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Why is visit count in Top Content different than Visits & Pageview tracking?

Urchin users often notice that the number of visits reported under Marketing Optimization >> Unique Visitor Tracking >> Visits & Pageview Tracking is different than the total number of visits in Content Optimization >> Content Performance >> Top Content. This is because the two reports are actually reporting two separate metrics. The Visits & Pageview Tracking report is showing the total number of visits to your site, whereas the Top Content report is showing the total number of "visits" to each page on your site, which is equivalent to total unique pageviews.


Unique Pageview - the number of sessions which included the given page one or more times.


The description for the Top Content report states:

...This report shows how many visits and pageviews each page on your site received...

This is, in fact, accurate since unique pageviews are equivalent to the number of visits which included a page.

For Example:
Let's say a user visits your site and views the following pages, in succession, during their visit:

  1. /index
  2. /about
  3. /index
  4. /products
  5. /products/widget
  6. /products
  7. /index

The Visits & Pageview Tracking report would show 1 visit and 7 pageviews. Under Top Content, however, you'd see the following:

Page Visits Pageviews
/index 1 3
/products 1 2
/about 1 1
/products/widget 1 1
Totals 4 7

This Top Content report is showing that each page was viewed at least once in 1 visit. If one were to look at the totals row and think that they were 4 total visits to their site, they would be extremely off. For all intents and purposes, the visits column should always be thought of as Unique Pageviews. If you know how, I'd even recommend changing the column title.


Let's take this example one step further
A visitor comes to your site a second time and views the following pages:

  1. /index
  2. /products
  3. /products/widget
  4. /products/cool-widget
  5. /products/widget

Now, the Top Content report would look like this:

Page Visits Pageviews
/index 2 4
/products 2 3
/products/widget 2 3
/about 1 1
/products/cool-widget 1 1
Totals 8 12

Now, there are only 2 total visits to your site, but if one were to use the Top Content report as reference, they would see 8.