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Why your analytics tool may be lying to you about amp - Searchmetrics Summit 2017

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If you are using AMP, there is a high probability of your metrics being wrong because of how AMP works. You can watch the video-recording of the presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vetdqSh1uhI&t=4s

Published in: Marketing

Why your analytics tool may be lying to you about amp - Searchmetrics Summit 2017

  1. 1. WHY YOUR ANALYTICS TOOL MAY BE LYING TO YOU ABOUT AMP 1
  2. 2. HELLO! I am Christian Oliveira - Freelance Technical SEO consultant and Digital Nomad - Former Product Manager of the AMP implementation on elmundo.es, marca.com, expansion.com (big news websites in Spain) 2
  3. 3. THE BAD NEWS 3
  4. 4. Your AMP Analytics data is lying to you! Because of how AMP is built, a single user can be counted as more than 4 different users on the same browser 4
  5. 5. THE GOOD NEWS 5
  6. 6. After 18 months, Google developed a solution! You cannot fix data retroactively, but if you opt in to Google’s solution your new data will be much more accurate 6
  7. 7. Let’s do a tour of the AMP project milestones regarding Analytics 7
  8. 8. October 2015 Google announces the AMP project 1 8
  9. 9. October 2015: Google announces the AMP project A project for news websites, to create really fast pages and appear on the “Top News” carrousel, but open to other Google products in the future https://googleblog.blogspot.pt/2015/10/introducing-accelerated-mobile-pages.html 9
  10. 10. October 2015: Google announces the AMP project Big brands like The Guardian, The New York Times, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. were already in, supporting/working on the project. Google encourage all the news websites to implement AMP, and participate in the project. They also told us that the Top Stories carrousel will be showing only AMP content next year. https://googleblog.blogspot.pt/2015/10/introducing-accelerated-mobile-pages.html 10
  11. 11. January 2016 Google Analytics announces support for AMP pages 211
  12. 12. January 2016: Google Analytics announces support for AMP pages No Google Analytics integration was completely confirmed until one month before of the launch. Publishers were running against the clock to get everything ready for the launch, and also the AMP team! https://analytics.googleblog.com/2016/01/announcing-ga-support-for-accelerated.html 12
  13. 13. February 2016 Google launches the first AMP integration globally 313
  14. 14. February 2016: Google launches the first AMP integration globally https://www.theguardian.com/membership/2016/feb/24/todays-release-of-accelerated-mobile-pages-amp Only for news sites, only for the “Top stories” box. Mix of AMP and non-AMP results, but carrousel only shows AMP results. You can swipe between news 14
  15. 15. September 2016 Google substitutes normal URLs by AMP URLs on organic mobile results 415
  16. 16. September 2016: Google substitutes normal URLs by AMP URLs on organic mobile results https://blog.google/products/search/search-results-are-officially-ampd/ Big change If you implement AMP on all your URLs, your mobile SEO traffic will all land on AMP pages. Open to all websites Doesn’t affect rankings 16
  17. 17. November 2016 Simo Ahava writes publicly about the Analytics bug for the first time 517
  18. 18. Metrics are being inflated because of how AMP works He provides a solution that works on most of the cases, but it’s technically complex. November 2016: Simo Ahava writes publicly about the Analytics bug for the first time https://www.simoahava.com/analytics/google-analytics-client-id-amp-pages/ 18
  19. 19. March 2017 I publish a detailed blog post about the bug, and it gets a lot of press 619
  20. 20. March 2017: I publish a detailed blog post about the bug, and it gets a lot of press https://www.christianoliveira.com/blog/en/web-analytics/why-the-bounce-rate-of-my-amp-pages-is-so-high/ 20
  21. 21. March 2017: I publish a detailed blog post about the bug, and it gets a lot of press https://www.christianoliveira.com/blog/en/web-analytics/why-the-bounce-rate-of-my-amp-pages-is-so-high/ 21
  22. 22. March 2017: Same user, same browser = 5 different cookies https://www.christianoliveira.com/blog/en/web-analytics/why-the-bounce-rate-of-my-amp-pages-is-so-high/ 22
  23. 23. March 2017: Google is aware of the problem and acknowledge it https://twitter.com/cramforce/status/837289470273683457 / https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13838756 / https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/amp-analytics/client-id 23
  24. 24. May 2017 Google publishes their first fix to the analytics bug, solving the problem for one of the scenarios 724
  25. 25. May 2017: Google publish their first fix to the analytics bug, solving the problem for one of the scenarios https://analytics.googleblog.com/2017/05/google-analytics-is-enhancing-support.html Implemented automatically via the amp-analytics JS library. No action required by webmasters It only solves the problem between AMP and non-AMP pages served on your domain, not the most common problem (pages served by Google and their cache) 25
  26. 26. May 2017: Google publish their first fix to the analytics bug, solving the problem for one of the scenarios https://www.christianoliveira.com/blog/en/web-analytics/why-the-bounce-rate-of-my-amp-pages-is-so-high/ 26
