Google Analytics classes as natural traffic anything that is not Google Adwords. Any other type of paid ad campaign from another platform then are not considered.
Using Baidu Tongji
As you may already have noticed, Google Analytics recently released a new feature that enables you to check what happens on your website in real time.
Real Time Analytics Data
After launching real time web analytics for Blogger, Google now offers a solution for any website.
The new feature named “Google Analytics Real Time” provides you with real time web traffic analytics. In the past, webmasters had to wait for up to 24 hours after visits to analyze data.
With real time reports, you can view the activity on your site as it happens, meaning you can drill into the traffic type (new vs. returning), top active pages, referrals, keywords and geographic locations driving people to your website.
Note that real time reports are only available in the new version of Google Analytics (you can simply enable it in your Google Analytics account). Profile filters aren’t supported.
Measure Campaign Tracking
The real time analytics feature enables you to monitor the current activity on your website, but you can use it to test campaign tracking prior to launching campaigns.
If you want to be sure that your tracking is correctly implemented before launching a campaign, you can easily preview that everything is set up correctly by testing the real time data yourself first.
Measure Social Media Impact
This new real time feature can be really useful for Social Media Marketing. Indeed, you can measure the immediate impact of your social media updates.
For example, if you write a new blog post and share it on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or Weibo, you can see in real time how much traffic each channel is driving to the blog (don’t forget to tag the links your share).
This real time information is also interesting, especially as you stop receiving visits from a channel, you can therefore engage your community again.
Other Real-Time Web Analytics in Danger?
With the launch of this new functionality, Google Analytics clearly enters in competition with web analytics companies that offer real time data.
Among the most popular tools, I can quote Woopra, Chartbeat, Getclicky, and Mixpanel that offer free and premium versions.
Even though Google Analytics offers very useful insights, I think those dedicated services still usually offer most advanced functionalities, notably regarding the visitor-by-visitor view.
Did you try the new real time functionality of Google Analytics? What do you think of it?
Google Analytics revealed a new feature named Flow Visualization last week during the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco.
Flow visualization provides users with a clearer and more intuitive view of visitors' behaviors on their website.
Divided into two parts, Flow Visualization first offers the section entitled Visitors Flow. With interactive curves, the feature presents a detailed view of visitors’ paths in order to know where they entered and left the website.
Click to enlarge
The second tool named Goal Flow displays a similar view but focusing on objectives. It enables the user to monitor several KPIs such as the relative volume of visits with precise criteria: referrer, browser, etc.
Flow visualization is not active on every Google Analytics account yet but it should be largely deployed on the weeks to come.
Google Analytics recently announced an important modification in the tool preventing users from tracking query terms search by signed-in users.
This announcement will not result in the end of web analytics but will bring significant changes. Many web analytics and SEO professionals already complained about it in the comments of Google Analytics’ blog post.
Google search goes secure
That result is actually the consequence of a decision taken by Google to make the search more “secure”.
Indeed, the search engine decided to now make SSL search as default search experience for signed-in users on Google.com.
Google that unveiled secure search last year said its aim was to “protect user’s privacy”.
Bad news for web analytics
The main consequence will be that Google Analytics, as well as any other web analytics, will no longer report you the query terms searched by signed in users to reach your website.
However, this will have no effect for visitors who are not signed in, as well as people coming from PPC (paid search).
Note that signed-in users that visit your website after an organic Google search will still be recognized as so. Conversations rates and other analytics data will not be affected.
Impacts on SEO
This move does clearly not facilitate SEO work. If your web analytics do not enable you to see keywords searched by users, you will not be able to understand how visitors access your website.
Google said that the signed in user organic search visits could be tracked via the token “(not provided)” within Organic Search Traffic Keyword reporting.
Please note that referrals will not be affected by this change. However, everybody would agree that this change would not help measure marketing efforts.
Promotion of Google Analytics premium version?
