Having a hard time describing the significant difference between page views and unique visitors to your boss or a friend? Then try this simple 1 minute anecdote about visits, unique visitors and metric goals.
There is a perfect viewpoint on a trail in the local park. For a year, a camera tracks visitors in the park and gets an astounding number of 100,000 people visit the viewpoint every year. However, that number is not accurate.
That camera did not know that every weekday morning, a group of six joggers stop to take a break there, and every weekend the same couple walk to the viewpoint. That means the camera counted the group of joggers 1,560 times, and the weekend couple 104 times. In fact, the number of unique visitors to the park viewpoint is probably closer to 70,000 when you take into account re-occurring visits.
The park might instead measure their success by the number of park visitor stickers purchased, trail maps printed and used, or the number of unique donations. Each measurement has its benefits and draw backs, but which measurement will produce a more accurate number of the value of the park to the community? That’s up to you to decide. Just make sure you look at all the ways the data is, and is not, collected!