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Google Analytics sampling limitations and how to overcome them

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Google analytics work fine for small and medium-sized websites, but when the data volume increases, some of the reports are sampled. See in this presentation some of the most common issues and how you …

Google analytics work fine for small and medium-sized websites, but when the data volume increases, some of the reports are sampled. See in this presentation some of the most common issues and how you can overcome them.

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  • 1. Google Analytics sampling limitations and how to overcome them George  Papadongonas Web  Analyst,  Amazee  Metrics 16/7/2013
  • 2. How Google Analytics stores data • All unfiltered data of a web property (up to 10 million hits per month) are stored in the Google Analytics database • Each standard report has an associated data table in the Google Analytics database with unsampled data • Reports for accounts with more than 200,000 visits per day are processed daily • Reports for accounts with less than 200,000 visits per day are processed more often 2
  • 3. Google Analytics Report Sampling • Sampling starts when the requested date range has more than 500,000 visits • The sample size can be arranged by using the Google Analytics sampling slider. The default setting is for 250,000 visits, maximum setting is 500,000 • Visits are counted for the specific date range on a Web Property level, not on a Profile level • Standard reports without filters, advanced segments or secondary dimensions use always unsampled data • Sampling applies to custom reports 3
  • 4. Organic Search traffic report is unsampled 4
  • 5. By adding a second dimension, sampling is applied 5
  • 6. Adjust the sampling size 6
  • 7. Prefer the higher precision setting 7
  • 8. Google Analytics Report Sampling 8
  • 9. How sampling is calculated • Web property has 24,580,303 visits • Profile has 492,786 visits • Default sampling is: 250,000x492,786/24,580,303 = 5,012 visits (1%) • Maximum sampling is: 500,000x492,786/24,580,303 = 10,024 visits (2%) 9
  • 10. Avoid the faster processing setting 10
  • 11. Prefer the higher precision setting 11
  • 12. Pageviews or events reports can be unreliable 12
  • 13. Google Analytics Report Sampling • Visits and Visitors reports are usually reliable, even with a small sample • E-commerce transactions, individual pageviews, adwords data, revenue and goal conversions are less reliable 13
  • 14. Solutions 14
  • 15. 1. Buy Google Analytics Premium • “Only”$150.000 / year • 1 Billion hits processed per month • Unsampled reports • Data processing every 4 hours 15
  • 16. 2. Create custom profiles • Instead of creating reports with specific advanced segments, create custom profiles using filters • The default reports of all profiles are always unsampled, even if the visitors are more than 500,000 16
  • 17. 3. Enable Data Sampling • Sample your data , by adding a line in the Google Analytics tracking code code_gaq.push(['_setSampleRate', '80']); Sets sampling rate at 80% • Not a perfect solution, as the data are still sampled, but you have control and can avoid tracking interruption (for more than 10 million hits per month) 17
  • 18. 4. Use smaller date range • Break you report in smaller data ranges, each one having less than 500.000 visits • This ensures that the data are unsampled • Export the reports using the Google Analytics API • Aggregate the data in Excel and create the master report 18
  • 19. 5. Use analyticscanvas.com • Analytics Canvas offers query partitioning, using the Google Analytics API. • Reports are exported in smaller date ranges, so that they are unsampled and they are then merged automatically with Analytics Canvas. 19
  • 20. 6. Download Google Analytics data locally • It is possible to keep a local copy of Google Analytics data • Add a line in the Google Analytics tracking code _gaq.push(['_setLocalRemoteServerMode']); • Add _utm.gif to your web server root 20
  • 21. 6. Download Google Analytics data locally 86.138.209.96 www.mysite.com - [01/Oct/2007:03:34:02 +0100] "GET /__utm.gif?utmwv=1&utmt=var&utmn= 2108116629 HTTP/1.1" 200 35 "http://www.mysite.com/pageX.htm" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)" "__utma=1.117971038.1175394730.1175394730.1175394730.1; __utmb=1; __utmc=1; __utmz=1.1175394730.1.1.utmcid=23|utmgclid=CP-Bssq-oIsCFQMrlAodeUThgA| utmccn=(not+set)|utmcmd=(not+set)|utmctr=looking+for+site; __utmv=1.Section One" 21 • Data are recorded in the server log files • Use http://analytics.angelfishstats.com/ to analyze them, as Urchin is discontiniued
  • 22. Thanks! 22