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Here I write articles about advanced Google Analytics  setup and usage with a focus on data quality, including online privacy and consent best practice i.e. GDPR compliance. In other words, the things your organisation needs to have in place in order to have trust in its data, and for your customers to trust you with their data…

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Brian Clifton - Blog

How do I exclude internal traffic in Google Analytics?

Categories: GA & GTM / Comments: 0

Excluding or filtering internal i.e. staff visits from Google Analytics is an interesting challenge – it’s not as straightforward as you may first think. This is because there is no obvious way to identify a staff visitor… Hence this detailed post showing a possible alternative.

In this article I discuss why applying a filter is flawed and suggest a quick fix that may help you overcome its limitations. However the smarter and more robust way is to use a visitor label – a.k.a Custom Dimension.

staff visits segment

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Why you Should Avoid Tracking Scroll Depth

Categories: GA & GTM, Metrics Understanding / Comments: 6

Since GTM introduced an automatic way of tracking scroll depth in Google Analytics, there has been a proliferation of this tracking. In this post I explain why you should avoid such “noise”, avoid the cost implications (would you pay $1000/month for this?) and provide alternative (better!) ways to track engagement!

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The Best Google Analytics Tools & Addons

Categories: GA & GTM / Comments: 22

Recommended tools for use with Google Analytics

These are my best tools, or “add-ons” I use when working with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. They focus on helping you get you get on top of and maintaining your data quality. I use all of them regularly (listed in no specific order).

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Analytics Predictions 2019

Categories: GDPR & Privacy, Metrics Understanding / Comments: 2

From the recent Forrester Prediction 2019 report:

57% of global data and analytics decision makers are still at the early stages of their insights-driven business. Only 8% demonstrate advanced insights-driven competencies.

Meaning, that despite the hype of recent years around machine learning and artificial intelligence, even the biggest companies struggle to extract value from their data at scale and drive impactful business results.

Mulling over this insight, I wanted to add my thoughts for why organisations are in such a low state of analytics maturity. Based on working with senior managers in large brand-leading organisations, these are my top 3 reasons:

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Google Analytics Audits – An Enterprise Study

Categories: GA & GTM, GDPR & Privacy, Setup Accuracy / Comments: 2

Part of my job involves auditing Google Analytics setups in order to establish the quality of the data collected. This video story brings together some of the extraordinary findings of my work. Its a study of 75 enterprise websites using Google Analytics. I describe the audit methodology and display the results in a visual scorecard format.

The results are somewhat surprising (and depressing) in that they show the general poor quality of data that organisations are working with – an average Quality Index score of only 35.7 out of 100. One surprising metric is that 1 in 5 websites had a PII issue i.e. were collecting personal information into Google Analytics reports…

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Using Google Analytics Anonymize IP – An Impact Study

Categories: GDPR & Privacy, Setup Accuracy / Comments: 4

The Google Analytics feature anonymize IP is a A key recommendation for GDPR compliance, also known as “aip”. As the name suggests, this simple switch drops the last 3 digits from your visitor’s IP address. For example, if a visitor has a public ip of 215.113.40.184, then Google will obfuscate this to 217.115.40. (and all other visitor ip addresses) when it processes your Google Analytics data. No ip address data is stored. That’s good for GDPR compliance because ip data is considered PII in Europe.

So if the last 3 digits of an IP address are removed, does that impact geolocation data?

The answer is of course yes, but how much of an impact, and should you worry about it..?

anonymizeIP study

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Google Analytics Data Retention Settings Explained

Categories: GDPR & Privacy / Comments: 24

I must admit that the new Google Analytics documentation about the GDPR specific Data Retention setting is confusing! The whole area is surprisingly badly worded by Google… The assumption is that ALL data older than NN months is going to be deleted i.e. a cliff-edge effect where any report older than say 26 months is going to […]

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