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Automotive Professional Site Traffic Comparison

The chart and analysis shown below are site traffic comparisons by Compete, Inc. for the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community, DealerElite, DealerRefresh, DrivingSales and AutoDealerPeople.  The analysis portion is specific to the month of July 2011, but the chart shows monthly normalized visitor metrics for the five sites for the prior 12 month period.  Compete, Inc. is well known for conducting research and analysis of site traffic for Google and as a business partner on many Google research projects.

 

ADM members can click on the image below to load the full sized version in their browser for increased legibility.

The Compete, Inc. chart and analysis shown below is for the same five automotive industry professional networks, communities and blogs but measures Unique Visitor Traffic.  Although Unique Visitor Traffic is a performance metric normally considered as "bigger is better" in the case of professional communities, social and professional networks and blogs of this type, it is often considered a benefit to see the same visitors returning multiple times each month.  Dividing Total Visits (the larger number) by Unique Visitors would provide a snapshot as to the average number of times each site's visitors returned over the course of the month tracked (July 2011)... Once again, ADM Members can click on the image below to load the full sized version in their browser window for better legibility.

Source for Unique Visitor Analysis: http://siteanalytics.compete.com/automotivedigitalmarketing.com+dea...

 

Source for Total Visits Analysis: http://siteanalytics.compete.com/automotivedigitalmarketing.com+dea... 

 

Links to Answers for Frequently Asked Compete, Inc. Data Questions:

Tags: Automotive, Comparison, Professional, Site, Traffic

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Wow Ralph, thanks so much for this analysis! Truly amazing info...you rock dude!

Tom and Kathi,

 

Thank you for the positive comments... I personally believe that all 5 sites tracked offer tremendous value to the auto industry and each of them have their own personality, style and structural uniqueness.  What I believe that ADM has that is particularly unique is a sense of community and professional networking among auto industry people who are focused on marketing and sales.  In any event, this type of "movement" which I first witnessed while working at Courtesy Chevrolet and visiting DealerRefresh is good for our entire profession and delivers a ton of value in strategies, tactics and the very best processes used to make each of us more successful in our careers. 

Mike Myers, one of the founders of DealerElite.net called me on Sunday and we discussed the significance of the data shown in this forum post and sourced from Compete, Inc.  Mike was concerned because the Google Analytics data for DealerElite showed higher visit and traffic counts than Compete, Inc.  I corroborated his observation by confirming that the ADM Professional Community Google Analytics reports also show higher Unique Visitor and Total Visit numbers than what is shown here from Compete, Inc. 

 

One of the observations that we both agreed upon is that data from different tracking sources using unique methodologies is simply not comparable.  Comparing Google Analytics data with Compete, Inc. data is not a valid or useful comparison other than their relative differences as a matter of anecdotal observation.  On the other hand, comparing Google Analytics data using the same reports for one website to another is a valid comparison, just as comparing Compete, Inc. data collected in the same way for 5 websites is also a valid comparison... Here is what Compete, Inc. states about this issue:

 

Why doesn’t Compete’s estimate of site visitors match my local anal...

Compete"s site profiles estimate how many people visit your site from a diverse sample of people that is statistically normalized and projected to represent the size and demographic composition of the total active U.S. Internet population. Compete does not rely on cookies which are often used by log files and web metrics firms. Because of cookie deletion, return visits by the same person (with deleted cookies) wrongly appear to be a new unique visitor. In addition, if cookie implementation on the server side is done incorrectly with vague or inconsistent definitions, visitors will be overcounted. Compete measures only US activity. Traffic at sites with significant international visitors will be understated by Compete’s projections. In addition, local analytic solutions will often include the activity of spiders and bots that appear as traffic, but do not represent actual human activity. Compete"s services do not rely on log files or cookies and therefore do not count this activity as traffic.

I don't find Compete.com to be very accurate.  For our Canadian website it reports traffic 8-12 times smaller than it actually is and for our U.S websites it reports them at 3-5 times less than reported via Google Analytics.  I have seen this trend quite often and I almost always find Compete.com to be greatly inaccurate.

Jay - I understand where you are coming from, but in Compete's defense they do issue a "Low Sample Size" disclaimer when asked to track the visitor metrics for most dealership websites.  Also, when I have personally compared the most accurate metrics in the business, which are certainly NOT Google Analytics, it is the use of Omniture's SiteCatalyst on a fully implemented basis, I have found Google Analytics to consistently overstate visitor metrics.

 

Any time you implement a tracking system with the same tracking code installed on every page, you will get false positives that increase both the Unique Visitor counts and the Total Visits, for the very reasons stated by Compete, Inc. that i posted earlier.  I am not suggesting that either Compete, Google or Omniture are better than the other, but the simple reality is that COMPARABLE METRICS for different websites are only valid when the same methodology and tracking system is used on each site.

 

It's like comparing Kilometer Per Hour numbers to Miles Per Hour numbers when you try to compare one site's Google Analytics Traffic figures with the same site's Omniture SiteCatalyst or the numbers reported by Compete.  However, if you have two sites that each have Google Analytics, and one site shows more traffic as measured by Google Analytics than the other site, then you can be reasonably assured the the site with more traffic measured by the same metrics system truly had more traffic.  The same principle applies to the comparison of different sites whether using Compete, Inc. or Omniture.  If the same tracking system is used, then the numbers are comparable from an analytical perspective.

 

The fact that Google uses Compete, Inc. for their own research and analysis is a very strong validation of Compete. Inc. methodology, science and accuracy of their relative comparison numbers.

 

JD Rucker of TK Carsites did a similar type of analysis using another measuring and tracking system last year and his results were consistent with the Compete, Inc. numbers shown above.

Thanks for the quick reply Ralph.

 

I have compared my web hosting logs to Google Analytics (GA) and I agree it does seem that GA can show slightly inaccurate (higher) stats but they do seem much closer to GA stats then Compete.com stats.

 

The fact that Google uses Compete, Inc. for their own research and analysis is a very strong validation of Compete. Inc. methodology, science and accuracy of their relative comparison numbers.

 

Could you please link me to the source for this, I can't find it.

 

ps. While on the topic here is an interesting article http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/09/compete-on-compete/

 

thanks

Jay

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