Google quietly announced yesterday that it will soon allow users to opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics. The post does not explain whether the web activities of these people will still be included in the aggregate numbers, or if they will actually not be tracked or counted at all. This distinction will make a big difference as to how valuable Google Analytics continues to be for website owners.
Of course, not everyone will opt-out of of being tracked. It will really depend on the individual site’s audience and how concerned they are about Google and the site viewing their online behavior. This is, however, something that all site owners need to be aware of and pay attention to. If you are solely using Google Analytics to track your website, this could have a significant affect on your reports.
In a recent post, Ken Fisher railed against ad blocking, insinuating that 40% of ARS Technica visitors had enabled ad blocking. If this same 40% opt-out of Google Analytics (if that’s what ARS Technica uses) the site could lose extremely valuable data about their users. Further, if Google Analytics truly collects no data about these users, site owners will not know if their site’s traffic actually dropped 40% or if this is only due to people opting-out.
At this point, it is far too early to panic and abandon Google Analytics. We will continue to stay on top of any related news and provide recommendations right here on the Blueliner Blog.