Pin Me

Understanding Google Analytics: How Accurate is it?

written by: Arnold Zafra•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 3/2/2010

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for measuring various aspects of your website's performance including how people found your site, how they explored it and how you can enhance your site visitor’s experience. But how accurate is it? Read our view about the accuracy of Google Analytics.

  • slide 1 of 5

    Introduction: Understanding Google Analytics

    Google Analytics is a powerful tool for measuring various aspects of your website's performance including how people found your site, how they explored it and how you can enhance your site visitor’s experience. It is used primarily by webmasters and site owners to find ways of improving site performance vis-a-vis Google search engine, and increase their site's advertising conversion.

    Useful as it is, many are actually looking deeper into Google Analytics' accuracy. Since we are dealing with metrics or statistical data here, the issue of accuracy has to be evaluated, examined, and tested. Is Google Analytics accurate? That depends on several factors.

  • slide 2 of 5

    How Google Analytics Does its Job

    To understand whether Google Analytics provides accurate site metrics reporting, let's take a quick look into how it actually measure site data.

    Google Analytics uses first-party cookies and JavaScript code to collect information about visitors, how they interact with your website, where they came from, how they arrived on your website, which search terms brought them, and, most importantly for ad managers, whether they completed any of your site's conversion goals.

    To do this, all Google ask webmasters to do is to add a website tracking code on the bottom part of a site's HTML code. Usually this is right before the body tag </body>. Google uses this JavaScript tracking code, to monitor activities on your website and analyze your website's traffic activities.

  • slide 3 of 5

    All Right, but How Accurate is Google Analytics?

    To answer the question of how accurate Google Analytics is depends on how one defines accuracy. Is it accuracy in terms of measuring page views? Accuracy in terms of measuring site activities? Accuracy in terms of whether a user actually visits the site and performs some type of activities?

    Unfortunately, there is no fool-proof answer. Keep in mind that Google Analytics' accuracy depends on how fast a site loads and whether the Analytics code was implemented properly.

    If you have correctly embedded the Google Analytics Tracking Code and your site is well designed to load as quickly as possible, then Google Analytics will accurately measure your site data and performance.

  • slide 4 of 5

    Minor Inconsistencies

    Of course there will always be contention about the accuracy of Google Analytics. And anyone can go leaps and bounds to prove that Google Analytics is not that accurate. But this entails lots of hard work. And unless you want to seriously analyze your site's performance vis-a-vis advertising campaigns, then you are bound to find some errors in the way Google Analytics measures your site's performance.

  • slide 5 of 5

    Conclusion

    Bottom-line here is - Google Analytics is a powerful website metrics tool. Take it for what it can efficiently provide you to understand your website's performance when it comes to Google search engine activities. It is tied up with Google, so don't expect to get the same result as when you are measuring your site's performance in relation to Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines.

    If you want an honest-to-goodness and "pretty accurate" site measurement tool - Google Analytics can provide you that.