Google Analytics is a free and an extremely powerful tool for you to monitor your website’s data.
For Google Analytics to work properly, the minimum requirement is the tracking code must be installed on all the web pages of your website.
Google Analytics is free to use. The exception is if you are using the paid version, Google Analytics Premium.
The types of and the number of reports that are available have exceeded most (if not yet all) free and paid web analytics tools. Just to name a few:
If your website happened to have started using Google Analytics since many years ago, then all your historical data from the beginning are still always available to you. This makes it easy for you to do year-over-year (YOY) data trend comparison.
Google Analytics is unable to roll back the data. i.e.
Reports are updated very quickly, and are rarely or never delayed. Yesterday’s data would always be fully available today. In many Google Analytics properties, reports are updated in which you can “feel” the data is almost up-to-date in real time.
The quick update of reports enables you to quickly spot data spikes or outliers. You can also pre-set “alerts” in your Google Analytics account. When any abnormal data is detected, you will automatically receive the alerts.
Real-time reports are available, which is a rare feature in most other web analytics tools. The real-time reports can actually show the number of users that are currently on your site at this very moment.
Data precision is low due to data sampling in Google Analytics.
Data sampling is the main reason in which your reports are available very quickly. You have options to increase the data precision by having more data in sampling or decrease the data precision with less data in sampling.
The data limit for Google Analytics Premium version is much higher, and that allows you to download totally non-sampled reports.
The data is stored on Google’s databases/servers. Reports are always available, but use of the data is limited.
You cannot take immediate actions based on the user behavior that was collected by your Google Analytics. Your Google Analytics data is store on Google’s databases/servers, and even you can extract the data through Google’s API, however it is difficult to connect your Google Analytics data back to the Ecommerce transaction data or the user behavior data that you have collected without Google Analytics.
If you are based in China using any China IP addresses, accessing Google Analytics interface can often be a problem. Most of the times when logging in or accessing the reports, you can encounter either slow loading or unavailability.
However, if you are accessing Google Analytics with most any other countries’ IP addresses, you should always be okay.
Content on Gordon Choi’s Analytics Book is licensed under the CC Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International license.