Analytics Monday: Week of 11/7/11

This week was a very strange week indeed. It started off normally and I received generic traffic from people following my notebook. Then I created Google+ and Facebook pages to promote my notebook through other media. Then I blogged about the motivations for doing so and the failures of each. Then for some reason I got a ton of traffic, and none of it makes sense. To make matters worse, Google Analytics and WordPress Stats don’t correlate at all during these record breaking numbers, and my social media tracking tools don’t work either at all or because twitter doesn’t work. Let’s talk about this:

  • I published the article about Google+ and Facebook Pages on Thursday. Then on Friday I had a huge spike in numbers. The traffic on this day doesn’t demonstrate anything relevant to that topic, but yet I still had the most page views ever in the short history of this notebook. This day also marks the end of the correlation between the two analytics services. WP says 85 views and GA says 81. The most viewed page was the main page, with the Macrophotography post coming in second.
  • Apparently on Friday there was a lot of browsing. As GA reports 8 pages per visit meaning people surfed the site. Great!
  • Saturday was real weird because WP says there was almost no traffic, meanwhile GA says there was a lot. Meanwhile Sunday got a ton of traffic on WP but about half as much on GA. I’m like 99% sure this discrepancy is due to a time error in WP. I’ve noticed that some posts will post the next day if I publish around 5pm (not sure what the exact time is). And according to GA the first big spike in traffic on Saturday was at 7pm MT. This would be after WP switches dates. Which would explain the large number of visitors on Sunday for WP and the split amount on Sat and Sun for GA.
  • A new referred has joined the crowd, Networked Blogs. I had to sign up for that so I could import my notebook posts into the new IheartAnthony’s Research Facebook Page. They of course redirect you through their site to my site, which I don’t think I’m too keen on right now, but it works so I won’t complain… yet.

So now that I figured out the discrepancy between the WP and GA stats for the weekend (time difference issues) the numbers between the two continue to correlate well, not perfectly, but well. That is a positive.

Unfortunately all this new traffic has not resulted in any positive measurable effects outside of web traffic stats. I’ve received a few comments from outside the lab (thanks Bill Hooker!). For me, the purpose of open notebook science isn’t just about data transparency and archiving, but it is also about engaging the community. And until I’ve got some success stories to share, measuring analytics won’t convince anyone that open notebooks are going to be the future of science.

I need a community project…

  • http://www.iheartanthony.com Anthony Salvagno

    I’m glad I added the chart. Makes the data a little easier to compare.