Knowledge Bridge

Global Intelligence for the Digital Transition

//Shubha Bala /November 26 / 2012

Yandex Metrica or Google Analytics? The value of using both

There are numerous web analytics tools out there – free and low-cost – that will help you measure not only the size of your audience, but also important information about how people are finding your content and also some basic information about your audience. With so many choices, you might struggle to choose one, but we’ll explain why you might want to use more than one.

Even the free tools offer a wealth of sophisticated information as is shown in the recommendation by the the not-too-biased Google Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, who says:

Yahoo! Web Analytics and Google Analytics provide world class web analytics tools for free.

Custom reporting, advanced segmentation, advanced rich media tracking, auto-integration with search engine PPC campaigns, advanced mathematical intelligence, algorithmic data sorting options, complete ecommerce tracking, super scalable sophisticated data capture methods such as custom variables, open free and full API access to the data, loads and loads and loads of developer applications to do cool data visualizations, data transformations, external data integrations and more.

Of course, the Western web giants do not rule everywhere. In Russia, probably the most common tool is Yandex Metrica, Google’s major competitor.

Because of the technology used to obtain data, the numbers will vary from tool to tool, sometimes dramatically. For example, for one website we looked at Google Analytics showed 714,000 visits and a bounce rate of 68%, while Yandex showed 685,000 visits and a bounce rate of 20% for the same time period. This doesn’t mean that one is right and one is wrong, but it does mean that it is important to know the differences, especially as advertisers become more savvy about metrics and demand more targeted delivery of their ads.

This has two implications: first, it can be very useful to have two different tools on your site, allowing you to make comparisons; second, it can be important that one of your tools is the industry standard in your region so that advertisers can compare easily against other websites.  This often means Google Analytics, which is why we focus on it on our site, or in many Russian-speaking countries Yandex Metrica, or having both installed on your site.

Since these are two major players internationally, it can be useful to understand why you will see different metrics for the same website:

  • Visits – GA may be higher than Yandex -Yandex suggests placing the tracking code inside the body of the webpage, whereas Google Analytics requires it to be placed in the website header.  This may seem minor but if someone starts loading a pagePageA document having a specific URL and comprised of a set of associated files. A…//read more , and hits the stop or back button before the code was run, they will not be counted.  If you had placed the Yandex code near the bottom of your site (something Yandex advises not to do, but is possible), it may not have had a chance to run yet, but the Google Analytics code would have already run since it is in the header – the first thing to load – thus resulting in Google Analytics counting the visitVisitA single continous set of activity attributable to a cookied browser or user…//read more , but not Yandex.
  • Total Pageviews – GA may be higher than Yandex – If someone refreshes a page within 15 seconds of their visit, Yandex will not count this as a second pageview, whereas Google Analytics will. This will not impact unique pageviews, but it will impact total pageviews.
  • Bounce rate – With Google Analytics’ default setup, any visitorVisitorIndividual or browser which accesses a Web site within a specific time period.//read more  who only visits one page and then exits is considered to have “bounced”, even if they spent 20 minutes on that one page with no events. Yandex, on the other hand, will only count someone as “bounced” if they only visited one page and spent less than 15 seconds on that page before exiting. Yandex’s bounce rate, therefore, is a truer indicator of people who have come to your website and not found what they were looking for.
  • Demographics – Unlike Google Analytics, Yandex Metrica will try to determine the age and gender of the visitors, and run reports based on these dimensions.

So as you can see, for a site with a lot of traffic you can learn very different information from Google Analytics and Yandex Metrica. It may be worth including both tools so you can get two perspectives on your users.

Article by Shubha Bala

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