Google Analytics and data pollutionNovember 17, 2011
I love using Google Analytics–it’s fast and fairly easy to use without much investment up front. All I care about tracking at present are most viewed pages, monthly uniques, and a few other miscellaneous metrics. My only gripe is my data has been polluted because Analytics doesn’t filter data from other domains.
The heart of the problem lies in the fact that folks copy code from one or more of a website’s pages and forget to remove the Analytics tracking code. After those pages are put into production on other websites, they start sending data back to the wrong account, thus polluting the original website’s data. All is not lost though.
Analytics does offer a feature for manually restricting data to certain domains, IP addresses, and more, but I can’t help but feel there should be smarter defaults. With support for multiple domain tracking per account, I can’t imagine why Analytics would restrict tracking codes to a single domain by default. That seems to be a larger use case, at least for folks like myself who have multiple sites and share projects regularly.
Smarter defaults and easier, more exposed methods for managing site filters would likely nullify this problem completely. Here’s hoping Google can improve this in future iterations. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to fiddle with filters to ensure my data is accurate.