Why Does Google Analytics Show Different Site Traffic? What is Unik’s Official Position?
There are many different tracking systems out there other than Google Analytics and, for clients that really want to track stats and know what’s “real”, it takes (1) using multiple services to see the varying different numbers and (2) deciding for yourself which numbers you’ll go by.
They’re all going to be real numbers from real statistics from the server and counters/stats trackers on the pages, but the way that each service gets their numbers affects their count and then also how they evaluate the numbers affects the count.
If you’re using Google Analytics to verify tracking reports, you may see sharp discrepancies, which is a common occurrence in the industry.
Below are a number of independent articles about the issues with Google Analytics:
o Google Analytics is Lying To You – https://www.tallprojects.co.uk/articles/google-analytics-is-lying-to-you/
o Why Is Google Analytics Inaccurate? https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/why-is-google-analytics-inaccurate/ – it’s important to remember that Google Analytics doesn’t display information in “real-time.” There are many different factors that play a role in the accuracy of your Analytics reports.
Is Google Analytics Under Reporting Your Data? – http://www.inquisitr.com/2836/is-google-analytics-under-reporting-your-traffic/
Some additional articles
· This article maintains that a major reason why GA can be inaccurate is due to different/ shared devices.
o Having access to the same safari on your mac and iPhone, creates trouble for GA.
o If you are on a website on your iPhone but now decide to do further research on that website on your mac, you have now used two different devices which GA counts as two non-related visited, creating an inaccurate representation.
· This article gives 12 detailed explanations as to why google analytics should not be used for company websites.
· It gives insight on a broader google standpoint, discusses how google is a huge company running this analytics side and how that can most definitely interfere with data
· It also provides other ways to track analytics other than google analytics
GA likes dynamic redirects. Since our redirects are static vs dynamic, it can under report. For example: 1000 people click xyz.com – with our click-meter redirect sometimes it will report 1 or 100 but never the 1000, since GA thinks it’s the same person clicking. Also sometimes it doesn’t pass through the referring URL.
Bottom line, Google Analytics was never really designed to be used with email.
What is Unik’s Official Position?
Combined with Google Analytics’ notorious practice of under reporting actual site traffic and these violations with privacy policies, we suggest instead of using Google Analytics as an independent verification option, review raw server logs for an accurate, objective read on the campaign’s traffic.
Google for violation of privacy:
From the Washington Post, 2019: – https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/france-fines-google-nearly-57-million-for-first-major-violation-of-new-european-privacy-regime/2019/01/21/89e7ee08-1d8f-11e9-a759-2b8541bbbe20_story.html
· https://jameshammon.com.au/blogs/what-google-analytics-is-really-used-for/: – this article explains that Google takes advantage of its clients by collecting their site visitors’ data to monetize it; the clients do the heavy lifting, and Google makes the money on it.
These links explain what Google does that violates our privacy policies and concerns:
o The issue discussed in this link: “The standard version of the Google Analytics tracking code temporarily collects personal data out of the box”
o The issue discussed in this link: Google Analytics collects personal data – BUT – “An accurate overview of what data Google Analytics actually tracks is difficult to get hold of, as it is constantly developing and improving, and Google does not provide transparency about their methods.”
Unik’s Position on Google Analytics
If you are interested in retargeting we offer that service – but done properly, in a way that doesn’t violate any client privacy concerns.
As a group we need to respect privacy, and to be responsible in how we market to our future clients so as not to offend or violate privacy.
What Are Raw Server Logs? What Do They Measure? And How Can I Find Them?
A website’s raw server logs are files that record all requests made to the server by users and other systems. Each time a user visits a webpage, downloads a file, or interacts with the server in any way, an entry is made in the server log.
The server logs typically contain information such as:
1) IP addresses: The unique addresses assigned to each device connected to the internet. They help identify the location and the network from which the request originated.
2) Timestamps: The date and time when each request was made, providing insight into when visitors access the site and the patterns of activity.
3) URLs: The specific pages or resources requested by the users, allowing you to track which parts of the website are most popular.
4) HTTP status codes: These codes indicate the response status for each request (e.g., 200 for a successful request, 404 for a not found error, 500 for a server error, etc.).
5) User agents: Information about the browser and operating system used by the visitor, helping to understand the devices and platforms visitors are using.
6) Referrers: The URLs from which users arrived at your website, giving insights into traffic sources.
7) Session IDs: Information to track user sessions, allowing you to understand user behavior during a visit.
8) Finding raw server logs depends on the hosting environment and server configuration. Here are some common ways to access them:
9) cPanel or Hosting Control Panel: Many shared hosting providers offer access to server logs through a control panel like cPanel. Look for options like “Raw Access Logs” or “Raw Log Manager.”
10) FTP or SFTP: If you have access to the server via FTP or SFTP, you can often find the logs in the server’s file system. They are commonly located in the “logs” folder.
11) SSH: If you have SSH access to the server, you can use commands like “cd” to navigate to the log directory and “ls” to list the files. The logs might be in the “/var/log” directory.
12) Hosting Support: If you can’t access the logs yourself, you can ask your hosting provider’s support team to provide them for you.
13) Logging Services: Some hosting providers and platforms offer analytics and logging services that present the server log data in a more user-friendly format.
It’s important to note that server logs can contain sensitive information, so access to them should be restricted to authorized personnel only. Additionally, analyzing raw server logs can be complex and time-consuming. Many website owners prefer using analytics tools that process the log data and present it in a more digestible format for better insights, such as Google Analytics, Matomo (formerly Piwik), or AWStats. These tools offer various metrics and visualizations to help website owners understand their site’s performance and visitor behavior.