Delete Google Analytics - a Crazy Idea you MUST consider


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Presentation from BrightonSEO, April, 2014, by Ammon Johns that caused some buzz, and some thinking. Updated 25 April 2014 with extra slides to give more of the presentation that was spoken and implicit, but not directly written in the original slides.

  • For those still needing more impetus to reconsider and re-evaluate what they've been doing with Analytics lately, I heartily recommend an article from 2012 -
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  • A few large companies I worked with banned Google products on their servers. They would rather trust Omniture (now Adobe) with their data.
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  • As I said in the first moments of my talk, Google already knows more about your site than you do. Deleting GA won't reduce what they know about you one single bit. They own chrome, and get every toolbar PR request. Deleting GA may be a vote to make them think, but it doesn't give them one iota less info. That's not what its about.
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  • There are fear mongering concerns I hear from people when they are advised to stop using Google Analytics - 'oh, but Google will this I'm doing something sketchy if I don't use their Analytics' - honestly, if they CLAIM to not even use the bounce data why would whether a site uses GA be a signal of any kind? And if it is, it's a bloody monopolistic behaviour and then it should be dealt with on the highest level.
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Delete Google Analytics - a Crazy Idea you MUST consider

  1. 1. Delete Google Analytics Here is a Crazy Idea
  2. 2. First, a Sanity Check Yes, Google Analytics has many advantages ● It is an incredibly easy option ● It is the most widely used analytics package ● It integrates superbly with AdWords ● Its FREE!
  3. 3. The Easy Option Because: ● It is easy to install on-site ● It is easy to share access to ● It is easy to convince clients to use ● There are free articles helping you use it better ● Like IBM, nobody gets fired for suggesting it
  4. 4. Some Equally Sane Counter-Points These factual downsides won’t make you swap... ● The most common is the most blocked ● Your data has value you should not give away ● Javascript based tracking is the worst ● Javascript is especially poor on mobile
  5. 5. Prepare for the insane reasons Since I already know that the sane, rational, factual counter-points never convince anyone to change… … it is time for the crazy ideas By crazy, I mean insanely smart!
  6. 6. Google Analytics is Hurting You Using G.A. is bad for your business
  7. 7. GA is easy ● In business, the easy way is usually ‘bodging’ ● Clients pay you to do good work, not easy ● Business value is in doing the hard things well. You make it easy for the client, not yourself. ● GA being ‘easy’ is Google’s advantage, not yours.
  8. 8. GA is widely used ● Widely used is the first to be blocked ● Mass market product ● There is no USP in being/doing the same ● By using defaults, you lose having an edge
  9. 9. GA is not actually a great product ● Log-files are better, but clunky ● Many other tracking solutions had better features: ○ Crazy Egg ○ Click Tracks ○ Nedstat / Digital Analytix® ○ Server Mods to write logs to database
  10. 10. GA is not really free ● Google is buying your data ● The real cost is an opportunity cost ○ It costs you a USP opportunity ○ It costs you a value opportunity ○ It costs you a learning opportunity
  11. 11. But deleting GA is insane! 1. Do I know what I’m asking? 2. Do I know what it costs? 3. Am I totally insane? Yes, No, and what does that matter as long as I’m right?
  12. 12. What I am Asking Mostly, I am asking you to think. Think about USP, about Value Don’t use Google Analytics only because you have never properly evaluated alternatives
  13. 13. Think about what you could do ● Full data warehousing ● Smarter information capturing ● Sites that can react to data ● Better data and analytics ● Client lock-in through superior stats
  14. 14. What will it cost? ● I don’t know, but neither do you. ● It will cost time and effort (But not as much as you’d fear) ● It is a very, very justifiable investment ● If you are not willing to invest time and effort in your business, how long will you have one?
  15. 15. Am I insane? No, I’m eccentric… That’s a term applied to those of us who may be crazy, but are highly and enviably successful with it. The thing is, the idea is not insane. It is one of those big ideas that is scary because it involves stepping off the well trodden path and being creative and innovative.
  16. 16. The USP The minute I told anyone what my presentation was about - asking them to delete Google Analytics - they had to know why. They were hooked, instantly, by curiosity. That could be you talking at your next client pitch Alone, it won’t sell you, but I guarantee that they will listen to every word you say and not forget you. If the rest of your pitch is good, this one decision will get it heard and remembered.
  17. 17. Think about this fundamentally: You tell clients that data and analytics are important… Yet you yourself follow everyone else, without thought. You don’t bother to differentiate on this ‘most important’ aspect. You use the exact same system as the worst offshore company of clueless wannabes out there. WTF?
  18. 18. There are hundreds of alternatives There are paid alternatives for those who really believe data is fundamentally important - enough to consider investing in. And there are free alternatives for those who let cost decide and define what analytics solution is best.
  19. 19. “Tell us alternatives! Tell us what to use!”
  20. 20. Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves!
  21. 21. I’m not going to tell you what to use I’m pointing out two absolutely unquestionable facts 1. There are better alternatives. That GA is not the best is unquestioned. 2. You should be aware of them You should be continually keeping up to date on what solutions there are and deciding to use GA on a case by case basis because it is the right solution not by default.
  22. 22. GIGO - analytics needs thought ● How are you tracking people without cookies? ● How are you tracking cross-device usage? ● How are you tracking repeat customers? ● How are you tracking referrals? There are many questions you need to be asking and by accepting Google’s definition of ‘analytics’ you fail to find or devise your own definitions.
  23. 23. Flaws in Analytics Need Thought Tracking visits is simply tracking hits on pages You should be tracking, measuring and managing things relating to engagement. This part is where javascript excels - adding depth of data Track who scrolled your page past X point Track who had your page have tab focus for 60 seconds
  24. 24. Any ‘package’ is a definition ● Any solution is someone else’s definition and answer. ● No package that you install and accept without thought is good. ● The point is to think about data, how it is collected, how to get more or better data. ● Making your own, even out of other solutions with tweaks, gets you thinking, and improves your results
  25. 25. Reasons to Delete GA ● You can have a much better solution ● You can unleash your creativity ● You can have a USP with client lock-in ● You can help remind Google who’s boss ● You can have a better, stronger business
  26. 26. Thanks for Listening Let’s discuss it! Questions and Comments Please Ammon Johns, Internet Marketing Consultant Twitter: @Ammon_Johns Web: