivalent for your browser. In the source, search for “_setAccount” and check that account number with your Analytics setup. Make sure all pages, including the root or home are being tracked.
#3. Let it go – Ultimately Blogger’s stats are best for sites with low hit counts that wouldn’t care to use Analytics. You’re site isn’t one of them, so don’t worry. If anything, Blogger’s stats will be inflated, so take it as an ego boost.

Ultimately knowledge is power. Keep looking for more details about this. Keep your eyes open for articles that discuss this in further detail too. Make sure you’re comfortable understanding what the data these technologies produce are going to do for you and how useful they can be. For example, if you have an AdSense account, you’ll find the numbers there are also not the same as Blogger or Analytics. Knowing that many people employ ad blockers an that often ads don’t load because of DNS changes will help you understand that the pure number of ad views will be different, and that’s ok. If do you learn something new, please do post it in the comments.