Google Analytics is a 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.
Type of site
|Website||Google Marketing Platform Analytics|
|Commercial||Yes (terms of service)|
|Launched||November 14, 2005|
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.
Google acquired Urchin Software Corp. in April 2005. Google's service was developed from Urchin on Demand. The system also brings ideas from Adaptive Path, whose product, Measure Map, was acquired and used in the redesign of Google Analytics in 2006. Google continued to sell the standalone, installable Urchin WebAnalytics Software through a network of value-added resellers until discontinuation on March 28, 2012. The Google-branded version was rolled out in November 2005 to anyone who wished to sign up. However, due to extremely high demand for the service, new sign-ups were suspended only a week later. As capacity was added to the system, Google began using a lottery-type invitation-code model. Before August 2006, Google was sending out batches of invitation codes as server availability permitted; since mid-August 2006 the service has been fully available to all users – whether they use Google for advertising or not.
The newer version of Google Analytics tracking code is known as the asynchronous tracking code, which Google claims is significantly more sensitive and accurate, and is able to track even very short activities on the website. The previous version delayed page loading, and so, for performance reasons, it was generally placed just before the
</body> body close HTML tag. The new code can be placed between the
<head>...</head> HTML head tags because, once triggered, it runs in parallel with page loading. In April 2011 Google announced the availability of a new version of Google Analytics featuring multiple dashboards, more custom report options, and a new interface design. This version was later updated with some other features such as real-time analytics and goal flow charts.
In October 2012 another new version of Google Analytics was announced, called 'Universal Analytics.' The key differences from the previous versions were: cross-platform tracking, flexible tracking code to collect data from any device, and the introduction of custom dimensions and custom metrics 
In March 2016, Google released Google Analytics 360, which is a software suite that provides analytics on return on investment and other marketing indicators. Google Analytics 360 includes five main products: Analytics, Tag Manager, Optimize, Data Studio, Surveys, Attribution, and Audience Center.
In October 2017 a new version of Google Analytics was announced, called Global Site Tag. Its stated purpose was to unify the tagging system to simplify implementation.
In June 2018, Google introduced Google Marketing Platform, an online advertisement and analytics brand. It consists of two former brands of Google, DoubleClick Digital Marketing and Google Analytics 360.
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.
Due to its ubiquity, Google Analytics raises some privacy concerns. Whenever someone visits a website that uses Google Analytics, Google tracks that visit via the users' IP address in order to determine the user's approximate geographic location. To meet German legal requirements, Google Analytics can anonymize the IP address. Google has also released a browser plugin that turns off data about a page visit being sent to Google, however this browser extension is not available for mobile browsers. Since this plug-in is produced and distributed by Google itself, it has met much discussion and criticism. Furthermore, the realisation of Google scripts tracking user behaviours has spawned the production of multiple, often open-source, browser plug-ins to reject tracking cookies. These plug-ins allow users to block Google Analytics and similar sites from tracking their activities. However, partially because of new European privacy laws, most modern browsers allow users to reject tracking cookies, though Flash cookies can be a separate problem.
It has been anecdotally reported that errors can occur behind proxy servers and multiple firewalls, changing timestamps and registering invalid searches. Webmasters who seek to mitigate Google Analytics' specific privacy issues can employ a number of alternatives having their backends hosted on their own machines. Until its discontinuation, an example of such a product was Urchin WebAnalytics Software from Google itself. On January 20, 2015, the Associated Press reported that HealthCare.gov was providing access to enrollees' personal data to private companies that specialized in advertising, mentioning Google Analytics specifically.
Google offers free Google Analytics IQ Lessons, Google Analytics certification test, free Help Center FAQ and Google Groups forum for official Google Analytics product support. New product features are announced on the Google Analytics Blog. Enterprise support is provided through Google Analytics Certified Partners or Google Academy for Ads.
