Understand GA vs Convert Data
Convert Experiences and Google Analytics (GA) have different tracking methods and technology. This is the reason why you see a difference between GA and Convert Experiences data of your website. To make it easy to find out what are the differences and its reasons, this article was published.
GA Sessions vs Convert Experiences Visitors
The "Sessions" data in GA is actually the total number of visits on the website. Google Analytics sets sessions to expire after 30 minutes of inactivity. So if a visitor visits your website and closes the tab (GA loses the previous session here), only to visit it again after some time (GA starts a new session for the same visitor). As a result, the "Sessions" option that shows you the number of visits on a website will count this session again and reflect two visits.
On the other hand, the "Visitors" count shown in your Convert Experiences tool is the unique visitor count that became a part of the experiment. The default cookie life of a Convert Experiences cookie is six months, so this visitor is counted only once by our tool as long as the Convert Experiences cookie lasts in his browser.
If you want to see a fair data comparison, you should visit the "Audience Overview" page in your GA to check the data listed under Users. And this data should be compared with your Visitors data in Convert Experiences. Still, the exact data match would not be possible here as well, as GA and Convert Experiences have different tracking methods. Usually, there’s a discrepancy of 5-10% in this data.
Regarding conversions, Convert will only record the first conversion and GA will record multiple conversions. So, it is very likely that there will be more conversions recorded under GA.
Latency in Data Reporting
GA reports take 24-48 Hours to update while Convert Experiences reports are real time. So if you have paused any Convert experience, make sure that you wait at least for up to 48 hours before you compare the data.
Custom Date Range
When you use a custom date range, Convert Experiences will display only real unique visitors to your experiment on the dates selected, whereas GA will show you both new and returning visitors on the dates selected.
- if a visitor visits a page (under a specific experiment in Convert Experiences and is also being tracked in GA) on 10th May, he will be tracked as a unique visitor for 10th May in Convert Experiments and GA
- if now the same visitor comes to the website on 11th May, for Convert Experiences he will not be a unique visitor and won’t be counted in our records for 11th May. On the other hand, for GA, if the date selected is 11th May, he will be again shown as a unique visitor.
So if the date selected in Convert Experiences and GA is 10th May, you will see one unique visitor in both of them, but if the date selected is 11th May in Convert Experiences and GA, you will see zero unique visitors in Convert Experiences whereas GA will show you one unique visitor for the same date. Now if you select a date range of 10th -11th May, you will see one unique visitor in both Convert Experiences and GA.
Different Time Zones
Apart from being conscious about selecting the same custom date range, different time zones can also reflect a huge difference in the data that you see in your GA and Convert Experiences account. While your GA might be having the time zone that was chosen by you earlier, in Convert Experiences we have UTC as the time zone used for displaying experiment data in the reports.
Multiple Active Tests at the Same Time
When you have multiple tests active on the same webpage simultaneously, make sure that you choose different Custom Variable slots or Custom Dimensions in GA for each of your tests. If you are pushing the data for multiple experiments in the same slot, your Convert Experiences and GA data will not match.
Same Set of URLs
You should track visitors to exactly the same set of URLs in both Convert Experiences and GA platform. For example, if GA tracks visitors sitewide but your Convert experiment is only running on your landing page, you will see higher numbers in GA platform.
Visitors on Convert but no data in GA
There are two possible causes for this issue.
- The integration may not be enabled in the experiment: check if the integration has been installed correctly.
- The Convert Snippet is not situated in the correct position on the page: make sure that the Convert Snippet is in the <head> tag of your page, above the Google Analytics tracking call.
More Unique Visitors in Convert than GA
Most like this means that the Convert Snippet is positioned lower than the GA snippet. The GA snippet loads asynchronously, which means that sometimes Convert manages to load prior to GA and set the Custom Variable/Dimension, but most times it does not and the GA data is fired off before Convert can set the Custom Variable/Dimension. A solution to this would be to place the Convert Snippet above the GA snippet.
GA event time record
GA does not record the time of the event when it happened, but at the time it was processed by their server. This might lead to differences on the day a visitor conversion is attributed. So it is recommended to compare for groups of days, rather than data of one day. This averages out these differences.
Classification of Devices
No standard exists for classifying devices.. This might lead to differences in tests that are targeted to specific devices, or when segmenting the data per device. Some platforms will classify some devices as tablet instead of mobile and this can lead on differences when comparing data between them.
Do Not Track (DNT) Configuration
GA does not respect DNT browser settings and will keep tracking. So, if you enabled this when you first configured your project then you should take this into account. You can find the DNT Configuration under your Project > Configuration > General Settings > Respect Do Not Track Browser Settings (read more).
Sometimes you may see differences because of Split Test redirects. Please see this article for more information: https://convert.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/205160405-How-Do-I-Prevent-My-Analytics-Tool-Recording-a-Hit-on-Original-When-a-Split-URL-Variation-is-shown