Visits, visitors and cookies - the details
We regularly receive questions how Snoobi Analytics views visits, visitors or unique visitors. Since the information can be found in multiple documents, we figured it would be good for our clients to create this overview of how things work in Snoobi Analytics.
(1) What is a visit
A visit to your website or portal happens when the user uses their web browser to look at your web pages.
For Snoobi to record a visit, the analytics code will need to run. If you have a stringent cookie statement and do not allow any code to run when a user does not allow any analytics, Snoobi is unable to record the visit.
- IF the user has browser settings that does prevent any cookie to be set, Snoobi will still record the visit, but every visit will be unique and has no visitor id.
- IF the Snoobi tracking code is set to cookies=session (or 0 or off), Snoobi will place a cookie with a unique visitor id on the browser of the user, but only for the duration of the session. Snoobi will be unable to read cookies with visitor id's from previous sessions.
- IF the Snoobi setting (Settings | Privacy settings | Enforce session cookies only) are set to 'Enabled' then that setting overrides any setting made in the analytics code.
- IF the Snoobi setting (Settings | Privacy settings | Privacy settings) is set to 'Account level', then all IP-addresses as well as visitor id's are anonymized, to comply with the strictest GDPR-rules.
- IF the Snoobi tracking code is set to cookies=on (or 1 or true), then Snoobi will place a cookie with a unique visitor id on the browser of the user to be read by Snoobi for future sessions. Note only Snoobi can read these and only on the website where they were placed, as they are only 1st party cookies by default.
A visit has a maximum duration of 30 minutes. 30 minutes after the last recorded click of a user on your website the session will always end. If the user refreshes the web page or returns to your site after this period, the visit will be viewed as a new visit.
(2) What is a visitor
If a visit is recorded according to the conditions under (1), then the following applies:
- When a new visit is recorded Snoobi checks the visitor id (which is an element in the cookie).
- If cookies were allowed and stored, and there is a match with a previous visit, then this is viewed as a returning visitor.
- If the user has removed cookies, or the browser automatically removes cookies, then Snoobi has no way to determine a returning visitor as we cannot match it with a previous visit. This results in a new visit by a new visitor.
- If the Snoobi settings (either in the analytics code or in the settings) are set to 'Session cookies only', or 'Account level' Privacy settings then Snoobi cannot determine the visit as coming from a returning visitor as we have no cookie with visitor id to match against.
(3) Summary - what impacts visitor recognition
- Website User:
The user, by accepting or not accepting cookies, and by allowing the browser to store and re-use these cookies (and with that cookie, the visitor ID)
- Website Owner:
The website owner, by changing parameters in the Snoobi tracking code (cookies=session, cookies=on etc.), or by not allowing the Snoobi tracking code to run when the user doesn't allow analytics cookies, for instance by using strict cookie management tools on the website.
- Snoobi Settings:
The settings in Snoobi, either by overruling the cookie settings or by using the default 'Account level' setting for GDPR-compliancy.
The Privacy settings in Snoobi can only be changed by Snoobi Service on request of the website owner.
Snoobi's support team has extensive experience with this sometimes complex topic.
While we cannot provide you with legal advice we can work with you to optimize your settings.