Google Analytics Opt-Out Plugin and Analytics Accuracy
We knew the day would finally come and today it has. Google Analytics is now letting users opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics. It also works in all major browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. The beta version of the opt-out app can be downloaded here. This is a double whammy when you consider Google has also just released SSL search which is the start of worrisome trend for the analytics professional and webmaster: The death of the referrer. Danny at SearchEngineland has a good take on it and its hard to see where this will end. What if analytics as we know it go back 15 years to just hits.
I can’t blame people for wanting privacy. Besides if you’re tech savy, you can block any web analytics easily. Heck, you don’t even need to be that technically inclined. There are dozens of plugins to make this happen. The concern I have is this: Google with their impressive trustworthy brand has just lowered the barriers for people who wouldn’t normally bother. They will get the kind of press and coverage any plugin developer would dream of. The result of which could be a mass of users who might not understand why or what they are blocking. They won’t even consider the consequences of blocking Google Analytics will have on their favorite websites. In case you aren’t aware, analytics are gold to webmasters. It is an essential tool to ensure the content created is popular to their audience. Analytics are used to sell ad space to potential advertisers and to set rates. Most importantly, analytics are used to make sure users have the best experience possible on their site. Now this can all come into jeopardy.
So what can you do? There are a couple of options. One is to pray that this announcement goes the way of Google’s other privacy tools, hidden in the Google Dashboard and hardly anyone notices or uses it. The second is to deploy another analytics program, such as Piwik or these alternatives . The last option is to consider the BETA solution called YMMV Real Websats to keep an eye on your Google Analytics Accuracy.
In the end, there is no need for panic. We have to remember that for us, these types of issues seem larger then they really are to the public at large. This does not mean we can ignore them. We just need to keep it in the back of our head: Google Analytics opt out is another variable to consider when you analyze your analytics.
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