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A large portion of the privacy-minded and tech-savvy internet has been abuzz this week about a recent article by Plausible that declared as much as 58% of all users block Google Analytics data.

That means website owners are potentially missing out on understanding the preferences of a large and significant number of their users.

Although privacy on the internet is critical, collecting accurate data helps businesses serve their users and create better products.

Let’s look at the implications of missing out on key data and how you can get a complete picture of your audience.

More People Are Blocking Analytics Than Ever

The Implications of the Missing Data

How To Get a Better Understanding of Your Audience

Final Thoughts — 58% of Your Users Data Isn’t Collected: What You Can Do

More People Are Blocking Analytics Than Ever

With the rise of social media, users have become more aware of the vast amount of data they share online. As data security issues have hit the news throughout the years, Americans have become more skeptical about their own data’s security.

According to the 2019 survey by the Pew Research Center, 70% of Americans said their data was less secure than in previous years.

That trend goes all the way to 2021, with a whopping 50-64% of Americans stating their social media activity, physical location, and private text information isn’t secure in a poll by AP-NORC and MeriTalk.

Pew Research Center chart showing 70% of Americans feel their data is less secure than five years ago
Image Source

That makes sense as privacy concerns are now top-of-mind when users are asked to accept cookies at every new website and allow apps to track data across their phones.

These numbers are likely to rise as younger generations who grew up with the internet make up a more significant portion of adult users.

The Implications of the Missing Data

Although the data Google Analytics has on the remaining 42% of your audience could be extrapolated — it’s not a representative sample. That means more tech-savvy internet-literate audiences could be vastly underrepresented in your website’s data.

When it comes to making decisions about your website or app, it’s crucial to have the data from users experienced with technology. Without it, you could optimize a website for an audience that prefers less complexity and miss out on bringing a digital product to its full potential.

Tech-savvy audiences also tend to be younger, which means the remaining data likely overrepresents the interests of older populations. That means the effects of the missing data could be even further-reaching.

How To Get a Better Understanding of Your Audience

While some may argue Google is making efforts to get around ad blocker technology, there’s not going to be an easy way to fix the missing data problem completely.

With these limitations, how can you make sure you actually understand your audience?

Here are a few ideas:

Implement Voluntary Surveys

Blocking cookies disables visitor tracking, so it can be hard to tell how much of your traffic is return traffic and where your new traffic is coming from. A short popup survey that doesn’t interrupt the user experience may be a good way to recapture this information.

Website popup survey that asks “how did you hear about us” and provides five short options
Image Source

Bypass AdBlock Detection

Several third-party programs can disguise the cookies and other data collection methods so that most ad blockers cannot detect them. These won’t work perfectly every time, but they will certainly help you collect more data.

Invest In Software That Puts Privacy First

There are many alternatives to Google Analytics, and many options make an effort to prioritize users’ privacy. When the software is designed to work without cookies, the resulting anonymous data may be less skewed.

These tools may be a great solution for small business owners who don’t want to sort through all the Google Analytics data, as fewer data points offer a simplified experience.

Here are a few Privacy-focused analytics software providers:

Final Thoughts — 58% of Your Users Data Isn’t Collected: What You Can Do

More users than ever are concerned about the privacy of their data on the internet. As the general population becomes more technologically literate and the public awareness of data privacy increases, it’s likely that users will only become more protective of their data.

That has significant implications for your website’s optimization.

Working with less than half of your visitor’s data means you’re more likely to make inaccurate assumptions about their preferences and needs. Thankfully, there are workarounds like on-site surveys, bypasses, and privacy-first software.

What are you doing to bypass these data limitations? Let us know in the comment section below or by tweeting @Bluehost.

  • Machielle Thomas

    Machielle is a content enthusiast who has a passion for bridging the gap between audiences and brands through impactful storytelling. Machielle has also spoken at dozens of WordCamps throughout the years.

    Texas State University
    Previous Experience
    Brand Content, Content Marketing, Brand Lead, Operations Lead, Course Instructor
    Other publications
    Shopify, Contently
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