The new Clicky is live! In the form of a novel, here’s what new:
When a visitor remains on a single page of your site, our tracking code will ping our tracking servers in the background so we know they are still online. This will also let us give you much more accurate “time online” values, both per visitor and “average”.
By default, a visitor will ping us for 20 minutes while on one page. Depending on the type of site you are running, you may wish for a longer time that that. Don’t worry, you can customize it! Using clicky_custom.timeout, you can extend the pinging time up to 4 hours. This is perfect for sites that are focused on things like videos or games.
- Spy + Ping
Spy uses the new pinging functionality to more accurately display who is actually on your site right now. Previously, we were just using a 5 minute timeout period of no activity to determine that a visitor was gone. Pinging allows us to actually know who is on your site, so Spy will be much more accurate. Pinging starts at every 15 seconds but quickly decays to once per minute, so there’s still a timeout of 1 minute on Spy before a visitor will disappear. Pinging will also let us display visitors who are just sitting there on one page. Previosly they would disappear after 5 minutes but now they will stay there as long as they keep pinging us.
The result of this is a lot more spikes in the visitors online “graph”, rather than a fairly smooth one as you may be used to. Here’s an example of what we mean:
- New vs returning visitors
We now track new vs returning visitors. You will see in “the basics” dashboard module, there’s a new “expand” link. Clicking this will show your unique visitors and your new visitors for the date or date range you are viewing. Because we are only tracking new visitors from this point forward, this metric won’t be terribly accurate for the first week or two until most of your regulars have visited your site again.
You can also filter by new or returning visitors, it’s in the filter drop down box on the visitors page.
- Bounce rates
Our bounce rate calculations also take pinging into account now. As far as we know, all other analytics services define a bounce as a visitor who only views one page. But if they actually stay on your site for a little bit, they are probably more engaged with your site. The first ping occurs after 15 seconds, so that’s our new threshold for determining what a bounce is. Anyone who is on your site less than 15 seconds is a bounce, anyone on longer is NOT a bounce – regardless of how many actions they had. We think this is a much better way to calculate this metric.
- Self hosted tracking code
If you are self-hosting the tracking code, you will need to grab a fresh copy to get cookie and ping support. We’d also like to make clear that we no longer support this option. Our tracking code is now on a CDN and we also offer asynchronous tracking code, so there’s no need for it anymore. Making this update backwards compatible for people doing the self-hosted thing was a bit of a pain. From this point on, we cannot guarantee backwards compatibility with those of your self-hosting, so you are doing so at your own risk!
- More efficient
The way we process and store visitors has dramatically changed, and the result is about an 80% increase in efficiency – which is a very big deal. This means we’ll have to do database maintenance a lot less often (e.g. what we do every few months to a couple of servers, such as last week with db7/8/9). Smaller storage also means much faster filtering. You should notice a dramatic increase in filtering (segmentation) of your visitors for most data types.
This also results in much faster processing of traffic. We think it’s going to allow us to track higher traffic sites. The highest level of traffic we allow for any site is 500,000 page views per day. We think our new system will be able to double that capacity – but we’re not sure yet. We’re going to be monitoring things and will certainly let people know if we increase this limit.
Please note, converting your existing visitors to this new format will take up to 48 hours on some servers. So rather than keep these servers offline during the conversion, the conversion will be occuring over the weekend while the servers are live. It should be finished by Sunday though. The point is, when viewing your visitors list, some visitors may have incomplete data (e.g. just an IP address). Don’t panic – their data *will* appear! We’re doing this from newest to oldest visitors, so you probably won’t even notice it unless you go back in your history a bit.
There may be a few bugs lying around. We’ll be monitoring and fixing anything unusual over the weekend. If you see anything strange, don’t hesitate to leave a comment here or send us an email. Hope you enjoy!