About Google Analytics
Google Analytics provides powerful tracking for anyone with a web presence, large or small. It’s one of the most powerful web analytics solutions on the market – and it’s free for anyone to use. Using Google Analytics, you can learn:
- Which marketing initiatives are most effective
- Accurate website traffic patterns/trends
- Which customer and customer segments are most valuable
- Where visitors come from and what do they do on the site
- How can the website convert more visitors into customers
- Which keywords resonate with prospects and lead to conversions
- Where people leave the site
- Which pages retain visitors the longest
- What search terms people use to find the site
In the fall of 2010, the Department of Technology initiated a statewide Google Analytics service to state agencies and departments. At the time, many state websites were already using Google Analytics individually on their own. However, there was no way to aggregate the data being collected and provide a statewide view.
Since then, more than 170 departments are participating in Google Analytics. Using a common analytics tool provides support for planning future efforts and responding to general requests for statistics on the CA.gov domain, including number of visitors, top keywords, mobile growth, etc.
All departments are encouraged to participate in the statewide Google Analytics effort. There is a small bit of code that should be included in your website so that it can be included in statewide reporting. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to get started.
Note: This service is available for CA.gov websites only (not .org, .edu, .com).
CDT’s legal section was consulted regarding the use of Google Analytics as it relates to California’s privacy regulations. Specific citations were provided to identify potential legal conflicts such as the prohibition regarding the collection of personally identifiable information and the ability to expunge specific user records upon request.
As a result, CDT received the go-ahead from its attorneys since we do not collect any personally identifying information using Google Analytics. It only collects the IP address (which can be partially obfuscated), browser types, and sites visited. Nothing like the social security number, names, or birth dates are collected. Google may collect something more specific (such as specific IP address visiting specific pages), but we do not have access to it. We modified our Conditions of Use (although it was not necessary) page to tell our users we were using Google Analytics.
While each agency should check with its own legal department, CDT’s legal office provided this response:
“I do not see any legal prohibition for CDT utilizing Google Analytics. The subject Government Code, section 11015.5, applies to situations where Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is collected via any method, device, identifier or other data base application on the Internet. Based upon the definition given to PII in the subject Government Code section, and the general definition of PII, it is my understanding that neither Google nor CDT would be gathering PII in the course of utilizing Google Analytics in gathering information such as statistics about visitors to specific websites or data to determine patterns of internet traffic. As such, I do not believe that Government Code § 11015.5 applies in this instance. Additionally, I do not believe that it is necessary for CDT to modify any existing “conditions of use” or “privacy” statements to reflect CDT’s use of Google Analytics.”
- Call the CDT Service Desk at (916) 464-4311 or email desk(at)state.ca.gov to set up your Google Analytics account and become a part of the Statewide Analytics Dashboard
- Download GAcode.zip
- Extract the files and follow the instructions text file