Google Analytics

what is google analytics ?

Google Analytics is a suite of website traffic tools that helps you monitor your website traffic as well as where your traffic is coming from and lots more.

Google Analytics is a free Web analytics service that provides statistics and basic analytical tools for search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing purposes. The service is available to anyone with a Google account. Google bought Urchin Software Corporation in April 2005 and used that company’s Urchin on Demand product as the basis for its current service.

Google Analytics features include:

• Data visualization tools including a dashboard, scorecards and motion charts, which display changes in data over time.

• Segmentation for analysis of subsets, such as conversions.

• Custom reports.

• Email-based sharing and communication.

• Integration with other Google products, such as AdWords, Public Data Explorer and Website Optimizer.

Google Analytics is geared toward small and medium-sized retail websites. The service has limitations that make it less suited to more complex websites and larger enterprises. For example, the system collects data through a JavaScript page tag inserted in the code of pages the user wants to collect data on. The page tag functions as a Web bug to gather visitor information. However, because it’s reliant on cookies, the system can’t collect data for users who have disabled them. Google also uses sampling in its reports rather than analyzing all available data.

Furthermore, some security experts have raised concerns about privacy issues in Google Analytics. Through the Google Analytics Dashboard, users can collect information on people whose websites link to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

There are a number of commercial products for enterprises that require more advanced Web analytics, including those from Omniture, Webtrends, IBM’s Cognos product line and Oracle WebCenter.

Limitations

In addition, Google Analytics for Mobile Package allows Google Analytics to be applied to mobile websites. The Mobile Package contains server-side tracking codes that use PHP, JavaServer Pages, ASP.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. This prevents 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 largest potential impact on data accuracy comes from users deleting or blocking Google Analytics cookies. Without cookies being 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 which 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”.

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