24.06.19

Google Analytics and The Great Firewall: Does Google Analytics Work in China?

Alistair Johnstone

Data & Analytics Consultant

What is The Great Firewall?

The Great Firewall is one of the world’s most sophisticated censorship systems, enforced by the People's Republic of China. It prevents users in China from accessing a list of prohibited foreign websites, which includes Google Search, Facebook and Twitter.

So can I use Google Analytics (GA) in China?

Well, in a way. The Great Firewall won’t prevent data from being collected from your website and being sent to GA, but you won’t be able to view the GA reporting user interface (UI).

According to greatfire.org, a website that monitors internet censorship in China, the resources for loading GA are not blocked, and if you’re loading it via Google Tag Manager, that should be fine as well. However, analytics.google.com is prohibited, meaning it’s not possible to use the GA reporting interface in China.

As well as the sites above, some other services sitting on the google.com domain are also blocked, such as Data Studio and Optimize.

Advertising features

GA Display Features enables data collection for Display and Search Remarketing by sending a request to stats.g.doubleclick.net, which is currently blocked in China. If your website is in China, we recommend disabling these Advertising Features.

Does this mean I can’t view my GA data in China?

If your website is based in China but you aren’t, it’s unlikely you’ll be affected by The Great Firewall. However, if you need to access or share the reporting interface in China, you’re out of luck – GA may not be the best option for you.

There are alternatives, permitted analytics solutions available, such as Adobe Analytics and Snowplow, which you may want to consider.

 

But, of course, all of this could change. If in doubt, check your URL using https://en.greatfire.org/analyzer

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