Squarespace Analytics vs. Google Analytics – Which Should You Be Using?
Do you really need Google Analytics installed on your Squarespace site? You’re probably already using the built-in analytics dashboard in the backend of your Squarespace site, so why would you need Google Analytics too?
This totally depends on your personal preferences as well as how far you’re hoping to take your website. If you have big plans for your site, you’re probably going to want to be using both analytic trackers. Here’s why:
I love both Squarespace Analytics and Google Analytics – but each for very different reasons. Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, so using each to their greatest potential can definitely impact your traffic tracking skillzz.
Squarespace analytics is wonderful for quick, easy, everyday reports that you can find without much effort. Every time you log into the backend of your site you can stop by your Squarespace analytics dashboard for a quick update of your traffic. Like everything on Squarespace, the analytics dashboard is crazy easy to use and understand. It’s clean, not overwhelming in the slightest, and the data is easy to comprehend. It covers all the basics and shows you everything you need.
Google Analytics, however, can show you practically everything you could ever want to know about your website traffic. It’s super in-depth and compressive, so much so that it can be pretty overwhelming, even to those of us who have been using it for years. You could literally spend months solely learning the capabilities of the program – it’s that powerful.
Think of Squarespace analytics as the Wikipedia page of your web traffic. You can go and get a quick, easy to digest overview of everything you need to know about your traffic. Google Analytics, however, is the textbook on your web traffic. You break it out when you need to learn more details than you probably know what to do with, which every so often is super interesting and helpful to your overall web strategy.
If you care at all about your website analytics (whether you do currently or plan to care more in the future), I suggest you install Google Analytics into your Squarespace site ASAP. Your future self will probably be super thankful you did! Once it’s installed, Google Analytics will start tracking your Squarespace traffic from now on. Then, you can stop by once a month to learn a little more about your traffic than you otherwise would from just using Squarespace analytics.
So let’s compare Squarespace analytics and Google Analytics...
Both Squarespace Analytics and Google Analytics:
Give you an overview of daily, weekly, monthly and annual website traffic
Show you which browsers and operating systems your visitors are using to view your site
Tracks the amount of users viewing your site from desktop and mobile
Tells you where your visitors are finding you (social media platforms, other websites, etc.)
Ranks your pages by popularity and tells you how many views they’re each getting
Counts how many users are finding you by search engines
Records what people are searching for on your site via your site's search bar
The Most Obnoxious Difference between Squarespace Analytics and Google Analytics
Traffic Calculation Discrepancies
If you’re already using both Squarespace analytics and Google Analytics, you will probably see slight data discrepancies between the two platforms. This is because they each record visitors a little differently. Annoying, right?
Squarespace, for example, supposedly excludes recording your personal activity, as long as you’re logged in on your browser; whereas Google Analytics will track and record that data — unless you exclude your IP address via filtered views. (source:http://www.itroadmap.com/squarespace-analytics-vs-google-analytics/) They also have differences in how they define unique visitors.
I haven’t found any exact clarifications as to how and why each platform tracks these numbers, but I would just pick one set of numbers to track, and overall pay attention to overall trends. Don’t get too stuck int the numbers. Someday you’ll have thousands of people coming to your site, and the small differences between the two sets of data will be menial.
What Squarespace Analytics can do that Google Analytics can’t:
Squarespace tracks how many RSS subscribers are subscribed to your blog. Apparently, Google Analytics can do this too, but it takes some confusing digging around in the program to find it. Squarespace shows you this data clearly and concisely, so there’s no need to dig!
Squarespace allows you to see individual IP addresses of every visitor that visits your site! Google Analytics purposely does not show you this information because they feel it’s a violation of privacy (which does kind of makes sense… but I’m not mad Squarespace shows me anyway )
Tracks from the beginning
Squarespace starts tracking your analytics from the day it goes live. Google Analytics needs to be installed onto your Squarespace site before it begins tracking your data.
What Google Analytics can do that Squarespace Analytics can’t:
The short answer is a lot.
Google Analytics could literally be something you study for years and still not know everything there is to it because it’s crazy complex. BUT, here’s a few of my favorite Google Analytics features that Squarespace can’t do:
Find out the age and gender of your visitors! This is super helpful for defining your niche and knowing who your audience is.
This ALSO helps with defining your audience because this report gives you an overview of their interests and what categories they’re normally spending their money in. If you take it one step further and set up your Google My Business page, you can also see exactly which words and phrases people search when they find your business listing.
This is probably my favorite report because you get to see where in the world people are visiting your site. Like who knew 2 people from Cambodia read my blog this month?!
Users Flow and Behavior Flow
Both of these reports are super interesting (though somewhat confusing TBH...). This report gives you diagrams that show you how people typically move throughout your site and where on your site they’re typically deciding to leave.
Google Analytics can show you how many people are on your site at that exact moment. They can show you where they’re at, where they came from and what they’re looking at! Super cool right?
Like I said, there are about a million other things to look at and learn about in Google Analytics. This is seriously just the tip of the iceberg. Google Analytics is such a powerful tool, but it can also pretty complicated and somewhat overwhelming. Therefore, I highly recommend installing Google Analytics into your Squarespace site so you are capable of running more in-depth reporting occasionally while using your Squarespace analytics for daily updates.