Avoiding sampling in Google Analytics for your year end reporting

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Avoiding sampling in Google Analytics for your year end reporting

As 2012 is behind us, in many organisations it is time for year end reporting.

If you use Google Analytics, and had more than 500,000 visitors in 2012 and want to use an advanced segment in your reporting (and you should use segments, because segments rock) then it means it is also time to deal with sampling.

  • A query trying to see Non-paid search by source ignores 94% of the data on a site with about 9 M visitors in 2012

The evil yellow “fast access mode” box that informs you that GA is giving you an estimate only, based on a potentially quite small sample set. To do your reporting properly, you need to get unsampled data from Google Analytics- how?

One way is to just do lots of exports, each one on a time period small enough to avoid sampling. If you have a lot of visitors, then you might need to do dozens or even hundreds of exports, then add all that data up. This year, don’t waste all that time cutting and pasting. There is a solution to get unsampled data even if you have almost half a million visitors a day- by automatically generating all those queries using Analytics Canvas.

Avoid sampling and consolidate all your data exports into a one click operation

Analytics Canvas lets you avoid the nightmare this year. And because it has a 30 day, full function free trial you can even do your 2012 year end reporting for free.

In Analytics canvas, you can just select automatic partitioning, and it does all the work for you, making a query for every period, and then consolidating the data for you, ready to export into excel, or wherever you need it. Because its automatic, you can pick a period that is short enough that you KNOW there won’t be more than 500,000 visits, so no sampling.

We’ll show you an example- here is a query with a weekly partition- we’ve specified no more than 7 days per request, and set the date from Jan 1 2012 to Dec 31 2012. This results in 52 queries, and no sampling.


Do you need to have information for the entire year from Google Analytics and use an advanced segment? If you have lots of visits, then you need to watch for sampling- give Analytics Canvas a try for free, and discover how you can turn days of mindless work into a quick automated query.

This article was written by James Standen

James is the founder of nModal Solutions, the creator of the Analytics Canvas tools. nModal's vision is to bring an entire new class of visual, flexible tools to web analytics and social media analysis. You can find him on Google+.

1 comment:

Amandine DelacroixFebruary 5, 2013 at 12:14 pmReply

Hello,
Thanks for this article it was usefull to me.
Sampling is a complicated issue and I am not sure that it is a gain for Analytics users like me. I have found this article that explains some of the reasons why:
The myth of virtuous sampling in web analytics

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