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Blogger Stats vs. Google Analytics: A Study in Simplicity

bloggerLast month, Google introduced Blogger Stats for all bloggers who use Google’s hosted blogging platform. Blogger Stats first became available for Blogger in Draft (the Gmail Labs equivalent for Blogger), but now the real-time traffic reporting mini-suite has been automatically integrated into all new and existing Blogger blogs. If you haven’t noticed yet, it’s accessible via the Stats tab on your Blogger dashboard.

So, what’s the big deal? Isn’t Google the same company who brought us the quintessential traffic analytics solution known simply as Google Analytics? And haven’t all serious bloggers already incorporated this free tool into their blogs?

The answer to both those questions is: yes. But that’s not the point here.

As I mentioned, Google Analytics is for serious bloggers who are serious about tracking their visitor activity, traffic sources, conversion rates, visitor benchmarking, etc., etc., etc. Blogger Stats is for people who are less serious about blogging (hence why they use Blogger, rather than a self-hosted WordPress or Drupal or Typepad blog) and have less serious needs for traffic analysis. As such, it’s my opinion that in spite of the seemingly cannibalistic rollout of Blogger Stats onto what could potentially be Google Analytics turf,  Blogger Stats is indeed the best traffic reporting tool for Blogger blogs. Here’s why:

No Assembly Required

Simplicity is the key here, and that’s the modus operandi of Google’s Blogger platform. Granted, installing WordPress on your own server isn’t particularly technically demanding, nor is copying and pasting the Google Analytics tracking code into a Blogger template. Both of those tasks can be pulled off in about five to six steps. But guess how many steps it takes to get up and running with Blogger Stats? That’s right: zero.

Blogger is one of those products that’s supposed to work for you right out of the box. Although there are some tech-savvy users on Blogger, the vast majority of Blogger denizens are the type that run for the door when faced by an intimidating chunk of raw code—even if all they have to do is copy and paste it. But that’s not to say that these folks aren’t interested in seeing a bit more robust of a traffic report beyond simple page views.

Frankly, I’m surprised that this feature wasn’t introduced sooner. WordPress.com bloggers have long enjoyed basic blog stats on their dashboards, replete with trending graphs, referring sites and top content reports. But unlike Blogger, WordPress.com is a strictly non-profit zone (no ads and limited scripting). Meanwhile, Blogger rolled out dead simple monetization via Google AdSense  last April. It just makes sense that they’d do the same for stats.  The same crowd that’s interested in making money with their humble blog is likely equally interested in understanding the flow of traffic to their blog, even if they aren’t hardcore SEO geeks. Blogger stats serves this need without overcomplicating things.

Google Blogger Stats

Everything You Need, Nothing You Don’t

I know some will disagree, but I think Blogger Stats has just the right amount of features. You essentially have three reports.  Posts (i.e. Content), Traffic Sources and Audience (i.e. Visitors). Plus, you’ve got the Overview that brings them all together. The number of features and reports pales in comparison to the undulating spider web laid out by Google Analytics to the point where it wouldn’t even be prudent to do a feature-by-feature showdown. But for the casual blogger, more isn’t always better. Most bloggers simply want to know a few key things about their traffic:

  • How many people are reading their blog?
  • Which posts are getting the most traffic?
  • Where are readers coming from?

Any additional features that don’t speak to those needs is essentially clutter. I’ll admit that even after using Google Analytics for the past couple of years, there are quite a few items in the menu pane that I have no clue what to do with (kind of like half the doo-dads on my Swiss Army Knife).  Meanwhile, at no point will a Blogger Stats user find him or herself looking at their traffic report and asking, “What does this mean?!”

Real-Time Stats

There are a hundred and one (give or take) things that Google Analytics does that Blogger Stats doesn’t, but there is one key thing that Blogger Stats has that it’s big brother doesn’t: Real-Time Stats. Whereas Google Analytics takes its time to crunch the numbers into refined data nuggets (reporting is often a few hours or a full day behind), Blogger Stats gives it to you raw with hour-by-hour reporting. Real-time tracking makes the most sense for highly social bloggers who may be cross-promoting their posts via Twitter or Facebook and want to time their plugs just right. And, of course, for the compulsive (or vain) stat stalkers like myself, seeing hits as they come provides some instant gratification for a fresh post.

