Google Analytics was designed for measuring the impact of websites and marketing campaigns and has been available free of charge to the public since Google purchased Urchin back in 2005.
Ten years later and over 30 million websites are using Google Analytics to gather intelligence from their marketing data, and as online continues to grow, what could be a more useful free tool?
As part of the Terms of Service, Google provides users the ability to process up to 10 million hits per Property, per month. As soon as you receive over 10 million hits per month, data inaccuracies become apparent due to the sheer load on Google's servers.
The whole purpose of Google Analytics is to collect accurate user data to ensure the correct decisions are made. As soon as data inaccuracies are present, the solution quickly becomes void, so it's important to understand how many hits you're receiving on a monthly basis.
What is a Google Analytics hit?
A hit is an interaction that results in data being sent to and processed in Google Analytics. A hit consists of the following:
- Social interaction
- E-commerce item
- E-commerce transaction
Therefore, someone who lands on your site and continues their user journey onsite may incur multiple hits in one session. By default, Google Analytics will track pageviews; all of the other hits will require a manual implementation to send the corresponding hit.
How to calculate how many Google Analytics hits your website receives
To make life easier and prevent numerous headaches, Google has recently implemented new functionality named Property Hit Volume which can be found in the Property Settings section of Google Analytics Admin interface. This does all of the hard work for you, outlining exactly how many hits you're receiving on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
For the techies amongst us looking for the exact definition of how a hit is processed - a hit is calculated at the Property level. This means that once the hit is received in the Property, it's filtered amongst the subsequent Views. To add a little more clarity, please see the below example. The 'All Website Data' View has no filter in place. The UK and US Views are filtering by country.
All Website Data 100 hits
UK: 40 hits
US: 60 hits
A common misconception is to assume that the above diagram equates to 200 hits. However, as the All Website Data has no filters in place, it's actually a combination of the UK and US hits, totaling to 100 hits at the Property level.
What can I do if I've exceeded my Google Analytics hit limit?
If you exceed 10 million hits, you may receive an on-screen notification or email alert advising you to address the data inaccuracies or processing may be halted. You could do so by either reducing your hit rate or upgrading to Google Analytics 360.
How can I reduce my Google Analytics hit rate?
If you have added numerous tracking calls like Event Tracking to your implementation, these can quickly add up. Reducing these will reduce your number of hits. We've seen examples of event-based scroll tracking and AJAX calls that have skyrocketed hits, so these areas would be your first port of call to ensure you're within the 10 million per month hit cap. However, this may be difficult for some due to the wealth of information provided via Event Tracking.
Another way to effectively reduce your number of hits is to set a sample rate for data collection within the tracking code. This essentially means that Google Analytics will only a process a certain number of hits. The sample percentage can be specified in the tracking code.
Learn how to set a sample rate or reduce your tracking calls using Google Developers page guides.
Considering Google Analytics Premium?
There are numerous benefits to Google Analytics 360. It is a paid service that includes a 99.9% uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA), allows up to 20 billion hits per month and a plethora of additional features. Unlike most other paid analytics solutions, you don't pay per hit, but rather at a tier level of up to 1 billion hits, 15 billion hits (and so on), so there's no nasty surprises at the end of the month.
For insight into the difference between Google Analytics Free and Google Analytics 360 click here:
How to stay up to date with Google Analytics Terms of Service
Any changes to Google's Terms of Service are always posted in the links provided above. You may wish to set up a google alert for Google Analytics terms of service change, or encourage your compliance department to do so.
Changes are always posted first and do not happen retroactively.
Have you exceeded your limit and require Google Analytics 360? Contact us to find out more.