In the past there have been a few reoccurring myths circulating around about Google Analytics, some of them very farfetched and some almost believable. With the knowledge and viewpoints of a few Google Analytics representatives from the US, this post will outline and clarify a few common misconceptions and ambiguities.
Myth 1: “You get what you pay for” Google Analytics is free, which means you don’t get very much for the service and the system is commonly down allot.
Google Analytics runs on the same network as the most reliable and secure search engine google.com, making down time an extremely rare situation. Google Analytics has a large team focusing solely on keeping user’s data safe and accessible. Google Analytics is also able to help the user benefit from multiple redundancies on their infrastructure around the globe; this also assists in making the program very fast.
If this hasn’t solved the myth, Google also relies on Google Analytics for their own company data and ad words campaigns; it raises the question, why would Google the biggest search engine in history, with incredible amounts of traffic use an analytics program which was unreliable with considerable downtime? This simply does not make any sense.
Myth 2: Google Analytics only uses third-party cookies.
This is totally false! Google Analytics has always used first party cookies. First party cookies are important because they allow Google Analytics to track repeat visitors, so you can see which keyword or referring site etc. is responsible for bringing in qualified buyers.
Myth 3: Google Analytics is basic and doesn’t have any “advanced” features or metrics.
Google Analytics features over 90 standard reports and more than 125 metrics and dimensions covering all aspects from the amount of visits per keyword to internal site searches. The program features customised reports and user defined variables which allows one to create reports allocated to their personal or business needs. Google Analytics reports now feature pivoting, advanced segmentation, secondary dimensions, event tracking and are able to share customisation of each report. The most important thing to note is, Google Analytics’ is basic to use, but definitely not basic in terms of its features and what it can offer.
Myth 4: You can’t segment data in Google Analytics.
Google Analytics in 2008 created and developed three new enterprise features; advanced segmentation, custom reporting and motion charts. The advanced segmentation addition allows you to separate user behaviour in order to see and understand the differences in user views. You can set up segment visits by different dimensions including geographic locations, time on site, referral from site, search engines use and more. A Google analytics user can then create segments further and add and apply them to virtually all the standard reports in Google Analytics’ and also customised reports.
Myth 5: You have to spend allot of money to get “proper” web analysis.
The most important factor to be aware about with Google Analytics is the need to have someone at your organisation that understands how to use and operate Google Analytics as well as being able to put your data to use. Yes, it is possible for someone to go and spend large amounts of money on analytics programs but one must remember this money could be spent on getting results for example on hiring a talented analyst to look at your data.
The question often arises, “if Google analytics is free, what’s in it for Google?” Google benefits from this tool in two ways. If web developers build better sites, it helps Google connect searches with the information they need faster, it also lifts user experience encouraging searches to search frequently on Google. Secondly, if advertises use Google they are able to see their advertising ROI, which helps Google demonstrate the value of Google Adwords. Both these factors demonstrate a strong case study for Goggles ideologies and success.
It is free, so there is no loss in downloading, check it out yourself and see how comprehensive you find it.