What Would Prevent Data From Appearing In A Custom Report The primary objective of digital analytics is to gauge an organization’s performance and offer recommendations for enhancement and transformation. The notion of success can vary based on the type of business or organization. Often, success equates to revenue. It’s crucial for businesses to accurately measure transactions and purchases using analytics tools. However, this can become challenging when dealing with web tracking tools like Google Analytics. Incorrect or missing transactions are more common than expected.
In this guide, we’ll delve into why you might encounter incorrect or missing Google Analytics 4 transactions, how to troubleshoot them, and why achieving 100% accuracy in a tool like GA is likely unattainable.
We’ll divide this article into two major sections:
- Causes of Incorrect or Missing Google Analytics 4 Transactions
- Troubleshooting and Potential Fixes
It’s important to note that achieving 100% accuracy between Google Analytics and your backend transaction system should not be an absolute goal. Instead, consider Google Analytics as a platform that provides data trends to make informed decisions.
While missing transactions in the backend system are not ideal, it’s not the end of the world. Google Analytics can still offer valuable insights into factors like top-converting traffic sources and high-performing products.
Regarding “missing transactions,” what constitutes an acceptable threshold of missing transactions? In the past, aiming for less than 5% missing transactions (or at least 95% accuracy) was common. However, this level of precision is increasingly challenging due to evolving digital analytics and privacy-related initiatives.
Privacy-focused efforts such as the Brave browser, privacy browser extensions, Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), and privacy regulations have reduced the data available about website visitors. While tools like Tracedock can help mitigate blockers, respecting user preferences is crucial.
In the current landscape, having less than 5% missing transactions in GA is fortunate, while 10% is commendable. This percentage will likely continue to decrease due to evolving privacy concerns.
For businesses subject to regulations like GDPR, even 50% data loss might be normal, as many visitors may opt out of analytics tracking. It’s a reality we must accept.
If you’re considering sending all transactions via the Measurement Protocol or server-side tagging for 100% accuracy, it might not be as effective as anticipated. This approach may still miss acquisition data and other session events, unless you develop an intricate, costly backend solution.
Combining client-side tracking with server tracking is an option but demands substantial effort and user consent, which is not guaranteed. Thus, striving for reasonably accurate data is often more pragmatic than pursuing a perfect 100%.
Setting Realistic Expectations When troubleshooting and addressing missing transactions in Google Analytics, it’s essential to set realistic expectations. Achieving 100% transaction accuracy is impractical, and stakeholders should be educated about this fact.
In the current context, up to 10% missing transactions may still be acceptable. The digital analytics landscape has evolved significantly, with factors like ad blockers, privacy-focused browsers, and extensions influencing data accuracy.
When dealing with European traffic, anticipate that users may decline tracking consent, leading to data loss. Factors like Brave browser usage or strict privacy settings can also affect data accuracy. Educating stakeholders is crucial to avoid misinterpretations and maintain your professional reputation.
Part 1: Reasons for Incorrect or Missing Google Analytics Transactions
In this section, we’ll explore various factors contributing to missing or incorrect data in Google Analytics reports. Some of these issues are beyond your control and require attention from developers.
- Adblockers and Privacy-Related Browser Extensions: Certain browser extensions, such as Ghostery or Adblock, configured strictly, can block first-party trackers like Google Analytics, leading to missing data.
- Browsers with Strict Privacy Settings: Some users configure their browsers to block trackers, including Google Analytics. Browser choices like Brave, designed for privacy, can also affect data accuracy.
- Visitor Opt-Out: Visitors who opt out of analytics tracking, often prompted by consent popups, can result in missing data.
- Incorrect Configuration of Purchase Data Layer: Improperly configured data layers for GA ecommerce tracking via Google Tag Manager can lead to incorrect or missing transaction data.
- Data Layer Activation on “Thank You” Page: Activation of the data layer containing purchase-related information must coincide with the “Thank you” page for accurate tracking.
- Browser Errors: Various browser errors can disrupt tracking code functionality, requiring monitoring and resolution.
- Unpublished GTM Container: Failure to publish a Google Tag Manager container with ecommerce tracking can result in incomplete transaction data.
- Tracking Code Timing: If tracking codes are activated just before redirection, data may not transmit accurately. Delaying the tracking code’s activation can help.
- Currency Issues: Incorrectly formatted currency data can lead to transaction data discrepancies in GA4.
- Failure to Exclude Internal Traffic: Failure to exclude internal traffic can skew transaction numbers. Implement measures to exclude internal traffic accurately.
- Tracking Unsuccessful Transactions: GA should only track successful transactions, not unsuccessful ones. Ensure your tracking setup adheres to this principle.
- Data Processing Delay: Transaction data in Google Analytics is not real-time and may take 24-48 hours to process fully.
Part 2: Troubleshooting Incorrect or Missing Google Analytics 4 Transactions
Now, let’s explore how to troubleshoot and address issues related to incorrect and missing Google Analytics transactions:
- Rigorous Testing Before Launch: Thoroughly test your tracking setup before deploying it. Check data layers, formats, quotation marks, and data accuracy.
- Compare Backend Data with GA: Collect transaction data from both your backend system and Google Analytics. Identify discrepancies and patterns.
- Identify Missing Transactions: Find common characteristics of missing transactions, such as payment methods, products, categories, or coupon codes.
- Check for Ad Blockers: Implement solutions to identify the percentage of traffic blocking GA tracking using ad blockers.
- Consider Timezones: Ensure that timezones in your data match between Google Analytics and the backend system for accurate comparisons.
- Investigate Browsers and Devices: Collect information about the browsers and devices used for transactions to identify potential issues with specific configurations.
- Leverage User IDs: If you use User IDs in GA, analyze user profiles to determine if users who initiated transactions but weren’t tracked encountered issues.
- Logging Tag Execution and Data Layer: Implement tag monitoring and data layer monitoring solutions to ensure tracking codes execute correctly.
While striving for data accuracy is important, achieving 100% accuracy is challenging due to evolving privacy concerns and technical limitations. Focus on identifying and resolving technical issues to improve data accuracy and use Google Analytics as a tool to gain valuable insights and trends rather than seeking absolute precision.