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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - September 2010

Measuring Real People vs. Normal Analytics

As a publisher, one of the most important things that I need to know is how many people read my articles. That is the single most important metric, and it's vitally important that it's as accurate as possible.

It's the same for you. The number of real people using your site is a key measurement you need to have so you can make the right decisions.

The question is: how do you measure real people?

You might think you can simply use analytic packages like Google Analytics, but these days ad-blockers block it, skewing the numbers. And internal statistics tools that look at the raw data collected by the server is in an even worse shape because of all the bots, crawlers and news aggregators.

I have yet to find a single analytics tool that accurately measures real people.

The only solution? Get your hands dirty and go trough the raw data manually. Identify what is a real person, and what is not.

Find out how many people are actually reading your content, how many people who are blocking Google Analytics (or your ads), and how many bots that request content from your site (where the data is used for aggregators, readers, search engines, etc.)

I do this every 6 months or so, and I use the result to form a new 'baseline' for statistics in my publishing system.

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Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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