It is just over a year since Google began encrypting search by default for signed-in users. A new study finds that as a result, 39% search-related traffic from Google to web sites now has search terms withheld.
“Not Provided” is what Google Analytics shows in cases where Google no longer reports a search term due to encryption (other analytics programs may use other phrases).
Our Not Provided numbers are greater inching up to wards 50% at Atlantic BT (http://www.atlanticbt.com) where I am Director of Marketing. Here are some practical things you MUST keep in mind with GA right now:
* Year over Year comparisons are SHOT.
* Not provided can vary at the keyword level.
* Must work MACRO or MICRO can't mix.
* Mobile is also growing in most websites' GA.
* Mobile + Not Provided = Year Over Year Must Be Modeled.
How To Model
You can model a website on almost NO data. The more you model the greater the degrees of freedom in the numbers, the greater amount of play in your numbers. In reality ALL web analytics are models. The web moves too fast to KNOW, so we model.
One way to model is establish pre-Not Shown baselines with trending (how much you were gaining or losing over time) and use those metrics to model the numbers in the Not Shown months.
Once we are Not Show year over year some analysis will be easier, but trending over time will be a mess. There are few things I trend over more than about the last two years. Anything I do trend for 4 years, say, is MACRO as heck. As time goes up so must your lens or you risk making the wrong assumptions and feeling really good about them.
I used to say to my team, "We are going to fly the plane into the mountain and feel good about it all the way in." Don't do that (lol) by remembering the more time that is in the model the more wobble there is AND that there is only EVER one time that matters in Internet marketing - NOW.
Here is the piece I wrote on how to model complete with examples: http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/google-analytics-how-to-model-around-not-listed-data/
Via Level343, Nikola Pohlupkov, Martin (Marty) Smith