Google no longer ‘counts’ Instant previews in Google Analytics
The new Google feature instant previews, with which you can ‘preview’ a page in the Google SERPS, has been ‘corrupting’ the numbers of viewers on the specific page in Google Analytics for the past few weeks. Because of an ‘issue’ in Analytics each time somebody looked at the preview was counted as a view in Google Analytics even though the visitor had never actually visited the page itself.
Google now tells us on their Analytics blog that they have “fixed this issue, and visits from Google Instant Preview will no longer show up in your Analytics account”. They will not be reprocessing the data to remove past visits.
The issue may trigger another interesting question: should you count these views or not? The visitors have not been on your page, but they did see the page. And based on that view they clicked or moved on. Isn’t that a bounce when a visitor decides not to visit your page based on a first view? Is this really an ‘issue’ or should Google have left it that way?
Also this off course will be an influence on the actual click through rates. If a preview is not counted as a view it means the CTR goes down, while that same person in the earlier situation might have clicked on the page to see what the page looked liked and would have been counted. On the other hand, they’re not seeing the actual page but an image, so Google might be right here. I’m curious to know how the State of Search community feels about this.