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More than half of businesses rely exclusively on Google Analytics (GA) for their web analytics while just 11% don’t use the tool at all, according to data included in the new Econsultancy/Lynchpin Online Measurement and Strategy Report 2013.

This is a massive increase since 2009 when just 23% of respondents said they used GA exclusively.

With GA having a reputation as both free and easy to use, and having a strong community around getting the most out of the tool, it is no surprise to see the majority use it. 

The increase since 2011 could, however, be partly due to the discontinuation of Yahoo’s free analytics tool, which was used by 8% of companies and 18% of agencies last year.

Does your organisation use Google Analytics?

The latest version of the Online Measurement and Strategy Report is based on a survey of almost 900 digital marketing professionals between April and May 2013, to examine their practices and strategies related to web analytics and data.

The report contains a comprehensive analysis of issues affecting the web analytics industry and valuable insights into the use of analytics and business intelligence tools.

What is it good for?

Among those companies that exclusively use GA, the platform is most commonly used to track traffic and conversion KPIs (86%), followed by campaign tracking (75%).

The multichannel funnels tool that Google launched back in 2011 to much fanfare has failed to catch on yet, with just 23% using this feature.

Do you use Google Analytics for any of the following types of reporting or insight?

Reasons for not using GA

The report also investigates the reasons that businesses don’t use GA. The most commonly cited reason was that businesses are happy with a different web analytics vendor (38%) while a further 35% stated that it’s not sophisticated enough for their requirements.

However it should be noted that number of companies who state they do not use Google Analytics is small, standing at just 11%. As a result, these changes may not be statistically significant.

What is the principal reason you don’t use Google Analytics?

David Moth

Published 9 July, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1676 more posts from this author

Comments (17)

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Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing

The biggest complaint I have with GA is the "not provided" data. Other than that it's a pretty robust reporting tool that can do just about anything you need it to, provided you set up the custom reports in the right way (which can be tricky as you're learning).

almost 3 years ago

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WPBeijing

I agree with Nick re the "not provided" or similar data, keywords for example are now more often included here. I am also noticing a growing trend for location to be not provided.

almost 3 years ago

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Mark Mitchell

No provided is a doubled edged sword. It's a annoying on one hand, but good as it is the clearest single yet of a move away from keywords in SEO. Source of traffic \ resulting conversions is a great metric for reporting.

almost 3 years ago

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Yvonne Chien, Head of Digital at Abcam

Google Analytics, for the price of the basic version (free) is a fantastic product, a no-brainer for a tool with an easy interface that the whole organisation can use. However, just to break out those 35% of org's that say it is not sophisticated enough for their needs, here are some of the advantages of an enterprise-level system over the basic GAnalytics capabilities:

1. SLAs on the data – GAnalytics offers no protection to data loss, load times, etc. Even though we are within likely limits for this, they could change at any time.

2. No sampling on any data, e.g. using segments over long periods does not limit the sample of data.

3. Unlimited data out, in real time and with historical data - so it can be used to power front-end features like "products being browsed now".

4. Integrated content targeting - targeting of behavioural segments on site with specific content. Ok, this is sometimes an add-on product in enterprise analytics stack, but it's really a must-have for any large-scale ecommerce website.

5. Customer-level event tagging, which GAnalytics is not properly built/approved for, although Premium facilitates/withstands this requirement to some extent out-the-box. This is useful in any multichannel business to build in the digital channel data to the cross-channel customer view.

6. Custom reports: GAnalytics places limitations on which fields can be joined with which others, but in an enterprise solution you can define this from the outset and create custom views.

This list isn't meant to be definitive - all comments welcome :)

almost 3 years ago

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David Burdon, Director at Simply Clicks

I've found a combination of Google Analytics and Statcounter provides most of the data we need and can handle.

I look forward to next week's presentation.

almost 3 years ago

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Mike Austin

The article supports what we've found. Very many of our clients now use Google Analytics as their primary form of web analytics.

They come to us because we fill in gaps left by GA, which doesn't capture any individually identifiable data. We grab Web behavioural data, Transactional data and Product data and load it straight into their ESP.

almost 3 years ago

Oliver Allen

Oliver Allen, Personal at WhatUsersDo

I think it is unbelievable that with all the tools and packages out their available with accessible pricing for almost any business that companies are risking their businesses online by only relying on data from one source, GA.

