A literal scoreboard | Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

I’m not monetizing GPORG so I’m not that concerned with the number of visits. On the other hand, trying to get a lot of visitors has turned into a game for me. And it’s getting hard to play without the right “scoreboard” (Google Analytics, Statcounter, etc).

But first! Let me tell you about my long-ass attempt to reinstall Google Analytics.

I’ve switched between Google Analytics and Statcounter. I like Statcounter’s simplicity, but Google Analytics has some features I like (bounce rate for instance), but is otherwise too OP (and confusing) for me. So I was using Statcounter for a while, and just recently, decided to give GA another try.

The problem is, when I uncommented the GA code, I found out the hard way that the tag would not track for some reason. Note that I didn’t change the property or anything. In fact, the tracking code under the admin tab is literally the same as before.

The solution I found while digging around the internet is to install Google Tag Assistant for Chrome to figure out what’s going on. I use Firefox and I have Chrome, but I use it as a “work browser”*. It’s signed into my GSuite account for work, and modded out with all my extensions that I need for my job. I even have have the “starting tabs” set as my work Gmail and a couple other essential Google Sheet files. In fact, I knew that once I open Chrome, it’ll probably notify me of a new email, because I installed an extension for Gmail sound notifications. So I decided to look around for more info.

*some people have work computers, I have a work browser.

After poking around the GA dashboard, I found the option to upgrade to Google Analytics 4! I wasn’t aware there was a version 4. So I guess I’m on version 3?

I upgraded. It had me create a new property, and connect the Universal Analytics property to the new v4 one. I did that and noticed it had the option to add the new code (with the new *ahem* measurement ID). But I already connected the GA4 property to the UA property, so I don’t need to do that…right?

(And here, I realized that the previous version of Google Analytics is NOT Google Analytics 3, like I thought based on the logic that the new one is Google Analytics 4. It’s called Universal Analytics.)

๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Either way, you can tell if a JS file is being summoned on a page by going to the web inspector, then looking for the file in the table (you may have to refresh your browser window if there is no table). In my case, I was trying to find anything from the domain googletagmanager.com or heck, anything from any of Google’s sites. Buuuuuuuut….

Sooo….yeah

At this point, I decided I was desperate enough to try Google Tag Assistant, so I opened up Chrome (and very quickly closed all the work-related tabs–already got an email notification in the 0.00001s I had my Gmail tab open!), and installed Google Tag Assistant.

Soooo, the interesting thing is if I use the old UA code (pre-GA4), GTA complains about the site having multiple tags. If I use the new GA4 code, it notices that it’s a Google Analytics tag all right…but the ID is either missing or not valid???

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And so, I thought maybe GA4 isn’t ready for primetime yet (I did get a notice at the bottom of the dashboard thanking me for being an early adopter…ummmm…). I tried deleting the GA4 tag BUT WAIT. I can’t because it’s linking the GA4 property to the UA one????

(So far, there doesn’t seem to be an option to delete the Google Analytics 4 property.)

Statcounter to the Rescue!

So maybe Google Analytics might not be for me after all. Statcounter DOES show bounce rate, but you have to dig around for it (in an obscure window). But installation is stupidly simple. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Sooo…TL;DR?

If you read through this entire post, trying to figure out what my point is (and are undecided on which one to use).

Use Statcounter if…

…all you want to do is track how many visitors come to your site and other basic info (like geographic location, timestamp of visit, IP address…). It does let you label IP addresses and look up how people are navigating through your site btw.

Use Google Analytics if…

…you need more features like ummmmm…conversions, goals and such. (Or if you have a digital marketing team, cuz a lot of digital marketing teams are well versed in Google Analytics.)

Or heck, use whichever one you want. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Say, What was That About #privacy?

Yes, I use an adblocker + VPN + Cloudflare’s DNS to minimize people snooping on me. But here I am tracking you guys???? Ummmmm?????

Visitor tracking is for my own curiosity. I don’t sell anyone’s info to anyone. You can read Statcounter’s privacy policy. If you’re still uncomfortable, I won’t guilt people to into unblocking Statcounter if they already have it blocked. Like I said, I don’t monetize GPORG, so there are no ads to block. ๐Ÿ˜€

Edit: 2020/11/21

I decided to give GA another try, and nothing. I commented out the tag, so only Statcounter was able to run. Later on, I ran GPORG through Google Page Speed Insights and got a pretty good score (upper 90s). BUT. Two things surprised me:

  1. It complained about “unused JavaScript”. The “unused JavaScript” was Google Analytics.
  2. Wait, Google Analytics is still running on GPORG???

I kinda went hm, and realized I commented out the wrong tracker tag (Statcounter). But hey! I checked the Google Analytics dashboard and found one pageview! So it looks like it’s working! Google Tag Assistant just needs to update itself for GA4 I guess???

And here’s the “unused JavaScript” GA code Page Speed Insights insisted I remove:

Sooo…yeah.

(Google Analytics gets loaded through the Google Tag Manager domain apparently. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ)

Well…fine, Google. If you don’t want me using your Analytics tracker, I won’t! ๐Ÿคจ