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The Famous (not provided)…. NOT!

By | January 31, 2012

I’m sure you’ve all heard and read enough about the painful missing information from our Google Analytics organic search traffic, the (not provided) data. Yep, it’s not over. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you can read it on Google’s blog.

I’ve been tracking this so-called “(not provided)” data since Oct. 17th, and the results are interesting. I have pulled together data from 10 sites in various industries which includes e-commerce, education, health, manufacturing, lead generation, and our very own site. Daily visitors range between 3 million to less than 1K and anywhere from 60K to under 100K in daily organic search traffic.

Figure 1 is a chart that shows a week-by-week comparison of the (not provided) data from 10/17 to 1/8. The chart is too large to fit this space so be sure to click the image for a much better view. Click here to see the numbers.

Figure 1

Site 9 and 10 were the most interesting as it climbs the scale for the percentage of (not provided) search traffic. I suspected education would be the front runner of them all. I guess our younger generations are not all that interested in Google Docs, Gmail or even Google+. Are you surprised?

Now take a look at Figure 2 below.

Figure 2

This chart shows a different perspective for the (not provided) search traffic. Below are the numbers. Again, Education is still not the front-runner, but we’re still in the early stages of this (not provided) dilemma.

Figure 3

Figure 1 and Figure 3 are simple segments from Google Analytics. I’m just pulling keywords with an exact match to (not provided), and you’ll see the percentage. Now, calculating the amount of (not provided) divided by the number of organic (Google) search traffic, you’ll see a widely different percentage in Figure 4.

Figure 4

The metrics are amazing across various industries, aren’t they?

So what metric did Google project its >10% search-engine traffic on? Was it week by week? One month at a time? Or did it combine several months to project >10%?

No matter what percentage we look at, they will continue to rise now that Google has launched ‘Search Plus Your World.’ What will the impact be on the (not provided) search traffic? We’ll have to report back once we gather some data.

What are your percentages and what metrics or segments are you using to get your (not provided) information?

A few colleagues in our field have come up with some interesting points: that it’s not totally the end of the world. So let’s move forward and discover what we can do with this information to make the best of it. Check out Avinash’s post and David Harry’s post for tips and value from this (not provided) data.

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