Google Analytics is one of the most commonly used analytics tools used to track the entire customer journey, from awareness to the purchase phase. It provides an in-depth look at who is visiting your website, what they are looking at, and their general behavior as they traverse your website. Even with all of the rich analytics that Google provides, there is still so much you cannot ascertain from the data. So what is Google Analytics not telling you?
Inaccurate Google Analytics Data
There are two facets of inaccurate identity data based on Google Analytics reports. Bots now represent around half of internet traffic today. For every one human on your website, there’s an equal bot, spider, or crawler there to collect your data or complete malicious activities.
You may be under the impression that bot traffic won’t show up in your Google Analytics data, but that’s simply not the case. While there may be a “switch” to exclude bots, unfortunately for your reporting and data quality, Google Analytics doesn’t include true bot detection and mitigation.
While bot traffic is growing problem for businesses, it’s not the only worry when it comes to your analytics. Even the humans coming to your site can be up to no good.
Does the Audience Overview Report Hurt or Help Your Business?
As a business owner, it is essential to have a solid comprehension of the audience your website is drawing. Moving prospects and customers through the sales funnel efficiently relies on strong marketing, which drives engagement from online content. Many business owners gauge this from the Audience overview report in Google Analytics, but again, the report will not reveal the audience’s identity and intentions.
For example, a competitor could be completing reconnaissance of your products, services, and pricing. Google Analytics alone will not reveal the intentions of the visitor. You will only get a rosy view of a visitor session time, and may not fully understand how they are using your site for good or bad intent.
Give a True Identity to Every Website Visitor
Given that there is no way reliable way through Google Analytics to identify every anonymous visitor on your website, some companies employ visitor ID software products to bridge the gap. But even these products operate using less effective means of identification, including matching the IP address to a database of companies or individuals. But what many organizations don’t fully understand is that malicious actors have ways of spoofing their IP address, or using device emulators to modify their device data, or even go as far as inputting ‘real user’ data that they have purchased on the dark web to hide their true identity.
In contrast, a more effective way to parse out nefarious visitors is to use behavioral analytics and user fingerprinting together with machine learning and advanced analytical methods to identify every visitor and track their usage on a target site. Close tracking based on unique fingerprints means that businesses can not only block visitors—human or bot—that they don’t want, but also perform counterintelligence or even direct the traffic to sand boxes or honey pots to further examine and understand their intent, good or bad. Furthermore, these analytics can be contextualized to inform daily operations and long-term risk decisions.
Is it a partner that is buying up goods and selling them at a higher price that the business needs to part ways with? Or a competitor that is scraping pricing that can be directed to a false landing page with deceptive information? Examples like these can go on and on, and are valuable to every business.
To learn more about how identifying the true identity of website visitors can help your business, read our blog: Graduation: Just Another Opportunity for Triangulation Fraud.