How to estimate monthly Unique Visitors?
May 27, 2006 5:02 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to estimate monthly unique visitors for a website when Google Analytics chokes on more than two weeks of data?

Google Analytics times out every time I try to run the report for Absolute Unique Visitors for a full month. But the monthly unique visitor count is a stat that my boss's are used to from our previous stats package.

So if I can get unique visitors over week-long or two-week-long periods within the month, and visitor counts for each day, can someone suggest a good way to estimate the month as a whole?
posted by teaperson to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Calculate it for every week, and then compute a four-week running average? That'll give you 52 estimates over the year of traffic in the previous month.
posted by metaculpa at 5:34 PM on May 27, 2006

Best answer: Might I suggest that Google Analytics isn't really a professional solution at this point? I'm not going to point you to other packages, b/c I'm sure you're aware of them. But at the very least you might want to contact Google about the problem. Now I realize all that isn't very helpful, but I had to say it.

Metaculpa, am not sure I understand what you're suggesting -- monthly uniques go down over the course of the month, generally, since each person is only counted once in a given month. So there's no good way to take a sample from the first week or 2 and extrapolate.

That said, extrapolation based on past traffic patterns is better than nothing. You might look at your old numbers, from when you had the stats package that provided monthly uniques, and compare your monthly unique number at the 2 week mark to that of the complete month. Once you've established a ratio, you can apply it to your 2 week monthly unique number to roughly estimate the monthly total. That of course breaks down if you have an event-driven website, with traffic spikes based on events or promotions.
posted by TonyRobots at 5:57 PM on May 27, 2006

Oh, and of course -- if you can get monthly unique numbers for each day (or week), you can add them all together to get it exactly.
posted by TonyRobots at 5:58 PM on May 27, 2006

AWStats. Requires you to have the ability to configure the logging from your web server. But, it is very flexible on what web server software you're using (apache, iis, etc). It also includes a cgi interface through the web, but, it's best to hide that sucker behind some authentication. There's been a few remotely exploitable bugs in it in the past. If you're using Apache, a simple .htaccess configuration takes care of it all.
posted by jeversol at 8:02 PM on May 27, 2006

Response by poster: >> Might I suggest that Google Analytics isn't really a professional solution at this point?

I have told my bosses that several times, but do they listen to me? Good idea on the two-week ratio.
posted by teaperson at 11:51 AM on May 30, 2006

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