How “not provided” Data Gives you Google’s Marketshare of Accounts

Normally, I’d put this on Top Draw’s blog, but this one’s pretty nerdy and we’ve already got lots of posts for now. If you’re in website analytics, you might be a bit bummed that Google has decided not to forward on organic keyword data for logged in users of Google.com. And while that loss of data is too bad, we’ve accidentally gained a new insight: information on how many of the customers in that segment are logged into Google. With my blog, I’ve got a bit of a unique situation in that almost all of my traffic is organic, and almost all of it is topical: people come in for information on one topic, and then leave. I’ve also got a range of Google-centric and Google-uncentric blog posts to compare against. Without further ado:

Let’s Use Science!

First, we need a base segment that could be affected by the change: google.com users on non-mobile devices. To get there, I chose the following advanced segment in Google Analytics (Hopefully, I’m getting mostly Google.com users which is why I’m only segmenting US visitors)

I added the “not provided” keyword for my next segment and chose to apply these 2 segments to landing pages so that I could effectively compare, side by side, the Google market saturation on a topic by topic basis (at least, from Google’s own search engine). I’ve also limited the date range to just that most affected by the change.

What I’m not taking into consideration:

  • Users of Bing/Yahoo are probably unwashed and using a non-Gmail email. Which would bring down the real world % shown above.
  • Not everyone is going to be logged in all the time. Which would bring the real world % from above up a bit.

All in all, this is telling me that Google has somewhere around 20-25% penetration into the online US market, which I found to be pretty good for email/docs/other reasons people create and stay logged into Google Accounts. Email accounts are somewhat fragmented, and many people that I meet have had the same email address for 6+ years. To put it into context with their greatest internet competitors, I guess Google still has a ways to go before they have the 52% of Americans that Facebook does.

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