Google Analytics

Put simply, Google Analytics is the most popular tool you can use to measure those visitors. You shouldn’t use a tool because it is popular, though. Google’s tremendous cloud infrastructure allows them to rip through very large data sets rather quickly. They want to use data to make informed business decisions.

Description

Google Analytics

Google Analytics became the most widely used web analytics service on the web. Google Analytics provides an SDK that allows gathering usage data from iOS and Android app, known as Google Analytics for Mobile Apps.

Features

Integrated with Google AdWords, users can now review online campaigns by tracking landing page quality and conversions (goals). Goals might include sales, lead generation, viewing a specific page. Google Analytics’ approach is to show high-level, dashboard-type data for the casual user, and more in-depth data further into the report set. Google Analytics analysis can identify poorly performing pages with techniques such as funnel visualization, where visitors came from (referrers), how long they stayed on the website, and their geographical position. It also provides more advanced features, including custom visitor segmentation. Google Analytics e-commerce reporting can track sales activity and performance. The e-commerce reports show a site’s transactions, revenue, and many other commerce-related metrics.

On September 29, 2011, Google Analytics launched Real-Time analytics, enabling a user to have insight about visitors currently on the site. A user can have 100 site profiles. Each profile generally corresponds to one website. It is limited to places that have the traffic of fewer than 5 million page views per month (roughly two pageviews per second) unless the site linked to an AdWords campaign. Google Analytics includes Google Website Optimizer, rebranded as Google Analytics Content Experiments. Google Analytics’ Cohort analysis helps in understanding the behavior of component groups of users apart from your user population. It is beneficial to marketers and analysts for the successful implementation of a marketing strategy.

History

Google acquired Urchin Software Corp. in April 2005. Google’s service developed from Urchin on Demand. The system also brings ideas from Adaptive Path, whose product, Measure Map, was acquired and used in the redesign of Google Analytics in 2006. Google continued to sell the standalone, installable Urchin Web Analytics Software through a network of value-added resellers until discontinuation on March 28, 2012. The Google-branded version was rolled out in November 2005 to anyone who wished to sign up. However, due to the extremely high demand for the service, new sign-ups were suspended only a week later. As capacity grew to the system, Google began using a lottery-type invitation-code model. Before August 2006, Google was sending out batches of invitation codes as server availability permitted; since mid-August 2006, the service has been fully available to all users – whether they use Google for advertising or not.

The newer version of Google Analytics tracking code is known as the asynchronous tracking code, which Google claims is significantly more sensitive and accurate, and can track even concise activities on the website. The previous version delayed page loading, and so, for performance reasons, it was generally placed just before the </body> body close HTML tag. The new code placed between the <head>…</head> HTML head cards because, once triggered, it runs in parallel with page loading. In April 2011, Google announced the availability of a new version of Google Analytics featuring multiple dashboards, more custom report options, and modern interface design. This version later updated with some other features, such as real-time analytics and goal flow charts.

In October 2012, another new version of Google Analytics announced, ‘Universal Analytics.’ The key differences from the previous versions were cross-platform tracking, flexible tracking code to collect data from any device, and the introduction of custom dimensions and custom metrics

In March 2016, Google released Google Analytics 360, which is a software suite that provides analytics on return on investment and other marketing indicators. Google Analytics 360 includes five main products: Analytics, Tag Manager, Optimize, Data Studio, Surveys, Attribution, and Audience Center.

In October 2017, a new version of Google Analytics was announced, called Global Site Tag. Its stated purpose was to unify the tagging system to simplify implementation.

In June 2018, Google introduced the Google Marketing Platform, an online advertisement, and an analytics brand. It consists of two former brands of Google, DoubleClick Digital Marketing and Google Analytics 360.

Technology

The file does not usually have to be loaded, however, due to browser caching. Assuming enabling caching in the browser, it downloads ga.js only once at the start of the visit. Furthermore, as all websites that implement Google Analytics with the ga.js code use the same master file from Google, a browser that has previously visited any other website running Google Analytics will already have the file cached on their machine.

In addition to transmitting information to a Google server, the tracking code sets a first-party cookie (If enabling cookies in the browser) on each visitor’s computer. This cookie stores anonymous information called the ClientId. Before the launch of Universal Analytics, there were several cookies storing information such as whether the visitor had been to the site before (new or returning visitor), the timestamp of the current visit, and the referrer site or campaign that directed the visitor to the page (e.g., search engine, keywords, banner, or email).

