Analytics spam; can you trust your website data?

Diagram of analytics spam traffic

We’ve all suffered with email spam for years.  Despite the combined efforts of Google, Microsoft and our corporate IT departments, we still get unsolicited mail in our inboxes and lose genuine mail to the dreaded junk folder.

For most, it’s an annoying fact of email life. Whilst spam can certainly affect productivity, for most business users it doesn’t pose any major risks.

A new spam in town

Since the beginning of 2015 there has been an increase in a new, altogether more insidious, kind of spam. Unscrupulous individuals and companies are polluting our web analytics data with “ghost” traffic, fake referrals and even bogus goal completions.

Unlike email spam, this is more than a minor annoyance. Left unchecked, the inflated numbers could have a serious effect on existing marketing and business reporting. That in turn could impact business decisions based on Google Analytics data.

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