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Why doesn't your Google Analytics data match what you see in Shopify?

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It’s no secret that for ecommerce marketers, data is the name of the game.

Whether you’re a founder, agency rep, marketing manager or member of a development team, many (if not most) ecommerce marketers use Google Analytics to track performance — product sales, average order value, customer lifetime value, etc.

But setting up a reliable system to gather your ecommerce data is harder than it sounds. This includes “the basics” like your revenue and transactions.

Truth is, Google Analytics and Shopify don’t always play nice together. They need a little help.

Let’s start with the facts. Shopify does have a Google Analytics integration, but it isn’t exactly a home run. Not only is the connection underwhelming, but it’s also known to report inaccurate data — from inaccurate sales figures to faulty marketing attribution to missing data altogether.

So why does your Shopify data not match your Google Analytics data?

There are multiple factors that cause costly data mismatches. However, we’ve identified the following six as the most common — and the most fixable.

Orders go unrecorded in Google Analytics

Why does this happen? Of course, as a merchant, you know that your customer never sees the order confirmation page.

When your orders go unrecorded in Google Analytics, it’s often due to payment gateways not sending users back to the order thank you page. Not only is this a missed touch point for your user experience, but it’s a leading cause of mismatched data.

When your orders go unrecorded, you have to manually comb through your orders to properly record and attribute your sales (not fun).

Too many interactions tracked per session

While this doesn’t happen incredibly often, it’s worth considering when setting up Shopify tracking or in other platforms like Magento, BigCommerce and Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

When it comes to standard tracking, one of Google Analytics’ shortcomings is its 500-page hit limit. In other words, once your page hit limit is reached, any customer interactions that take place won’t be recorded in Google Analytics. Not good.

Errors in the Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager integration

This integration allows Google Analytics to track only a handful of the “micro-moments” required for a complete picture of your customers’ online journey. These include moments like page views, page bounces and other data that indicates your store’s performance.

Naturally, Shopify’s integration is designed to work for standard websites. However, some Shopify merchants choose to build themes more personalized to their products. This requires a custom integration with Google Analytics.

Faulty scripts prevent data tracking

To improve user experience and boost customer retention, many Shopify sites use various elements on the order thank you page — additional CTAs, illustrations and click-throughs to other products for upselling.

However, these scripts can sometimes fail, creating a downhill domino effect where other modules can’t function properly. As a result, these script errors may keep Google Analytics from properly tracking site data.

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Users opt-out from Analytics tracking

Once again, this isn’t something that is highly common. However, with the help of a browser add-on, ecommerce merchants can opt-out of Google Analytics tracking whenever they want.

These add-ons allow owners to add bits of JavaScript code into every website the user visits. This means a few things, both of which cause data mismatches in Shopify and Google Analytics:

  • Data capture paralysis. The add-ons prevent the Google Analytics tracking code from capturing user data
  • Inaccurate or frozen tracking. This is caused by Google Analytics refusing to drop cookies or send data to its servers

Too many products in one transaction

Every time a page loads on your site, Google Analytics sends a hit-payload to its servers, each one containing a flood of user data. This data is pulled from the each user’s source, path and triggering keywords that helped them land on each page. It also includes other products that have been viewed or purchased.

When Shopify merchants add products with long names and descriptions, the data queries can grow — and sometimes grow too much.

Due to a size limit of 8KB for each hit-payload (give or take 20 products’ worth), Google Analytics won’t send the hit-payload to its servers every time the size limit is reached. This results in lost purchase data, which results in confused merchants: if you can’t track what’s being purchased on your site, how can you take action to improve marketing ROI and increase conversions? Data accuracy is an absolute must-have.

Have you experienced any of the causes above? If so, we get it. The frustration is real.

Whether from missing data or inaccurate ecommerce reporting, thousands of merchants have taken losses due to not making Google Analytics data match what’s actually happening on their ecommerce site.

Learn more in our free ebook, Why your Google Analytics data doesn’t match your Shopify data.

Thank you to our guest contributor, Ari Messer, the Co-Founder & VP Marketing at Littledata.