How To Get An Easy Advantage Using Analytics

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If you’re “really good” at interpreting your web data, you’ll have a major advantage over your competitors who are only “marginally good”.

I’m constantly studying reporting tools for the Dallas SEO website. I want to understand differences and advantages. While I won’t name names (okay, I’ll name just one name), I would like to point out some important things for you to consider when deciding what analytic tool you will use and how you will use it.

Here are the 3 areas I want to focus my comments on:

  1. 1st party cookies vs. 3rd party cookies
  2. JavaScript placement and resulting data
  3. Anti-spyware blocking

1st Party Cookies vs 3rd Party Cookies

To get the largest set of data possible, my opinion is that you should insist on a package that uses 1st Party Cookies. Remember, the accuracy of data increases as the data set increases.

Most industry experts agree that 3rd Party Cookies are subject to blocking & deletion 15% to 20% of the time. That means, that as many as 2 in 10 visits are not measurable.

On the other hand, 1st Party Cookies are only subject to the same measures 1% to 2% of the time. Again, the larger your data set, the more reliable your data will be.

(Note: Google Analytics uses 1st Party Cookies)

JavaScript Placement and Resulting Data

Most vendors will recommend you place your tracking/reporting JavaScript right before your closing body tag </body>. However, a certain percentage of your visitors will make a decision about what they will do on your site (i.e. back button, click 1st link, x out, etc) before your JavaScript has a chance to execute at the bottom of your page.

Since JavaScript can take 2-3 seconds to execute, that gives your visitors plenty of time to make a decision that you will not be able to track.

By placing your JavaScript in the header of your HTML, you execute it first – giving you more reliable data about events that occur early in the visit.

Anti-Spyware Blocking

A good (read: expensive) analytics package will appear to run on a sub-domain of your existing site. Many free analytic packages make a call back to their server. Many anti-spyware packages will delete or block calls back to your free analytics server. That is data that you lose. Your statistically significant data set shrinks along with your certainty to make important business decisions.

Summary

While a free analytics package is very appealing to use when you are first getting off the ground, you will want to consider a switch to a more in-depth, reliable, significant reporting tool as your online business becomes the lifeblood of your livelihood.

Contact me if you have any questions about setting up your analytic reporting package.

Peace,
Mike

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