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Browser stats: reality check

23rd December 2011
Categories: analytics

A few years ago, too many to really remember, I wrote a blog post on how Firefox was creeping up on Internet Explorer in the access logs (there was no Google Analytics in those days, we had to rely on tools like Webalizer) and how one day Firefox and IE might be sort of equal in take-up.  In addition, our customers with a more techical fanbase were seeing Firefox and Safari users in significant numbers (but still not topping IE).

This year I have re-run my original survey, taking a sample of customer websites again - so I do stress that this is not a scientific survey in the sense that it does not represent the internet as a whole.

To my (mild) surprise, IE is still on top, but not much.  At around 33% on average across a variety of websites, including consumer websites.  Followed closely by Firefox at 27%, then Safari, then Chrome a poor 4th place.

However, on the more technically minded sites, Chrome is a clear winner, at 34% of users, followed by Firefox just pipping IE at the post, both on roughly 26%.

Within IE, across the whole sample, on average IE6 lags behind 7, 8, and 9, which is good news for users and developers alike, for reasons explained in previous posts.

Social sharing

Google analytics also reveals what it calls 'socially engaged' visits to our customers websites, visits prompted by sharing on twitter and facebook, for example.  These currently make up less than 1% of visits, but the presence of an emerging trend is obviously important.  If you're reading this and you're not giving your users a chance to share on facebook or twitter, or to +1 your web pages, have you been missing out on 1% of sales this year, 2% in 2012, 4% in 2013?

Mobile visits come in at 4% of all visits.  Again, this is an emerging trend that many website owners need to address and encourage.

The need for speed

Finally, Google Analytics also tells you how long your web pages take to load, which is an excellent measure of how much you're annoying users (little known fact: it also affects web page rankings).  Are your pages loading in under 3 seconds?  If not, it could be that you're on massively shared hosting, or the pages are built in an inefficient way, or both.  Come and talk to us!

It's likely that this is my last blog post before Christmas, so to all our readers:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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