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Diagnosis and Treatment of Web Analytics Errors


Multiple digital campaigns running on different platforms can make measuring results more complicated than we’d like. The challenge is particularly acute when comparing your own Google Analytics to reporting from a third-party partner. In a previous article, I discussed how one of the main causes of discrepancies is conflating Google Analytics users with third-party clicks. While that’s a common issue, there are several other reasons outside data that may differ from your own metrics—and sometimes wildly.

Google Analytics Is Not Firing

In order for Google Analytics to count a user, the Google Analytics tag must fire, which happens as the web page loads. This means if a visitor clicks your ad and then quickly hits the back button your vendor will most likely report a click while Google Analytics will show nothing.

In addition, if the visitor prevents the page from fully loading by quickly moving to another page or by pressing the browser’s “stop” button, Google Analytics may not fire. Your vendor would report a click because the person did click your ad but Google Analytics would show nothing because it never fired.

Google Analytics Is Not Set Up Properly

If Google Analytics is not set up properly, it may not accurately count users or document where they came from. This could be something as simple as Google Analytics not being installed on your landing page or something more complicated, like a cross-domain tracking issue.

Traffic Is Being Sent to The Wrong Page

This sounds silly, but if you’re seeing large discrepancies, always ask the vendor to verify the URL they were sending traffic to. We’ve seen cases where clients have accidentally provided invalid URLs or URLs to a different website and therefore traffic was going to an unintended location.

Not every tactic we roll out as marketers is going to work perfectly the first time. To get the best value from your marketing investment, you have to make choices. And to make the right choices, you need data you can trust.

And confidence that it’s being presented accurately.


This post is part of a series on digital marketing analytics. To read the others, follow this link.