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Align Date Comparisons by Day of Week

Date comparison offsetview at full size

Offset date comparisons to align days of the week.

For most purposes in Web analytics, the 31-day period most closely corresponding to October 2012 is not October 2011 but more specifically October 3, 2011 – November 3. 2011.

Because activity on most websites is influenced by day of the week, the one-day offset (or two-day for leap years) more closely aligns the time periods that you’re comparing.

As another example, July and August both contain 31 days, but July 2012 had 5 Sundays while August 2012 had only 4. If Sundays typically see the least traffic to your site, a comparison of several weeks in July and August starting on the same day of the week might provide better insights than a straight month-to-month comparison.

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3 thoughts on “Align Date Comparisons by Day of Week

  1. Pingback: New “Compare to Previous Year” Feature – Don’t Use It | Google Analytics Tip of the Day

  2. I am noticing this as well. I am trying to find a way to compare data in this way. I see GA has the ability to compare data so for instance I can Choose a Day of week like this Sunday and Compare it with the Sunday before that to see if I find trends in page views. Only problems is I would like to stack up more then just 2 time periods. Are you aware (besides creating my own charts) of away that I would set unlimited time periods to view reported data in this way? For instance I say I want to view the hourly pageview numbers for my website for the last 4 Sundays…

    Is there a way to do this?

  3. Jeremy, unfortunately, there’s no way to directly compare more than two time periods, so you’ll have to do some exporting and spreasheet work to achieve this. The best place to start would probably be a custom report – try a Flat custom report type, with Day Index and Day of Week Name defined as dimensions. You should be able to export and then chart from a spreadsheet. Hope this helps.


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