If your audience comes mainly from tech sites like Hacer News, Reddit or others, you could be losing more than half of your traffic.
Apparently, according to the latest studies, more than half of the browsers that visit these types of pages have ad blockers that, in addition to hiding ads, eliminate tracking codes such as Google Analytics.
On the other hand, pages such as MetricsWave are free from this blocking as they are not listed in most blockers and are more user privacy friendly.
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Several web browsers, including Firefox, Brave and Safari, obstruct tracking through Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Adblockers are also known to block calls from Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. This leaves website owners questioning the effectiveness of Google Analytics and the accuracy of its data.
The effect of adblockers on Google Analytics varies depending on the industry, target audience, the device used and the individual website.
In a previous study, I discovered that less than 10% of visitors blocked Google Analytics on foodie and lifestyle sites, whereas more than 25% blocked it on tech-focused sites.
But what about a very tech-heavy website with a tech-savvy audience of hackers, developers and the like? How many visitors do sites that use Google Analytics miss out on from referral sources such as Hacker News or Reddit? Let's find out.
I investigated analytics of a site that had a post trending on Hacker News and Reddit with more than a thousand upvotes and more than a thousand comments. I compared the stats between MetricsWave and Google Analytics.
**It appears that a majority (58%) of Hacker News readers, Reddit members, and other tech-savvy individuals block Google Analytics. **
These tech-heavy audiences are much more likely to employ adblockers and privacy-friendly browsers than the typical web user. Let's take a closer peek at the figures.
Could Google be ignoring bots and other crawlers? Is it possible to confirm that MetricsWave isn't over-reporting?
It's worth noting that it's rare for the data from two analytics providers to have complete parity. MetricsWave and Google Analytics have different measurement methodologies and define specific metrics differently.
Even if there were no blockers at all, slight differences in data between MetricsWave and Google Analytics were likely to be seen.
MetricsWave doesn't use any long-term identifiers as we're a GDPR compliant web analytics tool. This means that the same person visiting a site multiple times in one day would be seen as one unique visitor, but that same person coming back a few days later would be seen as another unique visitor.
Google's method is not foolproof either, as visitors using incognito mode would be new unique visitors, as would those who block or clear cookies. For three days, the difference this makes would be minimal.
The difference could get larger over a longer period, especially on sticky sites where the same people return daily. The top sources of traffic for this site were Hacker News and Reddit, and they are notorious for traffic that bounces quickly and doesn't return.
Because MetricsWave and Google Analytics measure unique visitors differently, I also looked at the total pageviews. These should be identical, but they show pretty much the same difference as unique visitors.
All in all, the difference in stats would mostly come from people blocking the Google Analytics script. Google Analytics is listed on many blocklists, while MetricsWave is not.
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