Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic, currently as a platform inside the Google Marketing Platform brand. Google launched the service in November 2005 after acquiring Urchin.
Type of site
|Launched||November 14, 2005|
As of 2019, Google Analytics was 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. Google Analytics can be blocked by browsers, browser extensions, and firewalls.
Google analytics is used to track the website activity of the users such as session duration, pages per session, bounce rate etc. along with the information on the source of the traffic. It can be integrated with Google Ads, with which users can review online campaigns by tracking landing page quality and conversions (goals). Goals might include sales, lead generation, viewing a specific page, or downloading a particular file. 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 shows 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 sites which have traffic of fewer than 5 million pageviews per month (roughly 2 pageviews per second) unless the site is linked to a Google Ads campaign. Google Analytics includes Google Website Optimizer, rebranded as Google Analytics Content Experiments. Google Analytics' Cohort analysis helps in understanding the behaviour of component groups of users apart from your user population. It is beneficial to marketers and analysts for successful implementation of a marketing strategy.
Google acquired Urchin Software Corp. in April 2005. Google's service was 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 WebAnalytics 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 extremely high demand for the service, new sign-ups were suspended only a week later. As capacity was added 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 is able to track even very short 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 can be placed between the
<head>...</head> HTML head tags 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 a new interface design. This version was later updated with some other features such as real-time analytics and goal flow charts.
In October 2012 another new version of Google Analytics was announced, called '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 June 2018, Google introduced Google Marketing Platform, an online advertisement and analytics brand. It consists of two former brands of Google, DoubleClick Digital Marketing and Google Analytics 360.
The file does not usually have to be loaded, however, due to browser caching. Assuming caching is enabled 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 cookies are enabled 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:
Another limitation 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 reports to 500,000 randomly sampled sessions at the profile level for its calculations. While margins of error are 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 very large.
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 in order 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 plugin that turns off data about a page visit being sent to Google, however this browser extension is not available for mobile browsers. Since this plug-in is produced and distributed by Google itself, it has met much discussion and criticism. Furthermore, the realisation of Google scripts tracking user behaviours 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.
It has been anecdotally reported that errors can occur behind proxy servers and multiple firewalls, changing timestamps and registering invalid searches. Webmasters who seek to mitigate Google Analytics' specific privacy issues can employ a number of alternatives having their backends hosted on their own machines. Until its discontinuation, an example of such a product was Urchin WebAnalytics Software from Google itself. On January 20, 2015, the Associated Press reported that HealthCare.gov was providing access to enrollees' personal 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, free Help Center FAQ and Google Groups forum for official Google Analytics product support. New product features are announced on the Google Analytics Blog. Enterprise support is provided through Google Analytics Certified Partners or Google Academy for Ads.
The Google Analytics API is used by third parties to build custom applications such as reporting tools. Many such applications exist. One was built to run on iOS (Apple) devices and is featured in Apple's app store. There are some third party products that 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.
Google Analytics is the most widely used website statistics service. 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.
A later piece of market share analysis claimed that Google Analytics was used by around 49.95% of the top 1,000,000 websites (as ranked in 2010 by Alexa Internet).
In 2012 its use was around 55% of the 10,000 most popular websites. And in August 2013, Google Analytics was used by 66.2% of the 10,000 most popular websites ordered by popularity, as reported by BuiltWith.
- "Get the Power of Google Analytics: Now available in Standard or Premium, whatever your needs are Google Analytics can help". Retrieved 2012-04-08.
- "Our history in depth". Retrieved 2012-07-16.
- Press, The Associated (2005-03-29). "Google Acquires Urchin Software". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
- "Usage of traffic analysis tools for websites". W3Techs. 27 February 2019. Retrieved 27 February 2019. Site frequently updated.
- "Google Analytics for Mobile Apps | Analytics Implementation Guides and Solutions | Google Developers". Google Developers. Retrieved 2017-08-25.
