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Daily Unique visitors are different than Monthly Unique visitors

December 10th, 2008

Unique Visitors commonly a mis-understood topic in web stats/traffic discussion.

First off, unique visitors can be defined differently: by cookies, IP hosts, a combination of cookies and IP hosts, or by more stringent panel arrangements. Each option has strengths and weaknesses, but it is important to understand the method used when calculating a UV. For example: UV (cookies), UV (IPs), UV (panel), UV (advanced). For example at GoStats we use UV (advanced) since we look at both cookie and IP address data to make the best assumption on who is unique. When you are asking for or displaying stats, please keep in mind these differences.

Now, it becomes more complicated if you are looking for more than just daily traffic levels. (Most quotes are monthly or weekly). When you are giving monthly unique visitor values there is a difference between a unique visitor who visited on day 1 and that same person who visited on day 2; it becomes a daily unique visitor twice, but for the month is only considered one monthly unique visitor.  I’ll outline another example:

Monthly Unique and Daily Unique Visitors are different

For example a site with 100K monthly UV can have 100K daily unique visitors as long as each of those visitors visits the site every day and no new visitors are visiting. the other extreme is the bare minimum of 3,333 daily UV for a site with 100K monthly UV. This means that there are no repeat visitors.  All sites are in between these two extremes and the resulting ratio correlates with the rate of new visitors and the rate of return visitors.  More return visitors will naturally increase the daily UV, while depressing the monthly UV.  conversely mostly new traffic will have lower daily UV numbers and higher monthly UV values.  This ratio will give you a rough idea as to how sticky a site is or how viral a site is.  (of course you must verify those ideas with cross referenced stats such as time on site and pages per visitor)
Once you have your correct methodology, you can begin to properly declare your UV numbers:

for example:

-100 daily UV (advanced)

-3000 monthly UV (cookies)

-800 monthly UV (IP)
Remember to forget about web log data (it is useless due to web bots and web spam) – ensure that you are using tracker based data when you are making or asking for these numbers.

If you are asking for these numbers and people don’t understand what you mean, just point them to this resource.

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