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Here I write about Google Analytics setup and usage; Online privacy & GDPR; 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…!

I love to hear reader’s feedback, so please comment on my posts or share them.

Brian Clifton - Blog

Google Analytics Limits – a reference guide

Categories: GA & GTM, Metrics Understanding / Comments: 37

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 with comparisons to GA360 where applicable.

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Privacy, Web Analytics, Google and Ketchup

Categories: GA & GTM, GDPR & Privacy / 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?

Categories: GA & GTM, 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

Categories: GDPR & Privacy / 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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Online Measurement and Strategy Report

Categories: GA & GTM, Metrics Understanding / Comments: 2

I am a big fan of Econsultancy because of the quality of the work these guys do. In case you missed it they published their 5th Online Measurement and Strategy Report 2012 today. As with the previous reports, it’s fascinating snapshot on where web analytics is right now – both as a process and as an industry.

But what got my attention are the GA Premium numbers… […]

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Google Analytics and the EU privacy law #3

Categories: GDPR & Privacy / Comments: 20

As you may be aware, last May (2011) a new EU privacy directive came into force – officially known as Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), though often referred to as the “EU cookie law” as it implies that setting website cookies without a visitors consent would be illegal in all 27 EU member countries.

Contrary to what has been reported (and even enacted on some sites), you do not need to seek explicit consent to set an anonymous, benign first party cookie. […]

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Book errata – 3rd edition

Categories: GA & GTM / Comments: 15

A small number of typos have come to my attention with the 3rd edition – four so far. These will be corrected in the next re-print (due end of May). However I wanted to list them here for people to be aware of. Please let me know (by adding a comment here) if you find others.

Ch 7, page 254 – Figure 7.15
Figure 7.15 illustrates a hostname differentiation filter. The “Field B” and “Output To” have no option selected, and only show a dash -. They should instead read “Request URI”. Replacement image shown below. […]

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