Google Analytics is used by tens of millions of websites and apps around the world to measure web visitor engagement.

Due to some users choosing not to be tracked or blocking cookies, Google Analytics can’t measure 100% of visitors. But when set up correctly, GA measures over 95% of genuine visitors (as opposed to web scrapers and bots).

At Littledata, our customers come from a range of industries. But when they first come to the Littledata app for help fixing their analytics, we hear many of the same questions:

Is Google Analytics accurate?

How do I know if my Google Analytics setup is giving me reliable data?

In this blog post, we dissect some common issues with Google Analytics before providing a solution to help your ecommerce tracking be as accurate as possible.

6 common issues with Google Analytics (and how to fix them)

1) Your tracking script is not implemented correctly

There are two common issues with the actual tracking script setup:

  1. It’s implemented twice on some pages
  2. It’s missing completely from some pages

When the script is duplicated, you’ll see an artificially low bounce rate (usually below 5%), since every page view is sending twice to Google Analytics. When the script is missing from pages, you’ll see self-referrals from your own website.

How to fix it

Our recommendation is to use Google Tag Manager across your whole site to ensure the tracking script is loaded with the right web property identifier at the right time during the page load.

2) Your account has lots of spam

When it comes to web traffic and analytics setup, spam is a serious issue. Spammers send ‘ghost’ referrals to get your attention as a website owner. This means that the traffic you see in Google Analytics may not come from real people, even if you have selected to exclude bots.

How to fix it

Littledata’s app filters out all future spammers and Pro Reporting users benefit from having those filters updated weekly.

3) Your own company traffic is not excluded

Your web developers, content writers and marketers will be heavy users of your own site, and you need to filter this traffic from your Google Analytics to get a view of genuine customers or prospects.

How to fix it

You can do this based on location (e.g. IP address) or pages they visit (e.g. admin pages).

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4) One person shows up as two or more users

Fight Club aside (spoiler alert), when the same person re-visits our site, we expect them to look the same each time.

Web analytics are more complicated. When Google Analytics speaks of ‘users’, what it’s really tracking is a visit from a particular device or browser instance.

For example, if I have a smartphone and a laptop computer and visit your site from both devices (without cross-device linking), I’ll appear as two users. Even more confusingly, if I visit your site from the Facebook app on my phone and then from the Twitter app, I’ll appear as two users —  the two apps use two different internet browser instances.

How to fix it

While Google is looking at ways to use its accounts system (Gmail, Chrome, etc.), there’s not a lot which can be done to fix this at the moment.

5) Marketing campaigns are not attributed to revenue or conversions

If the journey of visitors on your site proceeds via another payment processor or gateway, you could be losing the link between the sale (or goal conversion) and the original marketing campaigns.

You will see sales attributed to Direct or Referral traffic, when theyactually came from somewhere else.

How to fix it

This is a remarkably common issue with Shopify stores. That’s why we built a popular Shopify reporting app that solves the issue automatically.

Get the Littledata Shopify reporting app

For other kinds of sites, the issue can often be resolved by setting up cross-domain tracking.

6) You aren’t capturing key events (like purchases or button clicks)

Google Analytics only tracks views of a page by default, which may not be meaningful if you have a highly interactive website or app.

How to fix it

Sending custom events is the key to ensuring your tracking is both accurate and relevant.

Google Tag Manager makes this easier than it would be otherwise. However, you may need to speak to a qualified Google Analytics consultant to decide what to track.

For better certainty that your analytics are fully accurate, try Littledata’s free Google Analytics audit or get in touch for a quick consultation. We ❤️ analytics and we’re always here to help.