Customers who move between versions of SmarterStats will notice differences in visitor data for their websites. In fact, these changes may even occur when installing minor upgrades of SmarterStats, not simply major upgrades. These differences can be increases or decreases, depending on the reports being viewed and parameters that are set, and this is by design.
The Internet is a dynamic environment. As such, things are changing all the time - from the way people use the Internet to how they navigate through websites, from the increase in mobile usage to changes in the types and amount of information passed by Web browsers (user agents, Do Not Track issues, etc.).
A simple example at to how things change relates to search engines. New search engine spiders and bots are released quite often, either by existing search engines or any new engines that begin searching the Web. To accommodate these changes and many others, SmarterTools has to consistently revise the algorithms used to interpret and report on the log data that your Web servers accumulate. Just as search engine changes can impact where a website appears in search results, the changes in the Internet that occur on a daily basis can impact your visitor traffic.
There are other reasons why people may see differences in their reports when comparing versions of SmarterStats:
- Search Engine spiders and bots may have been separated out from other visitor traffic numbers
- Simply downloading a file or getting an error page (e.g., 404 page) may no longer count as a visit
- Single hits or requests may no longer count as visits
- Unique visitors may be broken out by different browsers and devices and IP addresses
- New and returning visitors may be handled differently
There are many more reasons why the reports will be different as our developers are constantly reviewing current trends in Internet behavior to get a better feel for the ways in which people access the Web. This intelligence leads to changes in how SmarterStats breaks down the data contained in Web log files and then reports on that data.
As mentioned, these changes can cause report numbers to increase or decrease. If your business uses these numbers for reporting to end users, as a basis for pricing or even for funding, it is up to you to determine whether upgrading your SmarterStats version is best for your business.
Learn more about how SmarterStats can help you make sense of your website analytics.