Being able to launch your website is a great feeling! Whether it is a passion project or a business, it takes a lot of effort to grow and succeed. At any given time, you may be investing in online or offline marketing campaigns such as Google Ads, guest posts, print media, magazine ads, social media channels, and much more. To measure the performance of your efforts, you are likely using Google Analytics to capture all the data on your visitors and track conversions back to each campaign.
Google Analytics is a great tool, but it is not always intuitive when errors occur. Below, we have compiled the top 10 Google Analytics errors and easy solutions to help you get the most out of this powerful tool.
So let us get right into it.
Error #1 – Analytics Is Not Showing Any Session Data
Depending on your implementation, there could be a few reasons why Google Analytics is not showing any data.
Scenario #1: You Used Google Tag Manager To Insert Your Tracking Code.
- You may not have published your Tag Manager Container once you added the Analytics Tag. You can learn all about Tag Manager and publishing using this guide. Make sure that you have followed all the steps.
- If you still have issues, ensure that your tag manager is firing. If not, follow this troubleshooter to find the root cause.
Scenario #2: You Manually Pasted Your Tracking Code.
- Check that you inserted your Google Analytics code before the closing </head> tag.
- Ensure that you inserted the correct code for your property.
- The copied code must be pasted directly onto your web page with intact formatting.
- Try reversing any changes you made to the source tracking code.
- You may have user-id reporting enabled in the view setting. In that case, only the data associated with the current user-id will be viewable. Make sure you are logged in as the correct user.
Error #2 – I Don't See Data From My Custom Campaigns
What Is a Custom Campaign?
A custom campaign is a traffic source that you create and track yourself instead of using Google's predefined traffic sources. For example, if you buy advertising on a website other than Google, you can make a custom campaign to track the traffic driven to your website from the advertisement. You may not be seeing the total value of your marketing efforts if you're not using UTM parameters to track your campaigns.
You can manually add UTM codes to your links.
- Simply append the following parameters to the end of your URL: utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign.
For example, if you're running an Instagram ad campaign for your podcast, your website URL included in the Instagram ad might look like this:
- You can also use the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder to do this easily. Enter the URL of the page you want to link to and enter the source, medium, and campaign parameters to build your custom tracking link. If your target is an app, note that there are separate URL builders for iOS and Android apps.
Once you have the tracking URL, you can track all the data for your custom campaigns in your Google Analytics in the following folder: Reports > Acquisition > Campaigns.
Alternatively, you can add the Google Analytics Campaign tracking code to your ad creative.
To add the Google Analytics Campaign tracking code to your ad creative, follow these steps:
- In your Google Ads account, click the Tools tab and select Tracking codes.
- Under Website tracking, click the View tag code button.
- Copy the Google Analytics Campaign tracking code and paste it into your ad creative.
- Save your changes and upload your ad creative.
Error #3 – I Don't See Data From My Offline Campaigns
What Are Offline Campaigns and Why Are They Not Tracked?
Offline campaigns are campaigns that you run offline, such as print ads, TV commercials, or radio spots. Because there is no digital interaction with these ads, they are not automatically tracked in Google Analytics. You can not afford to ignore data from these offline campaigns, as they may be a critical part of your overall marketing strategy. Following the example above, you may promote your podcast on a billboard or side of a bus.
The easiest way to track offline campaigns is to convert them into a custom campaign, like we explained in error #1 above, and use UTM codes to tag and track them. Custom campaigns allow you to track the traffic from these ads in your Google Analytics reports.
To convert offline campaigns into custom campaigns, follow the steps below:
- Create a custom URL to direct your offline audience. This URL should be unique to your offline campaign. In our example, you can put a QR code with your custom URL on the side of the bus.
- Permanently redirect this custom URL to a trackable custom campaign URL generated using the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder.
- Track the results for your offline campaign like you would do for any custom campaign.
Error #4 – Google Ads Data Is Not Available
Why Does Google Ads Data Not Show In Google Analytics?
You have to link your Google Analytics account to your Google Ads account to see the data. Once you are done linking, you must ensure that Auto-Tagging is turned on. With Auto-Tagging, campaign tracking parameters (UTM codes) are added to your ads to help Google Analytics track your traffic source, medium, and campaign name. If there is a problem with the tracking code or the URL, your Ad campaigns may not return any data or return 404 errors.
You can do a few things to troubleshoot Google Ad campaigns:
- Make sure you have linked your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts by following the steps here.
- Log into Google Ads and go to Setting > Account Settings.
- Select Preferences.
- Select Tracking.
- Ensure auto-tagging is enabled.
- If you have auto-tagging enabled, check the spelling of the tracking parameters.
- Make sure the tracking code is inserted correctly into your ad creative.
- Ensure that the destination URL for your ad is correct and functioning.
If you're still having trouble, it could be that your site does not support auto-tagging. Try using the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder to manually create a custom tracking link for your campaign (as explained in issue #1).
Error #5 – Duplicates of the Same Page in Analytics Reports
There are three reasons why you may be noticing duplicates of the same page in My Google Analytics Reports.
