How reliable are Google Analytics?

2 minute read Published: 2021-02-17

A friend of mine sent me a link to an article about using a different website analytics solution different than the "classic" Google Analytics one.

Regardless of what the alternative solution is (there are many, see list at the end of this page), the interesting point of the article is that he discovered that the traffic reported by Google Analytics is way off than what he discovered by sampling visitors with another tool.

A lot more people than expected are using uBlock Origin, therefore Google Analytics is (as of 2021) left blind about these visitors.

His estimate with the other tool is perhaps a bit skewed (for example the SQL query filters out only a couple of well known crawlers and bots), but he reports a difference of about 2.5 times less visitor reported by Google!

He also points out that his website might not be completely representative because mostly visited by geeks. Still, I think it's an interesting data point: how reliable are Google Analytics in 2021?

uBlock Origin reports +5M downloads on the [Firefox add-on store and +10M on the Chrome store.

I assume Google is absolutely aware of this but either a) they're working on an alternate solution that will be unveiled at some point or b) they don't bother because not enough annoying to their business. Not yet. Like Cloudflare did, by the way.

§ Alternative to Google Analytics

There are many others: if for whatever reason you're not too happy with Google Analytics, I encourage you to explore alternatives.