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Google's "Driving Directions" Metric Highly Unreliable in Early 2024

March 4, 2024 /
All industries  /   Algorithm Updates 

Starting in late January and flowing into February, a bug occurred with Google’s driving directions metric. Many business listings saw a significant increase in this KPI seemingly without reason. Google initially made the following comment on the issue:

“Starting in January 2024, you might see fewer direction requests. This is because Google is making updates to better protect people’s privacy and give you more accurate results.”

Google did not initially give details, but it was later confirmed to be a bug as Google phased out many third-party cookies. In compliance with the Digital Markets Act and other regulations, Google transitioned towards primarily first-party data. The bug occurred from Google trying to remove redundant KPIs from lapsed external cookies, overcorrecting in some instances.

What this means for businesses is they cannot currently make decisions based on the unreliable driving directions metric from late January or throughout February. Businesses especially cannot compare year over year metrics for Q1 2023 to Q1 2024. This may be possible in the future however as Google stated they are currently on track to correct these inaccuracies and will also allow its marketing partners to repull the unreliable data. The issue persists for now however and no conclusions should be drawn from what is currently available through Q1 of this year.