In addition to the release of a real-time web analytics, Google recently unveiled a premium version of Google Analytics enabling companies to access more resources, process a higher volume of data and benefit of 24/7 support.
If tracking organic keywords is accessible only to premium users, I think Google would have made a terrible move towards “standard” users.
Following this announcement, I still wonder why:
- Knowing the query searched by my visitors breaches any kind of privacy. I see neither the name of the person, nor his IP address in the Google Analytics reports.
- Google said it would affect only a minority of my traffic. I am not sure that the percentage of users making a search query while logged in on their Google account is so minor.
- Google did not give a choice to signed in users by providing them with an option for secure search.
- It is still possible to track keywords searched by paid search visitors. What about their privacy?
- Google is doing evil to webmasters while user experience has always been in the core of their business.
It would be very interesting to analyze whether this change has any impacts in terms of people using Google Analytics & Search.
I would be glad to hear your opinion about it. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Google's blog publishing platform Blogger has introduced real-time statistics feature for its users.
Blogger integrates real-time web analytics
Launched in 1999, Blogger is a blog storage service that allows private or multi-users blogs. It's currently unavailable from China.
The real-time feature can be found under the statistics section on draft.blogger.com with no required code to install.
On the new statistics page, you can see a tab named ‘Now’, which gives you an almost real-time overview with insight into your visitor traffic, including top pages, referral data, browser data, and their geographic location.
The new feature also displays popular search keywords to find out what your visitors are looking for.
What about Google Analytics?
Blogger analytics is simple to manage but limited. Contrary to Google Analytics, it doesn't include bounce rates, campaigns, and ad conversions.
However, Google Analytics doesn't provide real-time web analytics yet. Why doesn't Google Analytics have this feature? That's a good question since there’s obviously no technical limitation.
Apparently, Google believes that most users are simply not interested in seeing real-time statistics rather than a good overview of 24-hour traffic and longer periods of time. But maybe introducing real-time web analytics to Blogger is a first step to display the feature in Google Analytics in the future?
If you're interested in web analytics, you can also read our article about why Google Analytics data differ from Alexa.
Let me give you some explanations about the differences between these two tools.
How does Alexa estimate website traffic ?
Alexa actually uses a toolbar to measure website statistics. Once someone installed it, the toolbar collects data on browsing behavior which is transmitted to Alexa's website where it is stored and analyzed.
This information is the basis for the company's web traffic reporting but other data sources beyond Alexa Toolbar are taken into account (I guess those could be domain name age, number of indexed pages in search engines, etc.).
How does Google Analytics work ?
In addition, the GATC sets first party cookies on each visitor's computer. This is used to store information such as whether the visitor has been to the site before (new or returning visitor) and what was the referrer site or campaign the visitor came from e.g. search engine, email etc.
Why Google Analytics and Alexa are different
As you could read above, Google Analytics and Alexa use quite different systems to estimate website traffic, therefore it's not surprising if they obtain different results.
First, regarding Alexa, it's clear that the system has its limits: Alexa largely depends on the number of people using its toolbar. There can be some controversy over how representative Alexa's user base is of typical Internet behavior, notably for low-traffic sites. The largest is the community, the more accurate the data are. Unfortunately, Alexa doesn't provide information on the number of Alexa Toolbar active users (it could be something like several millions).
Second, concerning Google Analytics, the largest potential impact on data accuracy comes from users deleting or blocking cookies. Without cookies being set, Google Analytics cannot collect data. Plus, many ad filtering programs and extensions (such as Firefox's Adblock) can block the GATC. This prevents some users from being tracked, and leads to holes in the collected data.
Another limitation of Google Analytics for large websites is the use of sampling in the generation of many of its reports. To reduce the load on their servers and to provide users with a relatively quick response for their query, Google Analytics indeed limits reports to 200,000 randomly sampled visits at the profile level for its calculations.
As a conclusion, Google Analytics appears more accurate for small and medium-traffic websites than Alexa, but the latter can provide good estimations for websites having more traffic.