Google’s explanation for including Real-Time stats for Blogger Stats but not for Google Analytics is that Analytics users simply don’t want the feature. I’m willing to believe that. In my view, Blogger Stats is like a stock ticker whereas Google Analytics is more like a quarterly earnings report. Blogger Stats is best for superficial, immediate reporting whereas Google Analytics users are more interested in tracking monthly conversion goals, identifying long-term trends and drilling deep, deep down into the nitty-gritty. And if you’re a Google Analytics user and you disagree with that statement, then maybe you should consider switching analytics tools.

Conclusion and Considerations

Overall, Blogger Stats is a simple solution for your everyday Blogger. I think it fills a niche nicely, especially since, contrary to popular belief, Blogger Stats isn’t just a watered-down version of Google Analytics. Those running both Blogger Stats and Google Analytics on their blogs back in the Blogger in Draft days noticed some discrepancies in reporting—particularly in terms of picking up traffic from robots and other non-human visitors. This issue has been addressed for the official release, but it goes to show that there are some fundamental differences between the two statistics tools, even under the hood. (On another note, Google also added the “Don’t track my pageviews” feature based on feedback from the Blogger in Draft release.)

But it all boils down to the fact that lightweight tools are best for light applications. Google Analytics is a lumbering Hummer of an analytical tool, whereas Blogger Stats is more on the magnitude of a sporty subcompact. Unless you plan on doing any heavy lifting, Blogger Stats should pull its weight.

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24 Responses to Blogger Stats vs. Google Analytics: A Study in Simplicity

  1. sm September 30, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    I use Blogger Stats, Sitemeter and Google Analytics (all just for curiosity sake). However Blogger Stats seem to always record higher visitor counts and even different countries when compared to Google Analytics and Sitemeter. So which result is the most reliable between the three? thx :)

  2. Benjer McVeigh October 1, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

    I second sm’s question. I enjoy checking out Blogger’s stats throughout the day for real time information, but continue to rely on Google Analytics for the bulk of information about traffic to my site. It’s not just that there’s a small difference at times. Blogger’s stats continually report higher numbers of page views, as well as traffic sources not included in my Google Analytics. I know there’s a difference between how the two record stats, but I’ve never found an explanation on what that difference is.

  3. Marc Poulin October 2, 2010 at 6:08 am #

    I second sm and Benjer statements that Blogger Stats are much higher than what Google Analytics reports. On a page I published yesterday, I had 109 views with Blogger Stats and 32 from GA (with async JavaScript).

    I also question the value of these tools if they cannot report reality properly. Google has some explaining to do.

    • MrGroove October 2, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

      I agree with you both. Stats will never be 100% no matter what method you use.

      For instance, each month my Adsense Stats, WordPress Stats and Google Analytics stats never SYNC up. I found a good article here which talks a little about some of the reasons:

      http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55613

      In addition to this, I also found that I had setup filters on Google Analytics to exclude traffic coming from my home IP Address as well as from my Work IP address in order to prevent my maintenance and writing activities from the Google Analytics reports.

      So there’s all kinds of things which go into “Stats”. I personally rely on several different techniques from several sources to get a clearer picture of stats on my blog.

  4. Sarah Familia October 29, 2010 at 8:22 am #

    Excellent review. I agree with you on all points. I love my google analytics, but I could never get their multiple IP cookie fix to block internal traffic to work (probably I’m just not tekkie enough). I compulsively view my own blog, so this was a problem for me :) In blogger stats, it worked right off.

  5. Daisy April 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    There’s a big confusion regarding their stats. At the moment i only have 5 visitor on analytics stats while on bloggers stat i have 55 with 5 real time visitor.

  6. Rachel July 7, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    I have experienced the same thing as well- Stats are waaay different than Analytics and I found this post searching for why this is and what to believe. The countries are different, the pageviews are different, the referring sites and URLs are hugely different….so…what do we do, just bag it all and go on with our lives? It’s all coming out of the same company, that’s what’s so dissapointing. Back to my …ha ha…Googling…to find if there is a more official statement from them on this.

  7. ccreative July 17, 2011 at 5:28 am #

    I use blogger stats and adsense stats only. Because I’m newbie.and i need simplicity :D

  8. Mathias July 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Thank you very much for your nice post. A very awesome article, hope to read more next time! With kind regards Mathias

  9. Amber September 7, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    I am sorry – but REALLY?! The year is 2011 not 2006, this WP superiority complex aimed at blogger users is ridiculous.

    Infact most people who have “hosted” WP rely on others they have either hired to customize, or paid a fee to purchase a template pre-coded.

    There are plenty of “out of the box” WP users who have everything done for them and “pretend” they are serious bloggers.

