Google Analytics Data Skewed Because Of Instant Previews

There are confirmed reports that Google Instant Previews may be skewing your web analytics data.

It appears that in some cases Google will conduct an on-demand fetch of your page to dynamically create an Instant Preview. The on-demand fetch happens when a searcher places his mouse over the search result on Google and the image preview comes up. Some analytics tools, including Google Analytics, may consider that a visit, because Google Instant Preview is actually visiting the page in real-time to get that on-demand Instant Preview.

There are several complaints about this issue in the Google Help forums. Google’s John Mueller replied saying they are working on fixing this from showing up in Google Analytics. “We’re working on a solution for this, to prevent Google Instant Preview on-demand fetches from executing Analytics JavaScript,” John said.

There is no estimated time for when this may be resolved. So if you have seen a skew in your analytics data in the past two weeks, this may be the reason.

Postscript: The Google Analytics blog posted an update saying they fixed the issue at about 6:30 pm (EST). Note, they will not be reprocessing the data, so if you want to clean up your data, you can learn how to do so over here.

Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Google: Analytics | Google: Instant | Top News

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • http://www.antezeta.com/blog/ Sean Carlos

    There’s a relatively easy work-around which can be useful for other reasons as well: set up a filter in Google Analytics to include traffic only from your domain. The filter field is Hostname.

  • http://www.seroundtable.com/ Barry Schwartz

    Yep, but you need to know that you need to set up that filter. That is until Google changes the fetch process.

  • http://www.roi.com.au/ RowanB

    Is there any way currently how you can measure in Analytics instant preview clicks Vs actual visits to the site? This would be a good indicator as to whether you need to do something about the look of your site.

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