If the visitor arrived at the site by clicking on a link tagged with UTM parameters (Urchin Traffic Monitor) such as:

http://toWebsite.com?utm_medium=ppc&utm_source=somesearchengine.com&utm_campaign=fall_promotional_discount

then the tag values are passed to the database too.

Limitations

Besides, Google Analytics for Mobile Package allows Google Analytics applied to mobile websites. The Mobile Package contains server-side tracking codes that use PHPJavaServer PagesASP.NET, or Perl for its server-side language. However, many ad filtering programs and extensions (such as Firefox’s Adblock and NoScript) and the mobile phone app Disconnect Mobile can block the Google Analytics Tracking Code. Preventing some traffic and users from being tracked and leads to holes in the collected data. Also, privacy networks like Tor will mask the user’s actual location and present inaccurate geographical data. Some users do not have JavaScript-enabled/capable browsers or turn this feature off. However, these limitations are considered small—affecting only a small percentage of visits.

The most substantial potential impact on data accuracy comes from users deleting or blocking Google Analytics cookies. Without cookies set, Google Analytics cannot collect data. Any individual web user can block or delete cookies resulting in the data loss of those visits for Google Analytics users. Website owners can encourage users not to disable cookies, for example, by making visitors more comfortable using the site through posting a privacy policy. These limitations affect the majority of web analytics tools that use page tags (usually JavaScript programs) embedded in web pages to collect visitor data, store it in cookies on the visitor’s computer, and transmit it to a remote database by pretending to load a tiny graphic “beacon. “

Limitations of Google Analytics for large websites is the use of sampling in the generation of many of its reports. To reduce the load on their servers and to provide users with a relatively quick response to their query, Google Analytics limits statements to 500,000 randomly sampled sessions at the profile level for its calculations. While margins of error indicated for the visits metric, margins of error are not provided for any other metrics in the Google Analytics reports. For small segments of data, the margin of error can be substantial.

Performance

There have been several online discussions about the impact of Google Analytics on site performance. However, Google introduced asynchronous JavaScript code in December 2009 to reduce the risk of slowing the loading of pages tagged with the ga.js script.

Privacy

Due to its ubiquity, Google Analytics raises some privacy concerns. Whenever someone visits a website that uses Google Analytics, Google tracks that visit via the users’ IP address to determine the user’s approximate geographic location. To meet German legal requirements, Google Analytics can anonymize the IP address. Google has also released a browser plug-in that turns off data about a page visit sent to Google; however, this browser extension is not available for mobile browsers. Since this plug-in produced and distributed. Google itself, it has met much discussion and criticism. Furthermore, the realization of Google scripts tracking user behaviors has spawned the production of multiple, often open-source, browser plug-ins to reject tracking cookies. These plug-ins allow users to block Google Analytics and similar sites from tracking their activities. However, partially because of new European privacy laws, most modern browsers allow users to reject tracking cookies, though Flash cookies can be a separate problem.

ReportS show that errors can occur behind proxy servers and multiple firewalls, changing timestamps, and registering invalid searches.[43] Webmasters who seek to mitigate Google Analytics’ specific privacy issues can employ several alternatives having their backends hosted on their machines. Until its discontinuation, an example of such a product was Urchin WebAnalytics Software from Google itself.[44][45] On January 20, 2015, the Associated Press reported that HealthCare.gov was providing access to enrollees’ data to private companies that specialized in advertising, mentioning Google Analytics specifically.

Support and training

Google offers free Google Analytics IQ Lessons, Google Analytics certification test, open Help Center FAQ, and Google Groups forum for official Google Analytics product support. New product features announced on the Google Analytics Blog. Enterprise support provided through Google Analytics Certified Partners.

Third-party support

The Google Analytics API is used by third parties to build custom applications such as reporting tools. Many such forms exist. One was built to run on iOS (Apple) devices and featured in Apple’s app store. Some third-party products also provide Google Analytics-based tracking. The Management API, Core Reporting API, MCF Reporting API, and Real-Time Reporting API are subject to limits and quotas.

Popularity

Google Analytics is the most widely used website statistics service, in 2012 in use on around 55% of the 10,000 most popular websites. Another market share analysis claims that Google Analytics used at about 49.95% of the top 1,000,000 sites (as ranked in 2010 by Alexa).

In August 2013, Google Analytics used by 66.2% of the 10,000 most popular websites ordered by popularity, as reported by Built With.[59] And in May 2008, Pingdom released a survey stating that 161 of the 500 (32%) biggest sites globally, according to their Alexa rank, were using Google Analytics.

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