Who is Visiting my Website? – A Study

Who is Visiting my Website? – A Study

The world of web analytics is opening us all up to some wonderful information in internet marketing that no other medium has ever been able to offer us. Wouldn't companies from back in the 1980's loved to be able to understand their market to the point that they could see things such as gender, age, time of day, and how many people (precisely) saw their ads? Taking that a step further how about how many people bought because of the ad?

This is what having website analytics on your site will do for your company.

As an internet marketing company, we are highly motivated to ensure we have a solid understanding of website analytics so that we can offer the best solutions to our clients. This article is the first of many that will offer information to the public describing many of my findings when exploring deeply into the website analytics package offered by Google --- Google Analytics! (formerly known as Urchin)

Since this is an introduction I have decided to offer everyone a small taste of some of the technical items we can harvest from Google Analytics.

For the purpose of this study, I decided to look at about 10 private health care companies that we track data for. Since we develop websites and market them for their own website visitors, I wanted to take technical data from the web analytics package so that we could determine what type of users we were building for. The findings were very interesting and I think will serve to offer some solid data for anyone else that is looking for technical information about traffic segments.

Here is the criteria that I looked at for the purpose of this article:

Broadband vs Dial Up - How many people still use a dial up connection?
Screen Resolution - What percentage of traffic actually still uses 800x600?
Operation Systems - Is Apple Macintosh really taking over? How many people use Windows?
Flash - Who still uses older versions of Flash?
Java - How many peoples computers are JAVA enabled?
Color - What percentage of traffic actually still uses anything less then 16 bit?
Browser - What percentage of people actually use FireFox?

All of this data is very important not only in planning a web development project but also in determining the market that we are trying to attract and what technologies we can employ within our online persona.

So here is my findings! Hope you enjoy!

Broadband vs Dial Up - How many people still use a dial up connection?

Answer - .04%

That's right. Less then 1%. This should firmly conclude to anyone that building sites for higher bandwidth is ok. Furthermore, I also believe that it also lends itself very well to the recent explosion of online video. If you ever thought that the internet would not be an efficient vehicle to display television and video in the future - it appears the future has come.

Screen Resolution - What percentage of traffic actually still uses 800x600?

Answer - 10.67%

Why is this important? In the 1990's monitors and were only big enough to handle a resolution of 800 x 600. Hence, we had to build our websites for that monitor size. For many years this has been the standard for which we build websites at. Changing it to something bigger would eliminate and make viewing a website inconvenient. With the explosion of inexpensive LCD and flat screens and the improvement in screen resolution many web developers and marketers have wondered whether the standard of building for an 800 x 600 website visitor was changing. Since many people now use a resolution of 1024 x 768 it was thought we could begin building sites for this resolution (and therefor fit more information on the screen!) Based upon this data it is becoming clear that the trend is towards building for the 1024 x 768 market.

Today only 10.67% of users in my test within the private health care industry have screen resolutions of 800 x 600 or less. So who are we trying to make things more convenient for? The minority of users that may have to scroll left to right or the majority which will have a better viewing experience by having a website built to serve them. My own opinion is once we see the screen resolution at around 10% for 800 x 600 users it's time to recommend a screen resolution change to serve the majority of website traffic.

Operation Systems - Is Apple Macintosh really taking over? How many people use Windows?

Answer - 95.39% of people still use Windows

I was kinda interested in this because I keep hearing how Apple is taking over. In many ways I kinda look at myself in the mirror and wonder whether I'm getting old and not getting with the times because I still use a PC. (and enjoy it) I guess that the fact that less then 4% of users are using Macs tells me that I am still one of the silent majority. But those 4% of MAC users sure make a lot of noise don't they? At least I can still feel hip now.

Flash - Who still uses older versions of Flash?

Answer - 3.43% of users have anything less then Flash 8. I should also comment that only about another 10% of people even use Flash 8! (most use Flash 9)

Although I'm not a fan of flash anyway, it does often help complement or accent a core message that is being delivered. (Personally, I typically find Flash a little distracting when overdone) This is a good statistic though for those that wonder whether they can build Flash files using the latest version. Based on this data - The answer is yes! Flash 9 enabled computers take about 85% of the market. (but to be real safe I would make sure that those using Flash 8 can have access)

Java - How many peoples computers are JAVA enabled?

Answer - 99.69% have JAVA enabled.

Here I thought that JAVA was on its way out a few years ago! The concern with JAVA was always that it hogged resources, and wasn't very flexible. Well I suppose with the speed of our machines these days it's not even an issue anymore. Almost 100% of machines are JAVA enabled. Nuf said.

Color - What percentage of traffic actually still uses anything less then 16 bit?

Answer - .22%

Most users are using 32 bit colors. Almost 89% infact! So yes its ok to build sites with crazy color elements (if you really want to!)

Browser - What percentage of people actually use Mozilla FireFox?

Answer - 13.90%

Much like MAC people I can already hear all of you Mozilla Firefox users yelling - "Cmon people get with it, Firefox is so much better!" Well -- maybe it is, but I'm not sure if the silient majority is listening that hard. IE7 seems to be catching on. Although I will say that I personally like the FireFox browser and it offers many things that Internet Explorer doesn't. As a marketing person what this does tell me is that we need to build and test sites with more then IE in mind these days. We need to do cross browser testing to make sure sites render properly in both Internet Explorer and Firefox. By the way MAC users - Safari was only 2.8% in this study.

So there you have it. I have been searching for data like this quite extensively in the past. The good news is that it is all fairly readily available now thanks to website analytics programs like Google Analytics. The purpose of this study was to give those that were interested some very important information. Stay tuned for the next segment coming next week!

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    Only 13.90% used Mozzila in 2007! I’m curious how many are using it today! I’m still amazed at how many people still use Internet Explorer! I don’t know if you’ve heard this one but IE is known on the internet as the best browser…for downloading mozzila firefox, chrome or opera! And this is exactly how I see it.
    Anyway, Analytics is just great and has evolved from a great information provider to a fantastic one! I’m using it on a weekly basis to see what keywords people are finding me for, where they are coming from, what pages they visit next and so on. The amount of things you can do with GA is mind boggling and I still haven’t used it to 75% of it’s potential not to mention 100%! I don’t know what I would do without GA!

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