On Our Radar Highlight – What’s the Deal with New Google Analytics Traffic from New York, LA, DC, and Chicago?

If you’ve hopped into your Google Analytics and gone to locations lately, you’ve almost certainly seen a huge uptick in traffic from New York, Chicago, Washington DC, and Los Angeles metro areas in the past few months. It’s probably not just up in terms of traffic, engagement is also up, with bounce rates going down and time on site going up. In the screenshot below, you can see how one of our clients has seen when comparing June 1, 2022 – August 15, 2022 to the previous 75 days:

So, what’s the deal? Do you suddenly have a bunch of dedicate fans from these big metro areas? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Apple is super dedicated to privacy now and the iOS 15.5 update on May 16, 2022 automatically opted-in all users’ Safari browsers to obscure users IP address from trackers. Trackers, like Google Analytics, are now limited to just knowing country and time zone. Due to the method Apple uses to obscure location information, it appears to Google Analytics that the traffic is coming from these major metro areas. Check out what this looks like when we add a Secondary Dimension of “Operating System” to Metros:

The impact couldn’t be more obvious! About 51% of Americans have an iPhone and about 50-60% of web traffic is on a mobile device, so a lot of traffic will be affected here. However, there are two caveats. The first is that this should only apply to users on cell networks and not WiFi. The second is that the while Geotargeting may be affected, the Geofencing method of targeting will still be a very accurate way of determining location.

Next steps? If you’re worried about your social ad campaigns, they should still be humming along just fine, as this is a browser privacy change and not an app privacy change. If you’d like to learn how to better analyze Google Analytics after this iOS update, consider a coaching session with us.