Google Analytics is a premium web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic, currently as a platform inside the Google Marketing Platform brand. Google launched the service in November 2005 after acquiring developer Urchin.
Google Analytics became the most widely used web analytics service on the web. Google Analytics provides an SDK that allows gathering usage data from iOS and Android app, known as Google Analytics for Mobile Apps.
Integrated with Google AdWords, users can now review online campaigns by tracking landing page quality and conversions (goals). Goals might include sales, lead generation, viewing a specific page, or downloading a particular file. Google Analytics’ approach is to show high-level, dashboard-type data for the casual user, and more in-depth data further into the report set. Google Analytics analysis can identify poorly performing pages with techniques such as funnel visualization, where visitors came from (referrers), how long they stayed on the website and their geographical position. It also provides more advanced features, including custom visitor segmentation. Google Analytics e-commerce reporting can track sales activity and performance. The e-commerce reports shows a site’s transactions, revenue, and many other commerce-related metrics.
On September 29, 2011, Google Analytics launched Real Time analytics, enabling a user to have insight about visitors currently on the site. A user can have 100 site profiles. Each profile generally corresponds to one website. It is limited to sites which have traffic of fewer than 5 million pageviews per month (roughly 2 pageviews per second) unless the site is linked to an AdWords campaign. Google Analytics includes Google Website Optimizer, rebranded as Google Analytics Content Experiments. Google Analytics’ Cohort analysis helps in understanding the behaviour of component groups of users apart from your user population. It is beneficial to marketers and analysts for successful implementation of a marketing strategy.
9 Powerful Google Analytics Features You Probably Never Knew: VIDEO
The file does not usually have to be loaded, however, due to browser caching. Assuming caching is enabled in the browser, it downloads ga.js only once at the start of the visit. Furthermore, as all websites that implement Google Analytics with the ga.js code use the same master file from Google, a browser that has previously visited any other website running Google Analytics will already have the file cached on their machine.
In addition to transmitting information to a Google server, the tracking code sets a first party cookie (If cookies are enabled in the browser) on each visitor’s computer. This cookie stores anonymous information called the ClientId. Before the launch of Universal Analytics, there were several cookies storing information such as whether the visitor had been to the site before (new or returning visitor), the timestamp of the current visit, and the referrer site or campaign that directed the visitor to the page (e.g., search engine, keywords, banner, or email).
If the visitor arrived at the site by clicking on a link tagged with UTM parameters (Urchin Traffic Monitor) such as:
then the tag values are passed to the database too.
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 to their query, Google Analytics limits reports to 500,000 randomly sampled sessions at the profile level for its calculations. While margins of error are indicated for the visits metric, margins of error are not provided for any other metrics in the Google Analytics reports. For small segments of data, the margin of error can be very large.