The Google Analytics API is used by third parties to build custom applications such as reporting tools. Many such applications exist. One was built to run on iOS (Apple) devices and is featured in Apple's app store. There are some third party products that also provide Google Analytics-based tracking. The Management API, Core Reporting API, MCF Reporting API, and Real Time Reporting API are subject to limits and quotas.
Google Analytics is the most widely used website statistics service, in 2012 in use on around 55% of the 10,000 most popular websites. Another market share analysis claims that Google Analytics is used at around 49.95% of the top 1,000,000 websites (as ranked in 2010 by Alexa).
In August 2013, Google Analytics was used by 66.2% of the 10,000 most popular websites ordered by popularity, as reported by BuiltWith. And in May 2008, Pingdom released a survey stating that 161 of the 500 (32%) biggest sites globally according to their Alexa rank were using Google Analytics.
Chartbeat is an Internet content intelligence company headquartered in New York City, US. It was started in 2009. The company sells information to publishers, media companies and news websites that they can use to make decisions about the content to publish and promote on their Web sites. In August 2010 the company was spun off from Betaworks as a separate company. Chartbeat has been both praised and criticised as an alternative to Google Analytics for real-time data. In February 2016 founding CEO Tony Haile resigned from the company after seven years as CEO. Long time COO John Saroff was named as his successor.Creative Loafing (Atlanta)
Creative Loafing is a U.S. city monthly paper serving the Atlanta metropolitan area covering local news, politics, arts, entertainment, food, music and events. Its weekly print circulation is 70,000, and its cumulative readership in print is 477,000 according to Scarborough Feb 2014 - Jan 2015 study, and the website creativeloafing.com draws nearly 500,000 visitors monthly according to Google Analytics.
Founded in 1972 by Debbie Eason, the paper was purchased by SouthComm Communications in 2012. In 2017, SouthComm sold the paper to Ben Eason.Google Play Newsstand
Google Play Newsstand is a discontinued news aggregator and digital newsstand service by Google. On May 8, 2018, Google announced at Google I/O that Google Play Newsstand was being amalgamated with Google News. Launched in November 2013 through the merger of Google Play Magazines and Google Currents, the service lets users subscribe to magazines (in select countries) and topical news feeds, receiving new issues and updates automatically. Content can be read on a dedicated Newsstand section of the Google Play website or through the mobile apps for Android and iOS. Offline download and reading is supported on the mobile apps.
For publishers, Google offers a variety of tools for customization and optimization of their content, as well as the option to include ads through the use of DoubleClick for Publishers. Publishers can restrict geographic access to their content, and employ Google Analytics for aggregated readership data. Publishers can also offer discounts for Google Play subscriptions if a user is already a subscriber on another platform, such as print or digital.
The mobile app was replaced by Google News on May 15, 2018. However, its section remained on the Google Play website until late 2018, when it dissolved completely.Google Public Data Explorer
Google Public Data Explorer provides public data and forecasts from a range of international organizations and academic institutions including the World Bank, OECD, Eurostat and the University of Denver. These can be displayed as line graphs, bar graphs, cross sectional plots or on maps. The product was launched on March 8, 2010 as an experimental visualization tool in Google Labs.In 2011 the Public Data Explorer was made available for anyone to upload, share and visualize data sets. To facilitate this, Google created a new data format, the Dataset Publishing Language (DSPL). Once the data is imported, a dataset can be visualized, embedded in external websites, and shared with others like a Google Doc.In 2016, this toolset was enhanced with the Google Analytics Suite, particularly Data Studio 360, whose release expanded to a free public beta in May 2016, which enabled import of public or individual datasets and overlaid user-friendly (non-coding) data visualization tools.Google Website Optimizer
Google Website Optimizer is a free website optimization tool that helps online marketers and webmasters increase visitor conversion rates and overall visitor satisfaction by continually testing different combinations of website content. The Google Website Optimizer could test any element that existed as HTML code on a page including calls to action, fonts, headlines, point of action assurances, product copy, product images, product reviews, and forms. It allowed webmasters to test alternative versions of an entire page, called A/B testing — or test multiple combinations of page elements such as headings, images, or body copy; known as Multivariate testing. It could be used at multiple stage in the conversion funnel.
