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Old 06-25-2007   #1
Kevin Newcomb
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Can Google Analytics Be Evil?

In today's Search Ads column, "Can Google Analytics Be Evil?," Tony Wright is looking for feedback on Google Analytics. Like many search marketers, he has recommended that clients stay away from Google Analytics because of concerns about data privacy and some of the ways Google has used AdWords data in the past.

Is he right to be wary, or are the benefits of a free and easy to use analytics application worth any potential risks?
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Old 06-25-2007   #2
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Matt says his team doesn't use it and that to his knowledge other Googlers don't either.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...25054136856586

Before Google bought Urchin, it was one of the best and most expensive analytics packages out there. Don't let the fact it's now free influence your decision, somebody is paying for it! Not using Google Analytics because it's free, is like not driving a Rolls-Royce because you inherit it.

Last edited by beu : 06-25-2007 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 06-25-2007   #3
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You know, there is no such thing as a free lunch... It is really strange that one of the most expensive analytics packages has become free. It seems Google is taken some payment, not money, but information may be more valuable sometimes
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Old 06-25-2007   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Newcomb
Like many search marketers, he has recommended that clients stay away from Google Analytics because of concerns about data privacy and some of the ways Google has used AdWords data in the past.
This is what concerns me most about Google Analytics. I've been questioned by higher ups to no end about different types of analytics software and there's one issue that keeps resurfacing. If we tie Google Analytics to our Adwords account, what will happen to CPCs? Will they go up since Google will have conversion data showing they can charge a little bit more while we still get a positive ROI (albeit with thinner margins)?
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Old 06-25-2007   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe
You know, there is no such thing as a free lunch... It is really strange that one of the most expensive analytics packages has become free. It seems Google is taken some payment, not money, but information may be more valuable sometimes
I see your point believe me! Consider for a moment that Google bought Urchin as well as Measure Map and is giving them both away to help mom and pop business owners compete with the big boys. So, what's in it for Google? By providing site owners with more information about their sites, Google's job is easier and the field is more level. That said, if you feel uncomfortable about using GA don't!
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Old 06-25-2007   #6
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Never Underestimate Google

In all of the marketing firms I've worked for, collecting customer data has always been on the top of their list. Never underestimate Google and their motives for making Google analytics free. Really, nothing in life is free, there is always a price to pay in some form or another. Take Google's cross-channel tracking for example, they're collecting information from your other advertising channels, which means they know how they compare to Yahoo, business.com, msn etc. That's some powerful info!
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Old 06-25-2007   #7
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No, I don't believe google analytics is evil. Google helps us to help them back. Remember, we are the builders of the web. If we build better homepages, google will be there to serve new web travelers... Hence... we all profit... We call that a higgs caldor I think.
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Old 06-26-2007   #8
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Well, I think one can use Google Analytics on non-commercial sites, because I prefer not to tell everybody how much I earn, what does advertising cost to me and so on. This information usually is a trade secret.

So for a personal blog or a site about your favorite cat - great but not for a site I am getting money from.

As minimum, I think Google can use the information about your revenue to estimate AdWords bids, for example.
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Old 06-26-2007   #9
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Google analytics also spreads Google's reach over the web for tracking user click paths and browsing history without having the google toolbar.

If your site runs analytics or adsense then they can track that user and match it up in their identity management software with other instances of that user's profile.

By merging the data of people from different times they have shown up on the radar for different web sites they can build more accurate profiles of web users.

I think this ability to spread their reach of monitoring of regular web traffic was the justification for giving analytics away for free to webmasters.

Is that evil?
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Old 06-26-2007   #10
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Why Its Free

Google provides analytics for free because it is harvesting the data in order to enhance its adwords system. And by Enhancing the system, I mean price setting.

Unlike other providers, google has a minimum bid that is variable for each advertiser. You may have noticed your minimum bid changing in the upwardly direction, sometimes as frequently as daily. The changes to the min. bid are google's way of setting the price to determine price elasticity meaning how high will you go on a keyword.

Fueling the min. bid price hikes, in part, is the data that they harvest from google analytics (other factors probably apply as well including how long you have been sitting at the same cpc, what other bidders are paying, and how good or bad your ctr is). This means that the more information they have in their hands, the more they know how profitable a keyword is for you as the advertiser, then the higher the price climbs.

Using google analytics for free, will cost you in adwords spend. Its not free.

(this is just an educated theory)
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Old 06-26-2007   #11
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My intuition's with Lori, although I have no data to back that up. The fact that the company that makes its money from online advertising also provides, as if by coincidence, world-class analytics tools for free should make any firm think twice about Google Analytics.

That said, GA is definitely useful, and I appreciate its relative ease of implementation. However, it still has a ways to go before it can be considered as robust as a paid alternative. For example, try deleting your profile, then see if they can get it back, and you'll quickly see what I mean. (Note: Don't actually do this. Once it's gone, it's gone for good.) Caveat analyst.
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