Also by making changes and improvements based on this data could be considered high risk. Has anyone learnt a big lesson from making changes based on GA alone? Would be interesting to hear from you.

Our clients tell us they like to qualify what GA is showing them by using our remote user testing service 'WhatUsersDo', as this allows them to see what the user has issues with, and before changes are made giving the end user the opportunity to give feedback on them before it goes live.

almost 3 years ago

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Andy Cowin

@oliver You know as well as I do that analytics show what people did, not why they did it. What is telling is the percentage of people who seem to be using analytics only for the crude numbers such as PPC and traffic. The percentage use of search queries, conversion, content, etc., shows a downward usage trend....

almost 3 years ago

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Chris Meares - MaassMedia

First I want to address something from the first couple of comments. "Not provided" in a keyword report is not a Google Analytics problem, it is the same across all other web analytics vendors, it is a Google problem, when a user is logged into Google and does a search Google no longer passes that user's search information in the referring domain. So I just wanted to clarify that point.

Second, it really doesn't matter which tool you use to track your digital properties, what matters is that you have a digital analytics framework established that maps to your overall digital goals as well as your organizational goals. Tracking your site for tracking sake makes no sense, but if you have a framework in place for tracking your site then it doesn't matter which tool you use because they can all get you the same data. Anyone who argues that Google Analytics isn't sophisticated enough for their company doesn't know how to correctly implement a custom Google Analytics solution.

almost 3 years ago

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James Martin

@Chris - that last comment is not correct as out of the box Google Analytics' free product samples all data when using segments and over a given timeframe. The only way to get unsampled data is to create filtered profiles and then you do not have a full view. Also, there are only 5 custom variables available in the free version. What if you need more? Maybe you could enlighten everyone with a link to your articles or research.

almost 3 years ago

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Chris Meares - MaassMedia

@James - you are correct that there is data sampling and only 5 custom variables that can be set. However, you can use events to basically mimic custom variables and you don't have a limit on the number of events you can set. As for the sampled data issue, you are definitely correct, although now Google Analytics Premium does allow you access to your unsampled data. My point was if you are using a free tool and not spending money on your analytics, you can still do a ton of customizations to your implementation, however, if you are spending money on a paid version, there is nothing that Google Analytics Premium can't do that others can. Just my opinion.

almost 3 years ago

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Laurence

We've just spidered 1.3 million websites for a machine learning project and whilst we were there we looked for analytics software installations. Our findings are in line with this research which suggests over 50% of sites use Google Analytics. Then there's a massive drop to Urchin, Wordpress stats and Quantcast. The full list is on the Analytics SEO blog - hopefully you'll find the post via my Google+ (didn't want to spam the blog).

almost 3 years ago

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Laurence

We've just spidered 1.3 million websites for a machine learning project and whilst we were there we looked for analytics software installations. Our findings are in line with this research which suggests over 50% of sites use Google Analytics. Then there's a massive drop to Urchin, Wordpress stats and Quantcast. The full list is on the Analytics SEO blog - hopefully you'll find the post via my Google+ (didn't want to spam the blog).

almost 3 years ago

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Lauren Lennard

Analytics provides a great way to monitor your site on a daily basis and can certainly provide powerful insight. However, analytics alone, whether simple metrics such as time spent on the website or more complex measures, cannot tell you whether your users are having a satisfying experience on your website.

To understand why as well as what your visitors are doing, analytics must be complemented by other research techniques.

http://www.nomensa.com/blog/2013/what-without-why-is-less-than-half-the-picture/

almost 3 years ago

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Hugh Hopkins

GA is a brilliant tool and being free makes it a no brainer so I'm not surprised by the number of sites using it.

What I have found though is that GA does fall down in a number of areas such as super granular by the minute real-time reporting which is becoming increasingly vital for enterprise businesses. At this level GA does become extremely expensive.

almost 3 years ago

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Mickey Mixon

This is good and I know now the use of Google analytic.

almost 3 years ago

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Cathy Hu, SEO at Shoplet

That's true for small business. Our company (http://www.shoplet.co.uk/) uses Google tools to help us with online campaign and promotions.

over 2 years ago

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