On 1 June 2012, Google announced that GWO as a separate product would be retired as of 1 August 2012, and its functionality would be integrated into Google Analytics as Google Analytics Content Experiments.Kampyle (software)
Kampyle is a software and website feedback analytics company founded in 2007 and based in Ramat Gan, Israel. Kampyle's feedback service is used to improve a company's ability to understand their website users and customer analytics. Kampyle was acquired by Medallia in October 2016.List of Google April Fools' Day jokes
Google frequently inserts jokes and hoaxes into its products on April Fools' Day, which takes place on April 1.List of Google apps for Android
e Google Play Store, although some may not show up in search results if they are listed as incompatible with your device (even though they may still function from an *.apk). Some of Google's apps may be pre-installed on some devices, depending upon the device manufacturer and the version of Android. A few of these apps, such as Gboard, are not supported on older versions of Android.Microsoft adCenter Analytics
Microsoft adCenter Analytics (codenamed Gatineau) was Microsoft's web analytics solution. In 2006, Microsoft acquired DeepMetrix Corporation and used the analytics technology to deliver adCenter Analytics. It competed with Google Analytics and was tied to Microsoft adCenter in the same way Google has tied Google Analytics to Google Adwords. This had led to some complaints by webmasters, due to a five dollar fee for sign up, compared to the lack of cost to use Google Analytics.Features included:
Click and visitor tracking
Marketing campaign reporting
Demographic and geographic segmentationIn March 2009, Microsoft announced that adCenter Analytics would be discontinued. Existing accounts would be operational till the end of 2009.Open Web Analytics
Open Web Analytics (OWA) is open-source web analytics software created by Peter Adams. OWA is written in PHP and uses a MySQL database, which makes it compatible for running with an AMP solution stack on various web servers. OWA is comparable to Google Analytics, though OWA is server software anyone can install and run on their own host, while Google Analytics is a software service offered by Google. OWA supports tracking with WordPress and MediaWiki, two popular web site frameworks. This application helps you keep track of and observe the influx of views on your website. The program also tracks your competitors and their company's growth compared to yours.PostRank
PostRank was a social media analytics service that used a proprietary ranking algorithm to measure "social engagement" with published content based on blog comments and links, Internet bookmarks, clicks, page views, and activities from social network services such as Twitter, Digg, Facebook and Myspace. In June 2011, PostRank was acquired by Google.
The company was formerly called AideRSS, Inc. In October 2008, AideRSS re-launched their website as postrank.com to focus the company's work on the core PostRank technology. In July 2009, the company officially changed its name to PostRank Inc. The company developed and offered multiple services:
PostRank Data Services, launched in July 2009, was a collection of APIs and reports to provide real-time and data mining Social Web data to companies to use in applications, measure marketing, and for strategic planning. The service provided a free API that was used, for example, to rank TED talks by engagement.
PostRank Analytics, launched in September, 2009, was a service for bloggers and online publishers to track where and how their audiences are sharing and organizing their content on the Social Web and perform competitive analysis.
PostRank Connect, launched in August, 2010, was a service for brands and public relations and marketing agencies to work with bloggers to run product campaigns and receive consulting services.After acquisition, PostRank functionality was integrated into Google Analytics:
On December 8, 2011 Google Analytics announced the Analytics Social Data Hub at LeWeb Paris.
On March 20, 2012 Google Analytics launched social reporting functionality.
On May 1, 2012, the PostRank services were sunset.Posterous
Posterous was a simple blogging platform started in May 2008. It supported integrated and automatic posting to other social media tools such as Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook, a built-in Google Analytics package, and custom themes. It was based in San Francisco and funded by Y Combinator.
