It’s easy to sign up for cool tools without really reading the full terms of service, especially when those services are complimentary. Google Analytics is one of those “cool tools”! Really robust, really useful, sometimes so useful, our business depends on it. But do we really know the limits?
You’re garnering leads, conversion rates are increasing, the Key Performance Indicators you’ve chosen are displaying progress, and the hits to your website are sky-rocketing! Life is good when suddenly an error message starts flashing on your reporting dashboard – you’ve exceeded 10 million hits per month!
Why did you hit the data limit? Well, it’s part of the terms of service we neglect to read . Google Analytics terms of service states, “…the service is provided without charge to you for up to 10 million Hits per month per account.”
Is it really that big of a deal? If you’re hitting the limit, probably. Reason being, most likely at this volume, your data is important, and Google Analytics will automatically start sampling your data. That means not all your data will be available in your interface, which could lead to inaccuracies and limit the insight you can derive.
All the work and investment you put in your digital properties – websites, mobile website, mobile apps, to become one of the leading businesses in your industry – it’s obviously important to accurately analyze your data and have as much access to it as you can.
You have 3 overlying solutions:
1. Upgrade to Google Analytics Premium
The first is the easiest most straightforward way to overcome these limits. Upgrading to Google Analytics Premium gives you 1 billion hits per month, not to mention access to “amped-up” reporting features for your business. Plus, you won’t be going at analyzing your data alone – it also includes technical and implementation support, which at this volume, can be a big help.
It is indeed a paid service, but it’s worth it to avoid the hassle and get the proper processing power and support you need for your growing organization. For more information and consultation about Google Analytics Premium, contact E-Nor.
2. Limit Hits to Google Analytics by Setting Your Own Sample Rate
Since Google Analytics standard only allows a number of hits, the second option you have is to report/send fewer hits to your analytics account. A “hit” on a site is a pageview, event or any other transaction. The reason this may help is that a single visit could potentially be registered as multiple hits. That is, say a user interacts with your website and views multiple pages, fills out a form and purchases a product, these interactions will be reported as multiple hits, regardless of all these actions being associated with one unique visitor or even one visit. Setting your own sample rate will minimize the hits, but put the control in your hands (rather than letting the system choose the sampling rate for you when you’ve passed their limit).
This is done at the code level. Talk to your developers about setting a new sample rate using the _setSampleRate method in the tracking code. This method allows you to choose the number of visits after which you want to count. For instance, you choose to track one visit after every 10 visits, so your sampling rate is 10. Say you have 100,000 visits a day. If you track with a sample rate of 10, your visits will be reported as 10,000 hits. Thus, allowing you to reduce your overall data limit.
3. Selective Tracking To Minimize Hits
If you’re only interested in certain types of hits, you may be able to get rid of what’s unnecessary. For example, since every Event counts as a hit, you may want to re-strategize and figure out what Events are really necessary. Instead of tracking every unique user-interaction as an Event, pick and choose what’s important to track so that the tracking code doesn’t record excessive hits and inflates your data limit.
If you are a video heavy website, you may not need to track everything, such as when the user starts the video, when they pause the video, have reached midway, and/or reached the end. You might want to simply track when the user starts the video or when they’ve completed watching the video. This cuts downs the number of times tracking code is fired and lowers the hits.
If you’re an ecommerce website, and heavy on products, you don’t have to track every single metric involved, maybe only product pages visits, shares, social interactions, Add-to-Carts and so on. Once again pick and choose which metrics will best reflect your website’s performance with selective metrics.
Stay tuned for our more in depth article on tips to deal with sampling.