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Why Don’t Stumble Clicks Match Analytics Numbers?

confused coupleStumbleUpon and it’s cousin su.pr are great ways to generate additional traffic to your travel blog but often those impressive SU numbers don’t match up with what you see in the ultimate stat tracker, Google Analytics. It can be confusing and discouraging until you understand the process and shift your expectations.

What Stumble Is And Isn’t

StumbleUpon’s about page clearly states their primary mission is to,

  • …help you discover and share great websites.

I was told as much when I contacted StumbleUpon for more information about this question. Their response was that Stumble isn’t about generating traffic for websites but a way to enhance browsing for their readers. In fact, as I mentioned in a basic guide to StumbleUpon, you’ll be penalized if your activity seems only to benefit specific websites (aka. your own blog). The only way to get more detailed analytics from StumbleUpon is to sign up for their ads program.

finger wavingGoogle Analytics Is The Baseline

In my opinion, Google Analytics is the best (free) way to track just about any information about traffic to your travel blog. Google Analytics does do some filtering however, to give you accurate numbers of actual people who are visiting pages on your travel blog. For example, Google Analytics doesn’t count the following types of clicks:

  • Browsers with cookies disabled.
  • Browsers with Javascript disabled.
  • Bots.

That last one, bots is a big reason. Basically, bots are automated clicks that come from computers trolling the Internet to do all sorts of things like leave comment spam. Many of these bot clicks aren’t counted by Google (in part due to a lack of cookie and Javascript use) and it would seem StumbleUpon isn’t as picky about them.

Not All Clicks Are Made Counted The Same

There is no one standard for a “click”. They are all counted by differently by the various software that specializes in that sort of thing like AwStats, Google Analytics, and so on. StumbleUpon creators didn’t create the site purely to drive traffic to your travel blog and aren’t as concerned about providing accurate statistics about clicks.

  • On top of that I’m sure it doesn’t hurt them for users to see numbers that might be slightly inflated due to less scrutiny by their algorithm.

That’s not to say that many of those clicks aren’t counted or don’t help your blog but that you’ll likely see less in Google Analytics than you will in StumbleUpon on a regular basis. Go by Analytics or your preferred specialized software to track valid clicks and use StumbleUpon to rate, recommend, and discover new sites while working with others to benefit your own.

[photos by: B Tal (confused couple), Bekah Stargazing (waving finger)]

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Jenna May 28, 2010, 12:11

    Anil, Thanks for the explanation. The thing I like about Stumble Upon is discovering new websites and to see what my like-minded Stumble “friends” enjoy. I gave up looking too carefully at their visit numbers because once Stumble had my post getting about 80 clicks in less than a couple minutes, and I knew it couldn’t be true.
    The thing that confuses me still is how sometimes my Wordpress stats and Stumble stats seem to have no relationship. I could give some examples of how this has confused me, but I won’t because I decided it doesn’t really matter anyway. Being obsessive about clicks and visits does me no good. 🙂

    • Anil P. May 28, 2010, 14:58

      What’s your main way of monitoring stats?

  • Abby May 29, 2010, 06:21

    I wondered! Was even asking around just this week… Thanks so much for digging into it for us and explaining everything! I’ve come across someone who added the two numbers, others who didn’t see a difference… I was confused; I know others must be. I’m so new to all of this that I really do like to know how things work, even if I have no reason to obsess over the numbers themselves. Thanks!!

    • Anil P. May 29, 2010, 08:47

      Glad I was able to clear it up the difference in numbers a bit. It can be very confusing when all the numbers don’t match up – especially when they turn out lower than we expect!

  • Gourmantic June 2, 2010, 07:16

    GA doesn’t match much in my experience, not even Adsense so I didn’t bother checking or making a comparison with SU but it’s good to know the reasoning behind it. I just use it to stumble and discover sites (thanks to your guide!) but I hope they make it a little easier. It’s not a very user friendly tool to use.

    • Anil P. June 2, 2010, 08:26

      GA is probably the most critical of all the analytics tools but also will let you know how many people are visiting via SU. Stumble is pretty confusing (glad the guide helped 🙂 but addictive once you get the hang. I find myself using it more and more each week.

  • Mark H October 1, 2010, 16:09

    I’ve always wondered why the various stats programs don’t match each other. I mainly work based on GA but various others all seem to produce their own count and some are wildly different. Just one of those great web mysteries…

    • Anil P. October 2, 2010, 03:10

      I wish more of the algorithms were made public. Seems they all conceal them for various purposes.

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