November 7, 2018

7 Interesting Facts About Google Analytics

Kent Schnepp | CEO, Odysys, Inc., GreenFig Instructor
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Kent Schnepp | CEO, Odysys, Inc., GreenFig Instructor

7 Interesting Facts About Google Analytics

Peanut butter and jelly, wine and cheese, and milk and cookies. Some things just go together. They compliment each other, and once combined, elevate the status of each.  Of all the great things that go together, I believe Google Analytics and websites deserve a mention.

Google Analytics started from humble beginnings and has grown into arguably THE most valuable resource for measuring website and digital marketing performance. From the fountainhead of an idea in 1995 to becoming the most popular web analytics platform in history, Google Analytics has an interesting story. The following are a few of my favorites facts:

1. It's Older Than You Think

Google Analytics, originally called Urchin, was founded in 1995. That's 23 years ago! Consider that for a moment... Cell phone were used for phone calls, the Macerena went viral, and  Match.com had just launched. This was pre Web 2.0 and the Internet was a different place.

2. It Was Built Out Of Necessity

Originally built by a web development and hosting company called Web Depot, Urchin was created to solve an annoying problem. At the time website analytics systems processed data using server log files. This process could take days to extract data that we now take for granted. Urchin sped up this process and made the data more accessible.

3. Fortuitous Timing

In April 2005 Google acquired Urchin. They later rebranded as Google Analytics in November of the same year.

Co-Founder Brett Crosby signed the contract to sell Urchin to Google on his wedding day! As he recalls: “I was in my tux, literally just about to walk down the aisle when I signed the contract...” You can read more about it here.

4. It's All About The Features

Google took a good platform and made it great. Following the acquisition Google went on to invest in major improvements. In addition, Google acquired a product called MeasureMap from the successful UX firm Adaptive Path. MeasureMap was innovative at the time, as it tracked key performance metrics for the burgeoning blogging industry.

This acquisition kicked of a flurry of updates to Google analytics including:

  • Google Analytics tracking code
  • E commerce tracking
  • Goals
  • Adwords integration
  • Site search
  • Campaigns
  • And much more.

5. It Continues to Get Better

Asynchronous JavaScript tracking code, real time visitor tracking, app analytics, audience demographic reporting, and cohort analysis. Google has certainly invested in the future of Google Analytics and for good reason. Giving advertisers the data needed to track and improve their marketing campaigns, insures that advertisers will continue to spend money with Google.

6. It's Still Free

Google introduced a paid version of Google Analytics in 2015 called Google Analytics 360. However, the main platform continues to be completely free.

7. It's Insanely Popular

By some estimates more than half of all websites use Google Analytics. BuiltWith tracks almost 40,000,000 websites using it!

As you can see, Google Analytics has a colorful past. In 23 years it has become the default web analytics solution. I for one, can't wait to see what the future holds.


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