The North Forty News uses both Quantcast and Google Analytics to measure web traffic to our site.

Quantcast offers transparency when assessing web traffic, instead of closely guarded proprietary information that the newspaper chains won’t make public. When using Quantcast to determine a newspaper’s website traffic, make sure that the website is “quantified,” which is an accurate representation of traffic (versus a guess).

Also keep in mind that daily newspaper websites tend to draw larger percentages of traffic — sometimes up to 60 percent — from out-of-market or out-of-state audiences while hyperlocal sites like North Forty News tend to draw local audiences. This is important if you’re trying to bring local customers to your neighborhood store here in Northern Colorado. And advertising a local retail store to someone in another state or country is money wasted!

Making an accurate comparison
So that you can compare apples to apples, we’ll explain web metrics used for counting web traffic — people/visitor, unique visitor, visit, pageview and hit.

Monthly people (or visitors)Quantcast’s monthly people/visitor metric — represented in the above graphic — measures individuals visiting a website, not cookies. (Cookies are tracking codes placed into your web browser when you visit a website.)
•The North Forty News website averages about 5,000 monthly people/visitors. This translates to Facebook page “Likes,” which is a measure of the number of people that regularly visit the Facebook page (not the number of pages or times they view it).

Monthly unique visitors – The web analytics service SiteCatalyst states that “a unique visitor refers to an individual who has visited a site the first time within a certain time period.” So a monthly unique visitor measures a first-time visit to the website during the course of a month.
•The North Forty News generally averages about 5,000 monthly unique visitors according to Quantcast, and 7,000 according to Google Analytics, but these numbers have grown from 100 monthly unique visitors in 2011.

Monthly visits – A Google Analytics metric that, according to Google, “represent the number of individual sessions initiated by all the visitors to your site over the course of a month. If a user is inactive on your site for 30 minutes or more, any future activity will be attributed to a new session. Users that leave your site and return within 30 minutes will be counted as part of the original session.” In the case of the North Forty News, monthly visits are about three times the number of monthly people.
•The North Forty News generally averages about 8,500 monthly visits according to Google Analytics.

Monthly pageviews – Monthly total of individual web pages that completely load on a viewer’s screen. This number can by skewed by individual images contained in click-to-advance photo galleries, some of which are not technically “pages.” Auto-advancing photo galleries should not count as pageviews, nor should auto-refresh pages and 404 (error) pages that redirect to the home page. A typical average is about 5-6 pageviews for each unique visitor.
•The North Forty News generally averages about 15,000 monthly pageviews according to Google Analytics.

Hits – A measurement of number of page elements — images, graphics, design elements — that load when a web page is viewed. A single web page can have dozens of page elements, so the metric is no longer used.

Page updated 6/04/15