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WTF is wrong with Google Analytics and blogs?

I had always suspected there was something (very) wrong with the Google Analytics stats on this blog, with a ridiculously low amount of visits not even close to the display count by Adsense. But I never really cared to investigate this, because although I put some stat tracking code around since it’s kind of an habit, I have to admit I don’t really use the results…

I’ve had the project to remove Google stuff around there for a while, but never really did a lot about this as I’d like to at least reach Adsense payout first. But recently I had another look at Piwik and thought wow, this turned into something really nice, I should try it and eventually use it to replace Google Analytics already. This was also the occasion to really start using my Piwik Mediawiki extension (can do a lot more things than just Piwik, actually) on Wiki4Games. I remembered that I suspected some issues on this very notepad so I added it there too. And finally, since my brand new gallery had no tracking code at all, I added Piwik there too, as the only tracking method.

Then the results came in… for PCR’s notepad (here), on August 26 (yesterday), Google Analytics recorded 49 unique visitors. Something usual, even though I’ve always thought this was unbelievably low, compared to for instance the adbard stats (look for PCR’s notepad, usually we’re near the bottom of page 1). I then went to Piwik for the same day: 191 visits. That’s right, Analytics got barely a quarter of those! I then checked the stats for Wiki4Games, no problem (a few more visits in Google Analytics, but the difference might be caused by not exactly similar times for day start and end). I browsed around the stats, wondering where the issue might come from, and I eventually stumbled upon GA’s browser stats: 60% Chrome, 30% Opera, some Safari and Konqueror. No Firefox, no MSIE…

Google Analytics browser report
Google Analytics fails to see Firefox and MSIE visitors

Haha, like we had no Fx geeks and no MSIE noobs around here 😛 Hypothesis confirmed by checking the corresponding Piwik stats:

Piwik browser report
Piwik, on the other hand, works properly

So, now I know that the Google Analytics issue on blogs (I’m having the issue here on WordPress, but I used to have it by the time I was using *cough* Blogspot, too!) is related to the visitor’s browser… But why is that so, I don’t have a clue… Now that my Piwik testing went great, I’ll be completely replacing Google Analytics anyway, so I won’t even try to find a fix. (sorry if you hoped for one) (you can just get Piwik though)

Posted in Google, web development.


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