Google Analytics’ Open Secret
Those stats on your Google Analytics dashboard may not be real.
I developed an analytics system for a project I worked on a while back. We always compared our numbers to Google Analytics as one of our benchmarks. But our system kept reporting lower numbers, consistently.
So after diving into the deep end, here’s what I discovered:
Your Google Analytics numbers for the past month are an approximation. Especially if you have high traffic.
Google revises your numbers towards the real ones gradually.
You’ll only see your real numbers only about a month later.
And unfortunately, all this was confirmed by AWS’ big spring crash of 2011.
For all the great features that Google Analytics provides us, I can see why they approximate the way they do.
Practical analytics systems are a game of pick two out of the three:
1) Generic collection
2) Multi-dimensional slicing
3) Real time reporting
Do all three and you’ll have to hire yourself a team.
Analytics are hard.
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