I’ve been running all of my websites using CloudFlare since this last Thanksgiving weekend. I pointed all of my name-servers for my primary domains like apievangelist.com and kinlane.com to CloudFlare, and I use them manage my DNS, and other related operations of my primary websites.
I’m intrigued by the reporting at the DNS level provided by CloudFlare, compared to the reporting at the page level provided by Google Analytics. I’ve had Google Analytics installed on all of my websites since I first launched, and use it to establish the estimates for the daily and monthly visitors to my websites—beyond that I really don’t care much about these analytics.
Regardless I think it is interesting to look at CloudFlare numbers for the last 30 days:
- Regular Traffic: 112,241
- Crawlers/Bots: 55,540
- Threats: 1,697
- Unique Visitors: 34,501
- Page Views: 169,478
Then look at the Google Analytics number for the last 30 days:
- Sessions: 22,569
- Users: 17,880
- Page Views: 38,949
Ultimately you can only compare the CloudFlare unique visitors, and Google Analytics users—these are the only two numbers that are comparable in my opinion. I don’t think CloudFlare removes crawlers/bots from page views, something Google does by default I’m assuming—rendering page views as a very different beast for each service.
I take away two things from this. 1) How meaningless data points are, unless you believe in them. 2) How data points can differ from provider to provider, and at different levels of your architecture. If you ask me what my page views are for API Evangelist, what do I say? You didn’t ask me whether it was my CloudFlare or my Google Analytics page views!
When I think about the millions of hours spent in Google Analytics dashboards across numerous industries, and the companies I’ve seen spending millions in Adwords for their advertising, all based upon numbers derived from this constructed reality, that we’ve collectively bought into—I am blown away.