Google Analytics Achilles Heel

August 5, 2009
211 Views

For the casual user, Google Analytics seems like analytics manna and at free it’s hard to complain too much.


However, for more serious users Google Analytics is missing one of the most basic features of site metrics tools is the notion of a unique user or visitor. While, many armchair experts delight in splitting hairs about cookie deletion, browsers and actual people vs. the unique visitor many more simply need to get work done.

Simply put, Google Analytics has one major and pervasive flaw: emphasis on visits instead of the visitor. In fact, the entire application revolves around the visit also known as a session. According to the WAA, this is a 30 minute interval during which a user made at least two server requests.

Other tools like Omniture, NetInsight, Coremetrics allow the user to pivot all manners of reports in terms of what visitors did. For example, here are some basic questions that Google Analytics cannot answer:

  • How many unique visitors viewed my home page?
  • How many unique visitors came from search engines?
  • How many unique visitors were new?
  • How many unique visitors registered on my site?


Google’s hidden agenda should be clear to all: free Web analytics in exchange for the


For the casual user, Google Analytics seems like analytics manna and at free it’s hard to complain too much.


However, for more serious users Google Analytics is missing one of the most basic features of site metrics tools is the notion of a unique user or visitor. While, many armchair experts delight in splitting hairs about cookie deletion, browsers and actual people vs. the unique visitor many more simply need to get work done.

Simply put, Google Analytics has one major and pervasive flaw: emphasis on visits instead of the visitor. In fact, the entire application revolves around the visit also known as a session. According to the WAA, this is a 30 minute interval during which a user made at least two server requests.

Other tools like Omniture, NetInsight, Coremetrics allow the user to pivot all manners of reports in terms of what visitors did. For example, here are some basic questions that Google Analytics cannot answer:

  • How many unique visitors viewed my home page?
  • How many unique visitors came from search engines?
  • How many unique visitors were new?
  • How many unique visitors registered on my site?


Google’s hidden agenda should be clear to all: free Web analytics in exchange for the ability to profile your users. Your site or blog’s behavioral data footprint lives on at Google…your welcome.