February 10th, 2014, 11:37 PM
How does Google Analytics determine real users?
We all now know that Google Anal (oops, I mean Analytics) provides a reporting API to request a page view count by URL. And we also all now concede that GA is amazing.
My question is purely academic and I have no practical use at the moment, however, I am curious how GA does it? Is it server side browser sniffing? Is there a client side JS component, and if so, does it not count non-JS client hits? Does it constantly change to keep ahead of the newest Bots? Does it use some totally different AI?
February 11th, 2014, 07:35 AM
I'm not aware of any member who works at Google, so not sure what you expect from us. A bunch of speculations?
February 11th, 2014, 08:11 AM
Just a logical hypothesis.
Originally Posted by Jacques1
February 11th, 2014, 01:05 PM
My guess would be they start with some basic useragent / ip filtering of known bots and then move on to some heuristic algorithms that use data gathered across several several sites and across time to help filter things further.
For example if you see a particular agent requesting a page on a site every couple of seconds for an extended period you could reasonably assume that is a bot crawling the site.
If you see an agent hitting a bunch of completely unrelated sites consistently or at the same time you could make an assumption that they are likely a bot as well.
A key thing to keep in mind is that even though GA may only show you information relevant to your site, it has data from thousands of sites at it's disposal when attempting to determine patterns or trends in browsing behaviors. All that data plus a few smart people can lead to some fairly accurate results.
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February 11th, 2014, 06:29 PM
Thanks Kicken, I appreciate your response. Seems like a very reasonable guess, and believe you are correct.
Originally Posted by kicken