Reports have been pouring into Google this week regarding their Google Instant Previews tool and how it is making a mess of analytics data. The problem happens when a searcher rolls his mouse over an instant preview. The image is revealed and the preview is logged as an actual visit on some analytics software. So if you wondered why your hits were up so drastically this month this debacle could well be the reason. Potentially this could be messing with your bounce rate and time on site stats, and may have left you baffled as to why particular trends have suddenly occurred.
It seems like an obvious thing to get right first time around. I mean how could Google not realise that this would be an issue, and with the holiday season approaching it really is a naughty mistake to mess with peoples’ businesses like this. Don’t stress too much though, it has only been a couple of weeks and as I write I have got word of a fix. This is what Google had to say on the matter:
“Since Instant Preview launched in early November, some Analytics users have noticed increased pageviews in their accounts.
We’ve now fixed this issue, and visits from Google Instant Preview will no longer show up in your Analytics account. We will not be reprocessing the data to remove past visits, but you can use an advanced segment to see the visits from Instant Preview in the context of your total traffic. WebShare, a Google Analytics Certified Partner, has put together a blog post detailing this method (see “Option 1: Advanced segment”).
We’re sorry for any problems this issue caused especially as we get into the holiday shopping season. We’re working more closely with the Google Instant team to prevent issues like these from happening again.”
So Google won’t be rectifying the mistake, but you do have the option of seeing which visits occurred as a result of Google Instant Previews by viewing the WebShare blog post. For me, I have realised the silver lining in this relatively small disaster, and I urge you to do the same. Use the opportunity to see just how many of those users that clicked your page preview actually ended up coming to your site, then study exactly what they did once they arrived…remember: all data is useful data!