Noise or Music? - The Insights Blog

Here I write about Google Analytics setup and usage; Online privacy; Data accuracy; Website usability; Conversion optimisation; and best practices for organisations wishing to achieve success online – the whole raison d’etre for measurement in the first place…!

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Brian Clifton - Blog

A Flawed Feature – The New Multi-Currency Support in Google Analytics

February 15, 2013 / Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding / Comments: 5

wrong-way.jpegWhen speaking at events I am sometimes accused (light heartedly) of drinking too much of the Google Koolade – meaning I endorse the good parts and skip/skim the pitfalls. However this post is a criticism of Google for what I consider to be a flawed thinking with their recently announced support of multiple currencies in Google Analytics.

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The rise and rise of “not provided” keywords

February 1, 2013 / Categories: Privacy and Accuracy, SEO & Analytics / Comments: 31

not-provided.pngSEO is getting harder! If you are active with search engine optimisation (SEO), then you will be aware of the issue of not provided showing in your Google Analytics reports for organic visits. This post updates the situation plotting the growing impact over time and the differentiation of tech-savvy versus tech-savvy web users.

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eMetrics London 2012 – Day 1 Thoughts

November 27, 2012 / Categories: Metrics understanding / Comments: 1

I have been to all of the London events (I think) since 2004 so its been interesting to see how things have changed over the years. Here’s my thoughts:

What’s Out
Talking about cookies i.e. deletion rates
Feature wars – tool X has 10,000 “must have” features Beauty Parades – vendors lined up to pitch their products
KPIs – How to select/choose your key performance indicators
Data accuracy questions

What’s In
Big data – we all now have it
Tag Management – the CMS of third-party script placement
Privacy – good/practise, how does Google fit in
Case studies – more examples of what works, what does’t, search marketing and content optimisation

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Know Your Limits – A Google Analytics Reference Guide

October 16, 2012 / Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding / Comments: 11

Its good to know the limits of your Google Analytics implementation. All software has it limits and Google Analytics is no exception. From Google’s viewpoint, setting boundaries and limits prevents errors and system overload, and it ensures that other users of the service are not affected by the processing of someone else’s data. For example, a website with a relatively low amount of traffic data should not have its reports delayed due to the processing of another user’s data from a site that has more traffic.

The table below lists the limits set for the free version of Google Analytics.

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Privacy, Web Analytics, Google and Ketchup

October 4, 2012 / Categories: Google Analytics specific, Privacy and Accuracy / Comments: 4

Following a recent period of renewed media debate (I use that term loosely!) about the legality of tracking website visitors with Google Analytics, Sara Andersson, founder of Search Integration AB and the blog No Ketchup (hence the reference in my title), interviewed me about my opinions on this last week and what the debate should really be about. As always, I would be interested in your feedback…

The Questions:

  1. Can you give me your thoughts on how Google look at this product and how they handle data internally?
  2. The latest discussions on Google Analytics being illegal and the fact that they propose that people should not use GA on their sites, what is your reaction to this? Are the concerns legitimate at ALL?
  3. The latest EU privacy law is trying to stop people from tracking individual information. What is your thoughts on this in relation to Google Analytics as a product?
  4. Why does Google Analytics get all the focus in the debate about privacy? Are there other services and tools that in your opinion, website owners should be aware of when it comes to tracking sensitive data?
  5. What can website owners do in order to clarify to their visitors how they handle data?
  6. Beyond looking at the concerns of website owners, what should the privacy debate be about?
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What is the future direction of analytics?

September 28, 2012 / Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding / Comments: 1

I was recently interviewed by CMSWire. Apart from pointing you to the full article, I thought the questions, expertly posed by Siobhan Fagan, were very relevant. I particularly liked:

What do you see as the future direction of analytics?

I enjoy sticking my neck out on future predictions, so I reproduce my answer to this question here…

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Google Analytics illegal to use – according to Norwegian Data Inspectorate

August 21, 2012 / Categories: Privacy and Accuracy / Comments: 16

Not really! The eye catching headline form the following article is actually very misleading (I used Google translate). In fact, this is a classic example of poor/misleading journalism on this subject…

As I wrote in my last article on this subject: Google Analytics and the new EU privacy law #3, if you use Google Analytics to collect personal identifiable information (PII) without the explicit consent of each visitor, then yes you are breaking the privacy laws in each of the 27 EU member countries. That is the same with any tracking tool/methodology. It also breaks the Terms of Service of GA.

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