That's How Wrong Google Analytics Can Be

May 17, 2019
2 minutes to read
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This blog is not very old yet. I just started it a month ago and of course I wanted to know if somebody is even reading it. So after a few days I included Google Analytics to get an impression of the visitors of my page and if I even have an audience here. But barely any visit got tracked and since I didn’t even filter out my own ip I had the impression that I’m basically the only user of my page. But that impression was wrong, which I noticed when I switched to server side tracking.

As you can see I barely got more than one user on any day. That can have many reasons. One is, my target audience of this blog are developers and its very likely that every one (including myself) has some kind of ad or script blocker extension running. Another is that I had a cookie consent in place that actually worked and since the page was usable without accepting it and it wasn’t even very prominent the few users that don’t have any kind of blocker probably didn’t accept the cookie consent and as a result weren’t tracked.

After a couple of days when I had the first posts in place I started with a little promotion on my Twitter account and realised that according to their statistics I should see at least 26 visits on my page, but no one was present in Google Analytics.

So I decided I set up some kind of server side tracking and see where it leads. And the difference is huge. On the first day that I tracked I had nearly 200 unique visitors in contrast to 2 in Google Analytics.

Technologically I decided for the open source variant of matomo which has such a large feature set that its more then enough for my needs where I mainly want to know which content is read and how my page develops over time.

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