    I sorry, but in my opion installing a few lines of php or copying and pasting some html (from a text file that came w/ your bought hack) into a designated box for WP plug-ins really is not coding!

  10. haider September 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Please clear me one thing
    there is a big difference of my blogger stats and analytic stats
    my blogger stats says for example 15 thousand page views where as same date same time analytics says 7 thousand ! what does this mean ??? please tell buddy……

  11. Randy October 8, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    If anyone has any idea why Google Analytics and Blogger stats would be so different I’d love to know too. I have Blogger set to ignore page views. But Analytics will sometimes show only 800 page views when Blogger shows 2,400 in the same day.

    I’d understand if they were a bit off, but it’s often and usually by a factor of 2 or 3.

    Does anyone have any idea why Bloggers numbers are so much higher? Analytics so much lower?

  12. Jenny Gallegos November 24, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    Im now using GA but the thing is, my GA account would say that one of my blog’s views is n/a.

  13. D.B. December 28, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    Hi, I’m from Chile. I’m planning to selling publicity spaces in my blog, but i don’t know which stats should I show to our sponsors. Of course blogger stats is the best in numbers, but is this real? because the difference wiht google analytics is too higher.

    • Steve Krause December 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      Page Views is normally what advertisers are looking for (impressions).

      • D.B. December 30, 2011 at 7:17 am #

        Yes, and that is what blogger stats give you: page views. And the number is higher than page views from google analytics…

        • Steve Krause January 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

          Well…. The problem is spiders and admins of the blog. Some stats engines count spiders (search engines) and known spammers differently than other stats engines so no 2 stats reports will be the same.

          For the sake of consistency, my recommendation is to choose 1 stats engine and stick with it. I personally use Google Analytics since it’s linked with my Google Adsense and Adwords accounts however you should use whatever is best for you…

  14. D.B. December 30, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    Yes, and that is what blogger stats give you: page views. And the number is higher than page views from google analytics.

  15. Marc Poulin January 2, 2012 at 5:50 am #

    The hypothesis that Blogger Stats includes visits by spiders makes a lot of sense. That means that Blogger stats show page requests instead of page views. Google Analytics counts page views and determines this when JavaScript is executed. This never occurs with search engine spiders.

    If the hypothesis is true, then Blogger stats will always show higher numbers. If you are selling page views, Blogger Stats should not be used.

    PS: It would be nice if Google confirmed or denied this.

  16. heartlessgamer April 5, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    I’d have to agree with others here: Blogger stats are dramatically different than that provided by GA. For example, my Blogger stats continually show my new years 2012 post as my most visited page every month. Yet, GA shows only a handful of visits each month. The referrers on Blogger stats rarely, if ever, show up on GA… which is funny in its own right because my largest non-search referrer shows up in Blogger stats but shows 0 referrals via GA.

    Blogger stats really has me questioning the accuracy of either of Googles tools.

  17. GA Fan April 10, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Google published a help article on the difference between stats and resulting pageviews. From what I understand if you enable Dynamic views each blog click counts as a page view, potentially resulting in massive differences in the blog status, which holds true Google analytics as well. RTFM.

    What bothers me the most is the loss of fidelity in historical data when using only the blog stats. I just assumed responsibility for our organization’s blog and the fist thing I did was discover how spotty the data gets over time. Needless to say I configured Google Analytics integration right away. However, this doesn’t help me at all when looking for anything from this day into history. If you don’t have accurate historical data, why bother.

    • heartlessgamer April 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

      Not that I doubt you GA Fan, but do you have a link to that article? Even with your case, I don’t see how one can have hundreds and thousands of referral visits from sites that the other one doesn’t have any from. Blogger stats just don’t feel right after having used GA for so long.

  18. Martin Allen June 3, 2012 at 4:03 am #

    I don’t understand Blogger stats at all. There is no correlation (and I haven’t as yet found any explanation) for the huge discrepancy between total page views and individual post views (eg, yesterday 177 page views, but 4 views of my post – yet I have had tweets and messages from 19 people who have read it – and they did read it because they have tried to answer a question I posed in it). At least I can understand Google Analytics.

  19. Ray Silva August 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Sorry, but all the supposed “explanations” don’t make any sense at all. If the “visits” to your blog were really from crawling bots, there would be no reason or explanation for particular posts getting significantly different visits than others. Also, I can verify that a google search on words in a particular post of mine finds my blog and post at or near the top of the results. Also, I have verified with people I know that visit my blog. The Blogger stats may not be super accurate, but Google analytics wildly under-reports.

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