Many times the Cloudflare Total Unique Visitors count is much different than Google Analytics Unique Visitors Count. In this article, we're going to figure out why.
If you've recently checked your Cloudflare analytics tab, you may have been greeted with surprising data. The Cloudflare analytics tab displays three major statistics. Total unique visitors, maximum unique visitors, and minimum unique visitors. The first is measured in a period of 24 hours, while the other two are measured per hour.
If you compare this data to data collected by Google Analytics in the same period of time, you'll find that there's a massive deviation between the two datasets. Typically, Cloudflare displays almost 10 times the amount of unique visitors when compared to Google Analytics.
We saw this interesting behavior, Cloudflare total unique visitors being much different than Google Analytics total unique visitors on several client websites running the Cloudflare Free plan, and wanted to figure out why exactly the data was so different.
It also begs the question, which data set is the correct one? Am I really getting 1000 visitors per day, or am I only getting 100? Not only is getting accurate data important for your own use, but if you want to run advertisements or sponsorship deals on your website, you need to have a perfect understanding of how many people are visiting your site.
There's a reason why Cloudflare analytics and Google Analytics data is so different. Both of the services have discrepancies because one measures total unique visitors different than the other service. Let's take a look at how Cloudflare and Google Analytics measure total unique visitors, which should make the reason why the data is so different apparent.
To calculate total unique visitors, Cloudflare gathers its data differently. Total unique visitors to Cloudflare is every unique IP address that makes a request to their DNS or CDN. As soon as that unique IP address makes the request, Cloudflare counts it as a visit.
To summarize why Google Analytics and Cloudflare data is so different, the short answer is: both use total unique visitors as a label, but define this label in different ways.
To Cloudflare, a unique visitor is any IP address that doesn't have a match for the same period. Google excludes bots as visitors while Cloudflare includes bots visitors.
We hope that this article helped clarify why exactly Cloudflare analytics and Google Analytics display different data.
If you have any similar questions or comments, leave them in the section below!