80% of users accessed the internet in the past 24 hours.
Understanding the (not provided) Conundrum
Late last year Google introduced additional security layers for web surfing patrons of their search engine. Anyone logged into their Google account would now be searching through a secure channel and their actions privatized. At first blush, this change seemed to be great for individual privacy. But then website owners started noticing a new keyword search term (or lack of one) show up in their Google Analytics reports. The (not provided) result was born.
Depending on your target market, (not provided) may be a small percentage of your overall keywords or it may be a huge chunk. Techophiles will likely see this number much higher than other types of sites. Early adopters typically have Google accounts. So those individuals would be logged in and when that person searched using Google search, their queries would be shielded from prying eyes.
Google still has this data, but they're not showing it to Analytics users. For now, there is no mechanism to see what these users typed into Google. It creates a shadow over the data, but not one that's too detrimental. We do know some things about these users.
- These visitors have Google accounts and they use them. This likely means they're on Google Plus (the social network of the search giant). If you see a large number (not provided) results on your site, you may consider adding a G+1 button to your site's content.
- These visitors are early adopters. It's safe to assume they're not ad clickers. Look at the staying power of these visitors. Do they leave your site right away? Are they hitting multiple pages? This information can tell you whether you need to enhance your pages with new content or even look at usability concerns.
- These are the same type of visitors you had before Google's change in data. The (not provided) result didn't affect how people find your website. They're still coming for widget sales, not something else. Keep that in mind with this data. Each of these visitors may have type the keywords you're already seeing in your reports. They're likely not finding you for something not relevant.
(not provided) Is Not the End of the World
It's possible Google will provide some mechanism for seeing this data in the future. For now, we have to make due without. Even third party solutions will no longer have the (not provided) keyword data, since the searches are done on Google's platform. It's safe to assume that the users finding your site are there because of the services you offer and the products you sell.