- "Link Google Analytics and Google Ads accounts - Previous - Google Ads Help". support.google.com. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
- How do Goals work in Analytics and Adwords?, Cerebro Marketing, archived from the original on March 6, 2016, retrieved February 17, 2016
- Build new segments, retrieved August 8, 2017
- Enhanced Ecommerce Reports, retrieved February 17, 2016
- "What's happening on your site right now?".
- "Google Analytics Help: Does Google Analytics have a pageview limit?".
- "Website Optimizer". Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Tzemah, Nir. "Helping to Create Better Websites: Introducing Content Experiments". Google Analytics Blog. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
- "Here comes Measure Map".
- Muret, Paul (January 20, 2012). "The End of an Era for Urchin Software". Google Analytics. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- Muret, Paul. "The End of an Era for Urchin Software". Google Analytics. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- "Google Analytics - zenbatetanola". sites.google.com. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
- "Asynchronous Tracking Code".
- "Google Tag Manager: A Step-By-Step Guide | Analytics & Optimization". online-behavior.com. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
- "The New Google Analytics Available to Everyone".
- "Introducing Flow Visualization: visualizing visitor flow".
- "Re-imagining Google Analytics to support the versatile usage patterns of today's users".
- "About Universal Analytics - Analytics Help". support.google.com.
- Muret, Paul (2016-03-15). "Introducing the Google Analytics 360 suite". Google. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
- "Add gtag.js to your site".
- "Introducing simpler brands and solutions for advertisers and publishers". Google. 2018-06-27. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
- Spangler, Todd (2018-06-27). "Google Killing Off DoubleClick, AdWords Names in Rebranding of Ad Products". Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
- "Tracking Code Overview | Google Analytics". Google Developers.
- "Cookies and User Identification". developers.google.com.
- "Google Analytics: UTM Link Tagging Explained".
- "Google Analytics for Mobile package". Archived from the original on 2013-01-24.
- Chetty, Marshini; Narayanan, Arvind; Vitak, Jessica; Mathur, Arunesh (2018). Characterizing the Use of Browser-Based Blocking Extensions To Prevent Online Tracking. pp. 103–116. ISBN 9781939133106.
- Brian Clifton. "Accuracy Whitepaper for web analytics".
- "Segmentation Options in Google Analytics". Archived from the original on 2009-06-22.
- "Google Groups".
- "Google Analytics Code is Slowing Down My Site - Analytics Market". 2019-01-27.
- "Is Google Analytics Slow or Not? — Woopra". 4 February 2009. Archived from the original on 15 February 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
- "Google Analytics Launches Asynchronous Tracking - The official Google Code blog". 1 December 2009.
- "Making the Web Faster".
- "Tracking Code: The _gat Global Object". January 24, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
- Albanesius, Chloe (May 25, 2010). "Opt Out of Google Analytics Data Gathering With New Beta Tool". PC Magazine.
- "Greater choice and transparency for Google Analytics". May 25, 2010.
- "The NoScript Firefox extension provides extra protection for Firefox, Flock, Seamonkey and other Mozilla-based browsers".
- Greenberg, Andy (December 11, 2008). "The Virus Filters". Forbes.
- Government health care website quietly sharing personal data. Associated Press
- "Analytics Academy".
- "Google Testing Center".
- "Analytics Help".
- "Analytics Blog".
- "Google Analytics Partner Services and Technologies".
- "Google Analytics - Google Developers".
- "Apps - Google Analytics Partner Services and Technologies".
- "Analytics by Net Conversion".
- "Google Analytics Tracking for WSO2 API Manager".
- "API Limits and Quotas - Analytics Management API - Google Developers".
- "Google Analytics dominates the top 500 websites". Pingdom. 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- "La terminología de Google Analytics #marketing #seo". Frikipandi - Web de Tecnología - Lo más Friki de la red. April 3, 2014.
- "Google Analytics Market Share". MetricMail. Archived from the original on 2010-08-27. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- "Google Biz Chief: Over 10M Websites Now Using Google Analytics". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
- "Google Analytics Usage Statistics".