There are many complaints that have cropped up regarding Google Analytics, which can be expected considering that it is the most widely used application of its kind. Being on top isn’t going to come without a few shots, although it must be noted that the capabilities of a free program will always be limited in some respect.
Instead of taking each figure at face value, below are reasons why you should look closely at what you see from Google Analytics.
1. Conversion rates and metrics are provided in percentages, and not real values. While having access to representative percentage figures is useful, it cannot match what can be garnered from the actual hits and hard data. Additionally, the Google Analytics conversion rate includes bounces, which can eschew data and make it harder to know if a pitch is working.
2. The figure provided for the number of visits to your site can be misleading. Instead of accounting for the number of people that actually came to the site and looked around, it is the number of people who just simply stopped by.
3. The exit rate includes bounces as well. Knowing the exit rate, like the conversion rate, can be tremendously helpful in reviewing the effectiveness of your strategies to attract visitors and keep them engaged. However, by including bounces in the exit rate it muddles the data of those entering and those staying.
5. Its Site Overlay report is nearly inoperable. The purpose of the Site Overlay report is to better assist you in understanding how visitors are reacting to the navigation and content offerings of your site. However, it unfortunately includes stats created by duplicate links, which will put results way off target.
6. Ad filtering programs can block the tracking code of Google Analytics. If enforced, by such extensions like Ad Block and No Script from FireFox, this means some traffic data goes uncollected.
7. Google Analytics cookies are blocked or deleted. If cookies are not enabled, then Google Analytics will not collect data from that user, making their visit non-existent. Thus, site owners are at the mercy of the user’s demand of privacy and protection.
8. Margins of error in sampling can be big in small data segments because of limits instituted to random samples in reports.
Looks like lack of supportive online customer service is not the only issue with Google Analytics.
The whole concept of analytics is to investigate quality data to formulate informative decisions and a reliable game plan to meet goals. Inaccurate data can cause major unnecessary mistakes, which is why it’s important to double check data from multiple analytics sources. What inaccuracies have you found in your data, and what did you do to resolve them?