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Web Site Measurement Hacks by Eric T. Peterson

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Hack #79. Accurately Measure Downloads

Many sites need to know not just who has requested a downloadable file but whether that file was successfully delivered. Fortunately, in many instances, you can use your web measurement application and server logfiles to make this determination.

Measuring downloads can be crucial for many types of web sites, including those belonging to software vendors, content publishers, and computer gaming companies. Accurately measuring downloads from such sites can be challenging. Many common approaches to web analytics do not allow downloads to be measured at all. Page-tagging data collection methods are oriented toward measuring web page views only, not the download of the thousands of other files types that may be distributed through web sites. If tracking downloads is important for your site, then you will need to take this into special consideration when selecting a web analytics product or service. In addition, tracking downloads has become more complicated by the proliferation of "download managers" that are used to speed download times for users.

Multiple Levels of Measurement Can Be Used to Track Downloads

Downloads can be tracked to a lesser or greater degree of granularity and accuracy, depending on how involved you want to get. The first level of granularity includes determining that a visitor requested a download and that the particular download began. The second level of granularity includes determining that a download began and was actually ...

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