Hitting the Google Analytics sampling treshold? Can you trust your numbers?

For a while I wanted to write this post about the Google Analytics sampling. You know, the dreaded message that appears on top of your reports:

This message shows up when you work with a dataset that contains more than 500.000 visits or more than 1.000.000 items (keywords/url's/etc). Above that Google takes a sample of all those visits to calculate the numbers for your reports. But what is acceptable? In this example Google uses 30.62% of all visits to guess what the other 70% did on my site...

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Running a Content Experiment but not seeing any data?

Last months I had quite some clients that started a content experiment but didn't see data comming in:

In almost all those cases the solution was pretty easy: they had a custom Google Analytics code for multiple domain tracking. And that means you need to make some changes to the Content Experiments script also. This is an example of a changed Google Analytics tracking code:

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5 Google Analytics reports you should check to verify your numbers tell the truth!

In this case an image says it all:

Looks familiar? No? I certainly hope this wouldn't happen to you. What happened in all these 3 examples is the start of a well implemented Google Analytics account. Before that the site's owner thought he had a lot of visitors that did a lot of small visits. While the real situation showed him there where a lot less visits, that lasted longer and had more pageviews. But he sold his advertising based on the skewed numbers...

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