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Log Analyzer Types and Accuracy

     There are 2 types of log analytic tools, the software version and the hosted version. Many internet marketing gurus insist on using the hosted version to get perfectly accurate stats. But are they more accurate?

The Difference

     The difference between these 2 methods is how to identify individual PCs (or visitors). The software version analyzer uses IP addresses to identify individual visitors. The hosted version analyzer writes a cookie on every visitor's PC and uses it to identify visitors.

Accuracy

     Because new IP addresses are assigned every time modems are turned on, many internet marketing gurus think cookie-based analysts are more accurate. But increasing numbers of always-on broadband users make IP address-based analysts more accurate. Furthermore, just writing cookies won't give you accurate results anymore since today's security software blocks cookies by default, or people have access to more than one PC, or family members share one PC, and so on. Identifying individual users has become a real headache for researchers. (You may use this story to get some discount if you are outsourcing analytic work.)

     Fortunately, although you don't get 100% accurate stats, both methods are accurate enough to evaluate the performance of your marketing campaigns. You can still reliably determine which campaign made a profit. Forget about getting accurate results; focus on interpreting the results.

Risk

     However, using a cookie-based analyst has one big drawback. The code you must add on every page of your site may slow down your page's loading speed. Sometimes it takes an extra 6 seconds to load a page. Only the entry page would be affected, but the loading time of the entry page is the most important one. As broadband internet connection becomes more common, visitors get less patient. An extra few seconds of loading time could turn visitors away.

© April, 2005