Nov 24 2008
This past week was Google Analytics week for some reason. It was in the news and all over the blogs. Controversy *and* good stuff. I, of course, am going to focus on the controversy for this post. Nothing new here, but worth mentioning.
Article Number One. First, read The Disturbing Truth about Google Analytics on iMediaConnection. The post charges that much of the way Google Analytics collects its data is inaccurate and therefore the calculated metrics (i.e., time on site) are inaccurate. The comments were generally negative. Brian Clifton, author of Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics, even said the post was incorrect. Very interesting post and comments overall.
Dainow asserts that the way GA measures visits is wrong because it is including bounces within this metric. I’m confused. Isn’t a visit a visit regardless if it’s also a bounce? According to the Web Analytics Association’s standards it is. I’d want to count a visit whether it’s 1 page or 14 pages. The bounces are just your single page visits.
Thanks to Brian Clifton for clarifying what Dainow was asserting. From Brian’s comment below:
He [Dainow] is stating that for metrics such as time on page and time on site, that GA includes single page visits. The unwritten standard in the field of web analytics is to exclude single page (bounced) visits and the last page of a visit for such calculations …
… So most web analytics tools omit the last page visited for these types of calculations. And if the visit is only one page then then the entire session is omitted. A single page visit is still tracked as a visitor, just excluded from time metrics.
So he was *not* stating that bounces should not be counted as a visit. Whew … I’m glad for that!
[End Post Update]
I’ve given my thoughts on bounce rate before (depending upon the type of site, counting bounce rate by time might make more sense), but not counting single page visits (bounces) in with total visits doesn’t make sense to me.
A couple points to consider – on secure pages, use the secure code. Don’t put the code on your admin pages (for those of you using a blog or some kind of content management system).
9 Responses to “Google Analytics – oh, the controversy”