New Media Vocabulary: Visitors/Unique Visitors

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New Media Vocabulary: Visitors/Unique Visitors

When dealing with web analytics, visitor and unique visitors are important metrics. A visitor is any single web site visit from any IP address over any period of time. This could include viewing a web page (html), graphic (jpg) or other file. Each visitor might generate any number of web “hits” which is the count of all items the visitor views.

Unique visitors is often seen as a more important metric, though, as it seeks to eliminate multiple visits by any particular visitor. A unique visitor is usually declared as a single IP address that visited at least once during a given time period — usually one day.

One major problem with calculating unique visitors is the fact that many computers, connected through a single router or network, often shared 1IP address. This means that multiple visits from different computers on the local area network (LAN) would only generate 1 unique visitor no matter how many different computers or users actually visited the web site.

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