Updating to Posterous was similar to other blogging platforms. Posting could be done by logging into the website's rich text editor, but it was particularly designed for mobile blogging. Mobile methods include sending an email, with attachments of photos, MP3s, documents, and video (both links and files). Many social media pundits considered Posterous to be the leading free application for lifestreaming. The platform received wide attention when leading social media expert Steve Rubel declared he was moving his blogging activity entirely to Posterous.Posterous also had its own URL shortening service, which as of March 2010 could post to Twitter.Posterous allowed users to point the DNS listing for a domain name or subdomain they already owned to their Posterous account, allowing them to have a site hosted by Posterous that used their own domain name.
In January 2010, the3six5, a Posterous-based storytelling project, launched. It was nominated for a Webby Award in 2011.
In May 2010, Posterous was recognized as one of the “2010 Hottest Silicon Valley Companies” by Lead411.Referrer spam
Referrer spam (also known as referral spam, log spam or referrer bombing) is a kind of spamdexing (spamming aimed at search engines). The technique involves making repeated web site requests using a fake referrer URL to the site the spammer wishes to advertise. Sites that publish their access logs, including referrer statistics, will then inadvertently link back to the spammer's site. These links will be indexed by search engines as they crawl the access logs, improving the spammer's search engine ranking. Except for polluting their statistics, the technique does not harm the affected sites.
At least since 2014, a new variation of this form of spam occurs on Google Analytics. Spammers send fake visits to Google Analytics, often without ever accessing the affected site. The technique is used to have the spammers' URLs appear in the site statistics, inducing the site owner to visit the spam URLs. When the spammer never visited the affected site, the fake visits are also called Ghost Spam.SWFAddress
SwellPath was an internet marketing consultancy in Portland, Oregon, focusing on web analytics (with an emphasis on Google Analytics custom tagging and reporting) and search engine marketing. SwellPath was a Google Analytics certified partner and was one of the first agencies worldwide to be certified as a specialist for Google's Google Analytics Tag Manager.UTM parameters
Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters are five variants of URL parameters used by marketers to track the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns across traffic sources and publishing media. They were introduced by Google Analytics' predecessor Urchin and, consequently, are supported out-of-the-box by Google Analytics. The UTM parameters in a URL identify the campaign that refers traffic to a specific website, and attributes it to the browser's website session and the sessions after that until the campaign attribution window expires. The parameters can be parsed by analytics tools and used to populate reports. Example URL, UTM parameters highlighted, after the question mark (?):
Urchin was a web statistics analysis program developed by Urchin Software Corporation. Urchin analyzed web server log file content and displayed the traffic information on that website based upon the log data. Sales of Urchin products ended on March 28, 2012.Urchin software could be run in two different data collection modes: log file analyzer or hybrid. As a log file analyzer, Urchin processed web server log files in a variety of log file formats. Custom file formats could also be defined. As a hybrid, Urchin combined page tags with log file data to eradicate the limitations of each data collection method in isolation. The result was more accurate web visitor data.Urchin became one of the more popular solutions for website traffic analysis, particularly with ISPs and web hosting providers. This was largely due to its scalability in performance and its pricing model.Urchin Software Corp. was acquired by Google in April 2005, forming Google Analytics. In April 2008, Google released Urchin 6. In February 2009, Google released Urchin 6.5, integrating AdWords. Urchin 7 was released in September 2010 and included 64-bit support, a new UI, and event tracking, among other features.Wesley Chan
Wesley Chan was an early product innovator at Google Inc., best known for founding and launching Google Analytics and Google Voice, and building Google’s early advertising system. He is currently a Managing Director at Felicis Ventures and invests in early-stage technology and software startups.Wiwibloggs
Wiwibloggs is a website and YouTube channel focusing on the Eurovision Song Contest.
The site launched in April 2009 and is a web site focusing on Eurovision. It had a seasonal audience, peaking at 250,000 page views per day during the week of Eurovision in May 2016, based on Google Analytics data. Wiwibloggs' unique take on the news of international song contests has made it extremely popular with younger audiences. This is enhanced by the site's high level of social media interaction.
The blog and its contributors are regularly cited in international media and have been featured by CNN, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Irish Times, and National Public Radio, among others.