Friday, 18 June 2021 14:58

Google Analytics: Not Worth It?

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Google Analytics: Blocked by Client Google Analytics: Blocked by Client

Lately I've been wondering if the Google Analytics script is going extinct. A recent political campaign gave me some statistics to examine, and I'm having a tough time reconciling Google Analytics data with my web server stats.  It seems the web server, and the CMS, are reporting a lot more traffic than Google recognizes, likely because Google Analytics' script is blocked by many ad block scripts, privacy oriented browsers, etc.

Visitor Traffic Analysis:

Time Period: April & May, 2021

  • Google Analytics: 1500 users, 2800 page views
  • Server Stats: 13000 visits, 91,000 page views
  • Article Counter 35,000 hits

If my math is correct, Google Analytics missed between 75% (if comparing with my server's traffic report) and 90% of my site's traffic (comparing with the article counter).  

Upon doing some research it seems there is a lot of resistance to Google Analytics in general, due to privacy concerns. A popular open source alternative, Mamoto, indicates on their FAQ that "Do Not Track" feature in browsers, along with various adblock plugins, will prevent their tracking system from working.  This has been, and will be, a perpetual cat and mouse game, someone came up with a workaround that 'cloaks' the Mamoto script, making it invisible to the ad blocking scripts.

Why?

Publishers and website owners want better statistics to make better decisions about their website.

Users, visitors (the People) are becoming increasingly concerned about their privacy.  

Don't take my word for it:

  • It’s owned by Google, the largest ad-tech company in the world
  • It’s a bloated script that affects your site speed
  • It’s overkill for the majority of site owners
  • It’s a liability considering GDPR, CCPA and other privacy regulations
  • It uses cookies so you must obtain consent to store cookies
  • It’s blocked by many plugins and browsers so the data is not very accurate
  • It requires an extensive privacy policy
  • It’s abused by referral spam that skews the data

(source)

Google Analytics: on the Chopping Block?

(This is strange for me to suggest, as Google Analytics has been a recommended part of every website that I've built since 2007.)  For many, one possible solution would be to simply remove the Google Analytics visitor tracking script from your site. 

Instead, rely on the server-level stats that come with your standard hosting account. For most of my clients this means logging their cPanel dashboard and using "AWStats."

Read 260 times Last modified on Friday, 18 June 2021 15:36

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