  27. 27. May 2017: Google publish their first fix to the analytics bug, solving the problem for one of the scenarios https://www.christianoliveira.com/blog/en/web-analytics/why-the-bounce-rate-of-my-amp-pages-is-so-high/ 27
  28. 28. September 2017 Google publishes another fix to solve the problem on the main scenario (Google’s cache), only for Google.com 828
  29. 29. September 2017: Google publishes another fix to solve the problem on the main scenario (Google’s cache), but only for Google.com https://analytics.googleblog.com/2017/09/google-analytics-is-enhancing-support-for-amp-on-cache.html Webmasters need to make changes on both their AMP and non-AMP pages Working only for the google.com domain Solves the problem for the main scenario 29
  30. 30. September 2017: Google publishes another fix to solve the problem on the main scenario (Google’s cache), but only for Google.com https://analytics.googleblog.com/2017/09/google-analytics-is-enhancing-support-for-amp-on-cache.html 30
  31. 31. September 2017: Google publishes another fix to solve the problem on the main scenario (Google’s cache), but only for Google.com https://analytics.googleblog.com/2017/09/google-analytics-is-enhancing-support-for-amp-on-cache.html 31
  32. 32. October 2017 Google’s solution now works for all google domains 932
  33. 33. October 2017: Google’s solution now works for all google domains https://analytics.googleblog.com/2017/09/google-analytics-is-enhancing-support-for-amp-on-cache.html 33
  34. 34. October 2017: Google’s solution now works for all google domains https://analytics.googleblog.com/2017/09/google-analytics-is-enhancing-support-for-amp-on-cache.html 34
  35. 35. October 2017: Google’s solution now works for all google domains https://analytics.googleblog.com/2017/09/google-analytics-is-enhancing-support-for-amp-on-cache.html 35
  36. 36. SO... ◉ An official solution that (mostly) solves the problem exists since October 2017 ◉ The solution is not retroactive (your old data remains messy) ◉ If you use AMP, unless you tried to implement a solution on your own, your data is inaccurate, and you should implement the solution now. 36
  37. 37. 37 https://www.ampproject.org/latest/blog/amp-two-years-of-user-first-webpages/
  38. 38. THE SOLUTION 38
  39. 39. You need to make changes on both your AMP pages and your non-AMP pages in order to fix the problem https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/7486764?hl=en AMP pages non-AMP pages 39
  40. 40. And… Does it REALLY work? 40
  41. 41. And… Does it work? 41 Mostly, YES
  42. 42. Case 1 BUT There are some edge cases where it doesn’t 42
  43. 43. Case 1 Visits to AMP’s CDN (e.g: randomtrip-es.cdn.ampproject.com) will still count as different users. This may change in the future. For example LinkedIn sends users there from their mobile app BUT There are some edge cases where it doesn’t 43
  44. 44. Case 1 BUT There are some edge cases where it doesn’t 44
  45. 45. BUT There are some edge cases where it doesn’t 45 Case 2 New visitors that first visit the “normal” website and then the Google’s cache AMP page, will be 2 users until they visit the “normal” website again This is because the “normal” page is the one in charge of checking it there is a cookie generated by Google’s AMP cache for this domain.
  46. 46. BUT There are some edge cases where it doesn’t Case 2 New visitors that first visit the “normal” website and then the Google’s cache AMP page, will be 2 users until they visit the “normal” website again This is because the “normal” page is the one in charge of checking it there is a cookie generated by Google’s AMP cache for this domain. 46
  47. 47. BUT There are some edge cases where it doesn’t Case 2 New visitors that first visit the “normal” website and then the Google’s cache AMP page, will be 2 users until they visit the “normal” website again This is because the “normal” page is the one in charge of checking it there is a cookie generated by Google’s AMP cache for this domain. 47
  48. 48. BUT There are some edge cases where it doesn’t Case 3 New visitors that do this sequence in less than an hour: ◉ Normal page ◉ Google’s AMP cache page ◉ Normal page Will be counted as 2 visitors for an hour or until they click on a “normal” link inside the Google’s AMP cache page. 48
  49. 49. BUT There are some edge cases where it doesn’t Case 3 This is because, to avoid unnecessary requests, if the normal websites does not find an AMP client id, does not try again for an hour. Malte from Google says it may get down the time to 30 minutes. On the other side, if a visit come from the cache (referrer xxx.cdn.ampproject.org) a check to see if the cookie exists is forced. 49
  50. 50. Conclusion ◉ Always be careful with data. ◉ If you are using AMP, opt-in for the solution now. ◉ Be really careful with your conclusions when looking at data where AMP is involved ◉ Be prepared to still have a small percentage of error on your data. ◉ If you have any doubts, or find any other bug, reach Malte Ubl (https://twitter.com/cramforce) or AMPhtml (https://twitter.com/AMPhtml) on Twitter 50
  51. 51. THANKS! Any questions? You can find me at @christian_wilde / christianoliveirausal@gmail.com / christianoliveira.com 51

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