- What is a "Visitor"?
- How can I distinguish all those visitors in the Analytics Suite 2?
- Unique Visitors in the Analytics Suite 2
What is a "Visitor"?
When talking about Digital Analytics, a "visitor" is not a person per se since a unique individual can access your content via a PC, a smartphone, a tablet, etc. As a result, a visitor will be measured thanks to the browser ID or the phone ID.
There are several methods to measure a "visitor".
Technical point of view
AT Internet offers several ways to create a unique identifier for a "visitor".
On browsers (web and mobile):
- Third-party cookie: we generate a unique identifier, stored in a cookie (idrxvr) on one of those 2 domain names: .xiti.com or .ati-host.net. This unique ID allows cross-domain reports and is sent in the AT Internet hit headers.
- First-party cookie: we generate a unique identifier, stored in a cookie (xtidc if you're using xtcore.js or atuserid if you're using smarttag.js) on your own domain name. This ID is unique per domain name (or per sub-domain is needed) and doesn't allow cross-domain reports.
If you want/need to handle the identification of the visitors yourself, you may generate the ID and store it in the relevant cookie (xtidc or atuserid).
This ID has to be sent in the &idclient= parameter of the AT Internet hit. If this parameter is present in the hit that is sent to AT Internet, it will have the priority over the value of the 3rd-party cookie idrxvr.
On web applications, we use an ID based on the phone and the application.
This ID is stored on the phone and can be seen in the &idclient= parameter of the AT Internet hits that are generated by the mobile app.
It is unique to each phone-app couple.
Depending on the OS, several IDs can be used:
- Android, you can decide whether you want to use the Android ID (ID given by the phone, will remain the same even if the app is deleted and reinstalled) or the Advertising ID (provided by Google, for an Android device. It is unique, but can be reset by the user. It is also subject to the users choice to disable ad tracking, in which case the user cannot be identified).
Find out more in the online help (https://developers.atinternet-solutions.com/android-en/users-android-en/user-id-android-en/).
- Apple, you can either use the IDFV (the ID will be shared across all the apps of the same publisher), or the IDFA (the ID is unique to the phone)
Find out more in the online help (https://developers.atinternet-solutions.com/apple-universal-en/users-apple-universal-en/user-id-apple-universal-en/).
Like on browsers, you can also define your own ID, called the UUID.
If the visitor browser refuses the cookies, no information can be transmitted to AT Internet via the idrxvr cookie or the &idclient= parameter.
Thus, we base our calculation on the combination of the IP address and the user agent.
This information is less reliable than the cookies but allows a visitor calculation anyway. The accuracy of this information being reduced, we limit the usage to a daily granularity.
Your visitors come to your sites and apps to read articles, click on links, read videos, etc.
Sometimes, even when being on your site, they don't load pages (if they restart a visit with a click after a short break).
Also, they can also interact with your brand when being outside of your sites and apps: email openings, advert banner on a partner site, video play on a third-party blog, etc.
We make the difference between visitors who load pages and the others.
If you have doubt about the metric you're using, please read the glossary or contact the Support Centre.
How can I distinguish all those visitors in the Analytics Suite 2?
There are 2 metrics to choose from:
- Visitors: gather all the visitors, with or without ID, who loaded at least one page ;
- Visitors (all events): gather all the visitors, with or without ID, who loaded an event.
To split your population upon their cookie acceptance, you need to use the corresponding dimension.
The dimension name shows "cookie" to be as generic as possible, however, it actually shows the Visitor ID, being either the cookie idrxvr or the &idclient= parameter from the AT Internet hit.
In the example provided above:
- 3,328 visitors with IDs generated events, including 3,287 visitors with IDs who loaded at least 1 page;
- 162 visitors without ID generated events, including 160 visitors who loaded at least 1 page.
Visitors v. Unique Visitors
Visitors andt Visitors (all events) show Daily Unique Visitors.
A visitor coming to your site in the morning, then again in the evening will be considered as one visitor on the day, with 2 visits.
However, on periods longer than a day, Visitors and Visitors (all events) will be added up (no deduplication).
Here, you can see that the totals provided at the bottom of the screen grab are equal to the arithmetic addition of the daily visitors of the 3 days (10,756 = 3,718 + 3,591 + 3,447).
If you require a deduplication, the Unique Visitors metric is what you're looking for.
As mentioned earlier in this article, visitor detection without ID (cookie or device ID) is less reliable as it's based on the IP and the User Agent
We have decided to exclude the Visitors without ID from the Unique Visitors calculation.
You must note that we have included all the events in the calculation, whatever they are. Which means that Unique Visitors are visitors with IDs (cookie or device ID) with any event.
Unique Visitors in the Analytics Suite 2
The Unique Visitors are available in the Dashboards, the Reports, Data Query and the Reporting API.
As this metric requires a substantial amount of calculation time, we offer 2 methods in the Analytics Suite 2:
- Standard: on saved templates and on predefined periods (weeks and months). If you don't have access to the metric, please contact the Support Centre to request the activation ;
- Advanced: on the fly requests, on custom periods. If you are lucky enough to have either the Advanced Data Query or Data Flow options, this is you! Get in touch with the Support Centre or your AT Internet contact to get more details.
Please note that you can use up to 50 Data Query templates with Unique Visitors per contract.
Standard Unique Visitors
When you create a data set including the UV metric in Data Query and then save it, you have to wait for the system to process the data.
Within the next 4 hours, you can use the dataset for the following periods: 3 last months and 4 last weeks.
Then, every Monday, you can get the data of the previous week, and every 1st day of the month, you can use the data for the previous month.
Advanced Unique Visitors
If the Advanced Data Query or Data Flow options are activated on your account, you can use the UV on the fly, on custom periods.