4 Shocking Secrets you may not know about Google Analytics

4 shocking secrets you may not know about google analytics - www.ruleranalytics.com

Just because Google Analytics is the Most Popular Platform for Measuring and Monitoring Website Data doesn’t mean it’s the Best

It is safe to say that Google Analytics is the most popular analytics software in the world. In fact, estimates suggest that as many as 30-50 million websites use Google Analytics to find out information about various visitor metrics.

With such a profusion of data available, which relates to everything from language and location to behaviour and benchmarking, it is possible to measure, manage, and make better visitor and conversion levels, or so you are led to believe.

For all its advantages, there are several problems and pitfalls with Google Analytics, which the search engine giant might not tell you about, but Ruler Analytics will.


Related Post: Start Tracking Phone Calls Today with Ruler Analytics


Data Discrepancy

If you are a webmaster who doesn’t check their site regularly, this won’t affect you much. However, if you or your employees continually browse the company website, carry out testing, and then scrutinise the analytics data on a daily basis, then problems with discrepancy could create wild inaccuracies.

You might already know this, but Google Analytics uses aggregated data, which means grouping visitor information such as page views and bounce rates together into an overall statistic.

Therefore, visiting the company website multiple times a day can have a significant impact on your end of the month figures, as you and your employees will be getting pooled together as just one statistic, which doesn’t tell the whole story.


No Cookie, No Data

In order for Google Analytics to track a visitor, it needs to have access to their cookies. But if for some reason it cannot obtain this information, Google Analytics won’t recognise or register the user.

This flawed method of tracking users can have an impact on returning visitors too. Say for example Sneezy is browsing the Internet and lands on example.co.uk for the first time, but within five minutes completes a conversion and switches off the computer.

Two hours later, his friend Bashful switches on the same computer, looks at the same site and completes the same conversion. Technically, these visits should be classified as two. However, because of the defective way Google Analytics uses cookies, it automatically connects them together and presumes the site received just one unique visitor, which is completely wrong.


What’s the Time?

There is a lot of confusion around how Google Analytics measures the metric Time Spent. Essentially, it will measure the time on site from the first-page load to the last page load. This isn’t a problem for visitors flicking through your entire site, but if they only browse one page then you will encounter an issue.

What if they land on a blog page, spend five minutes reading, extract all the information they need such as your email address or Twitter handle, and then leave? Google will mark this interaction as 0.00 seconds spent on site, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Yet another potential pitfall is if a user visits your site but then leaves the tab open and goes elsewhere. Google Analytics can’t determine whether the user has other tabs open in their browser and will just time out 30 minutes after the last activity.


Data Sampling

This is particularly problematic if you are a large company with numerous employees, as you have no doubt got a lot of traffic coming to your website. So, if you try to run a report that includes a large amount of information, there is every chance Google will use sampling.

Google says, “sampling is widely used in statistical analysis because analysing a subset of data gives similar results to an analysis of a complete data set while returning these results to you more quickly due to reduced processing time.”

The crucial word here is “similar.” Although it’s nice to receive results back in double-quick time, can you really afford to base your website analysis on a sample, when the rest of the data shows something completely different?


Related Post: Why your Google Analytics Bounce Rate is Wrong


So, What can you do to Avoid these Errors?

Sadly, there is no way around the shortcomings of Google Analytics. However, you could always choose another platform to measure, monitor, and manage your website data, such as Ruler Analytics.

Unlike Google, Ruler Analytics does not use aggregated data. Neither does it use cookies. Instead, we track each visitor individually, which means you can pinpoint exactly what pages any user has been on and how long they were there for. You can clearly determine which of your website visits are made by an employee rather than a potential lead too.

Individual visitor tracking reveals a whole host of additional information including:

  • Conversion details – Email, order number, over value, and revenue
  • Phone call details – Number, duration, and a recording
  • Company details – Links to employee and financial listings
  • Location
  • Device browser
  • Operating system

Ruler Analytics also goes above and beyond the standard call of duty by telling you how visitors found your website in the first place, such as SEO or PPC. This means you are privy to an all-encompassing picture of your website visitors’ journeys.

Another awesome thing about Ruler Analytics is the way it can identify multiple visits. Remember our Sneezy and Bashful example? Google uses cookies to track visitors, which means if two separate people land on your website from the same device, it automatically assumes it’s just one user.

But with Ruler Analytics and our individual visitor approach, you are able to go through and observe multiple hits by different people on the same device. For instance:

  • Sneezy: Home page > Features > Call Tracking > Company Identification > Book a Demo > Fill in form (Conversion)
  • Bashful: Home page > Blog > Book a Demo > Fill in form (Conversion)

As for measuring time on site, Ruler Analytics will start the clock as soon as a visitor arrives and won’t press stop until their very last activity, even if they end up staying on the same page. This gives you a much more accurate insight into average time spend.

Regardless of how many visitors your site receives, we won’t sample data either. No matter whether it’s 20 or 2,000 visitors a month, Ruler Analytics will let you pick your own data range, i.e. day, week, or month.

Google Analytics might be the most popular analytics platform around, but that doesn’t mean to say it’s the best. To try Ruler Analytics on for size, take advantage of our FREE 30-day trial by booking a demo. Follow us on Twitter for updates about all things analytics too.




Written by

Marketing executive at Ruler Analytics with a background in SEO, analytics, content marketing and paid social. I help people (like me) close the loop between marketing-generated leads and revenue.