Google Analytics and Google Analytic Cookies
Web analytics are tools that offer objective and multi-dimensional statistics to give managers a better visual understanding of the interactions between their websites and visitors. By definition, web analytics refers to tools used to collect, assess, and report traffic data to help web analysts understand and optimize web usage. (Lee, 2012). Although this information varies based on the analytic tool used, it contains information on where, when, how long, how deep, where the visitors visit ended, and where they navigated to after leaving the particular webpage. Importantly noted, although there are several web analytic programs available, Google analytics is one of the widely used programs.
What is Google Analytics?
How is it used?
ga.js Google analytic cookies
Application of Google Analytics Cookies in Forensic Analysis
Getting Forensic Data from Google Analytic Cookies
Instead of tracking every page reload, Google Analytic cookies helps forensic investigators to track new sessions and show the referring site and keywords as well. Forensic analysts often get data by examining the name, value, host, and path values within the different cookies to get information about site visitors.
The __utma cookie contains a value field that contains information that needs to be closely examined to understand their contents (Nelson, 2012). In particular, the domain hash contains the visitor unique ID, their first, previous, and last sessions. In case the cookie has already been deleted, a subsequent visit to the site will generate a new visitor ID. According to nelson, the cookie also allows investigators to access the time stamps based on the local time system. However, it is important to note that the first visit time is not a reflection of the first time the user accessed the first; rather the first time the administrator set it on the system. The cookie expiry date is two years after the date set by the administrator.
The __utmb cookie is used alongside the __utmc cookie and is used to track sessions. The two cookies follow the structure of domain hash, page viewed, and the last time. The pages viewed indicates the number of pages that the user viewed in a specific domain, while the last time indicates the last period the page was accessed by the user.
Although the other cookies contains some bits of investigative data, the __utmz contains a great deal of forensic information. The cookie stores the domain hash, the date and time of last update, the number of times the visitor accessed the site, and all the sources used to access the website. The cookie also contains several variables that contain important information descripbing the target site. The variables include the utmcsr, which indicates the last site the user used to access the target website, and the utmccn that contains campaign information. The utmcmd that contains information on the last type of access used, the utmctr that contains the keywords used to find the target site, and the utmcct that contains the path to the referring link. Among these variables, the utmctr holds valuable data used to discover the target site, while the utmcct provides forensic analysts with investigative relevance.
After understanding the Google Analytics cookies, the next step is locating the cookies in the different browsers using the SQLite database manager. As Nelson elaborates, in Forefox, the system cookies are often located in cookies.sqlite, which can accessed through the <user_profile>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\profiles\<strings>. Defaulft\cookies.sqlite. The same procedure applies for Google Chrome but with some slight modifications in the path followed to access the SQL databse. The path usually follows <user_profile>\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Google\Chrome\User data\Defaulft\cookies.
Impact of Google Analytics on the Economy and Life
Google Analytics provides a set of tools used to support various primary tasks in web analysis. Virtually, the programs tracks the standard web metrics, which range from unique visitors, bounce rate, page views, and page abandonment rate among others. From a wider perspective, the web analytics tool does not only track the basic traffic to the websites, but it also largely contributes towards business success. According to Cutroni (2010), Google Analytics tracks all different kinds of marketing initiatives from AdWords, paid search, and social media marketing among other online marketing methods. In return, web analysts use the generated report to understand traffic performance and ultimately change the performance of the website. Overall, as one of the mainstream data tools, millions of both small and large business owners have adopted Google Analytics. Small and medium-sized businesses now have access to a world-class and free analytics tool that provides them with the necessary continuous improvement process for their e-commerce business. Large multinationals that used to pay huge amounts of money also have access to a free analytics tool that has enabled them to save huge amounts of money and redirect these funds to other functionalities to make data actionable.
Evolution for now and in the Future
Importance of Google Analytics in other Aspects
Google Analytics is a powerful tool for businesses and brands alike. Through the tool, businesses are able to uncover a tremendous amount of data concerning their website, which can then be used to enhance their marketing and business development tactics (Alhlou, Asif, & Fettman, 2016). The significance of Google Analytics can be broken down into various benefits. Firstly, Google Analytics helps web owners to zero down on what matters most to their business. In this case, the acquisition, audience, and behavior of web visitors are the most significant elements for marketers (Google Analytics Help, n.d). The audience section provides a considerable amount of data about the visitors who click on your site include their gender, age, and location. It also makes it possible to access more information about their interests and the browsers and devices used to access the site. Understanding things such as the demographic composition of the website audience give business owners the opportunity to tailor their content and advertising to meet the needs and interests of the specific group frequenting your site. As further elaborated, audience analysis enables organizations to repeatedly capture the audience response from multiple sources and help them in the design and delivery of the right content and unique experience for increased revenue generation (IBM Analytics, n.d). Consequently, the acquisition section provides website owners with detailed information regarding the people who visit their sites. Combined with the all traffic tab, business owners can access the way people arrive at their website, whether it is through a search engine, social media, a blog, or another website. On the behavior section, the website owners are able to understand the way people interact with their site. More specifically, this section enables owners to understand the most popular pages on their website. The information acquired from this tab can help in making informed decisions about the most effective marketing efforts that are useful in increasing website traffic.
As technology is increasingly changing, the nature of e-commerce marketing is changing. Google analytics is a powerful tool, which enables web owners to pay attention to their website visitors. Through this functionality, web owners can create content that meets the needs and interests of their visitors. Consequently, the tool enables web owners to construct a customized and relevant site experience for the audience that keeps them coming back to the site. To the economy, Google Analytics has significantly transformed the world of e-commerce in several ways. Small, medium-sized, as well as large business, can now track their website traffic at no extra cost. Using the reports generated by the tool, businesses are able to improve the performance of their website. Over the years, the evolution of Google Analytics has also significantly changed, and its future is based on the convergence of digital and analytics solutions
“Google Analytics Cookie Usage on Websites.” (2017). Google Analytics. Retrieved from: https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/analyticsjs/cookie-usage
Alhlou, F., Asif, S., & Fettman, E. (2016). Google Analytics Breakthrough: From Zero to Business Impact. John Wiley & Sons.
Cutroni, J. (2010). Google Analytics. Sebastopol, Calif: O’Reilly.
Enge, E., Spencer, S. M., & Stricchiola, J. (2015). The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.
Google Analytics Help. (n.d). Google analytics home. Retrieved from: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/7421425?hl=en&ref_topic=3544907
IBM Analytics. (n.d). Media and Entertainment Analytics. Retrieved from: https://www.ibm.com/analytics/sg/en/industry/audience-analysis-media-and-entertainment/
Lamb, J. (2017). Web Analytics Market Size, Share, Report, Analysis, Trends & Forecast to 2022. Reuters. Retrieved from: https://www.reuters.com/brandfeatures/venture-capital/article?id=12056
Lee, I. (2012). Electronic commerce management for business activities and global enterprises: Competitive advantages. Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference.
Nelson, J.S. (2012). Google analytics cookies and the forensic implications. Forensic magazine. Retrieved from: https://www.forensicmag.com/article/2012/02/google-analytics-cookies-and-forensic-implications
Weber, J., & Waisberg, D. (2015). Practical Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager for developers. New York: Apress.
Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.
You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.Read more
Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.Read more
Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.Read more
Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.Read more
By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.Read more