Root Cause #1 – Multiple Versions of a Page
This can happen when you have multiple versions of a page (such as www. and non-www. versions), and Google Analytics cannot determine which URL is the correct one.
To avoid this problem, use only one version of your page URL (preferably the www. version) and use 301 redirects to point the other URLs to the correct page. You can also set up filters in Google Analytics to exclude traffic from these other URLs.
If you are using a content management system (CMS), use canonical tags to help Google Analytics determine the correct page.
Root Cause #2 – Visitors or Links Are Using Different Variations of Your URI
For example, visitors may be entering a ‘/' at the end of your URL. In this case, your report will show two versions of the same URL: one with the ‘/' and one without the ‘/.'
The problem is quickly addressed by creating a new view and following this guide.
Root Cause #3 – Visitors Using Uppercase Letters Versus Lowercase Letters
This will also happen if visitors use uppercase versus lowercase letters at the end of your URL. So you may have ‘www.example.com/gym' and ‘www.example.com/GYM' showing up twice in your reports.
Again, create a custom filter to resolve this by going to View > Filters > Create New Filter.
- Set the filter type to Custom.
- Select Lowercase.
- Set Filter Field to Request URI and Save.
Error #6 – Internal Traffic Showing in Reports
When we started with Analytics, we were amazed at how much traffic we got to a week-old site. It turns out it was mostly all internal traffic. If you have not filtered out your internal traffic, you may be running into the same issue.
Create a new filter to exclude the set of IP addresses that correspond to traffic originating from your sources, i.e., yourself, your employees, consultants, etc.
- Go to View > Filters > Create New Filter
- Set the filter type to Predefined.
- Select Exclude.
- Select Traffic from IP Address, and That Are Equal To.
- Enter your IP address.
- Click Save
You can also enter a range of IP addresses by setting a custom filter. The complete guide to achieving this is available here.
Error #7 – Bounce Rate Does Not Make Sense
You may find that your bounce rate is suddenly reducing. While minimizing the bounce rate is the ultimate goal for all site owners, a low bounce rate may indicate a Google Analytics error. Bounce rates are usually consistent, and a sudden drop may indicate that something is amiss.
- Check that you do not have duplicate Analytics Tracking Code added to the same page. Doing this for the same property will cause multiple pageviews to be registered for the same visit and reduce your bounce rate artificially.
- Your WordPress theme may have Analytics Tracking Code already installed, and you may have added a duplicate version on top.
- Use a Tag Manager or Google Analytics snippet – having both will cause duplication and multiple triggers.
Error #8: Results From Another Property Showing in Analytics Data
Many of us have multiple sites and properties. And if you are an analytics professional, you may be tracking various properties for clients. If you have set up multiple properties in Google Analytics, you may find that results from another property show up in another property's data set. Mix-up in analytics data across properties can be caused by including the incorrect property's tracking code on the site in question.
To fix this, you must go to the property in question and ensure that the correct property snippet is included on all pages.
- Go to the Google Analytics account of the property you want to verify.
- Go to Admin > Account > Property > Tracking Info > Tracking Code to find the unique tracking code.
- Compare the code, especially the Tracking ID, to the snippet added to the page.
- Replace with the correct code.
Error #9 – Analytics Is Filtering Out Important Data
Why Is My Google Analytics Report Not Showing All My Data?
You can use Google Analytics filters to exclude or include traffic from specific sources, mediums, or campaigns. Applying multiple filters could prevent all data from being displayed in the reports.
Try removing some of the filters from your account to troubleshoot this problem. If this does not solve the problem, you may need to adjust your filter settings or create a new Google Analytics profile that does not have any filters applied.
Ideally, create a new view for each filter combination you want to see, but leave the default view to view ‘All Website Data.' This way, you will always have access to all your data with custom views created to give you the granularity you need.
Creating a separate ‘view' for each filter can help if you have multiple products or services with various campaigns for each. For example, you can create a ‘view' for ad traffic to your podcast landing page vs. another ‘view' for your product catalogs like microphones and cameras.
You can create new ‘views' by going to Property > View > Create New View or using this guide.
Error #10: Web Stories Traffic Is Counting Toward Pageviews
Google Web Stories are a great way to get traffic to your site with targeted links. The stories themselves can generate thousands of page views, but all the traffic is lumped together in GA by default. Many ad networks can't monetize Web Stories yet, so you may want to segregate your actual site's page views from web stories traffic to get an accurate representation of your site's traffic.
To exclude traffic to your Google Web Stories from your site visits data, create a new filtered view by following the steps below:
- Log into your Google Analytics.
- Select Create View under the Admin tab.
- We recommend naming it Excluding Web Stories or something similar.
- Create a new filter by selecting Filters > Add Filter.
- Give the filter a name.
- Select Predefined as the filter type.
- For the following three dropdowns, select Exclude, Traffic to the Subdirectories, and That Contain.
- Under Subdirectory, type /web-stories/ or however you end your web story URLs.
- Click Save.
There you have it! Google Analytics is a powerful and essential tool that all online creators need to understand their site's performance. At the same time, it comes with a big learning curve and can cause frustration as you encounter errors and data integrity issues. If you rely on incomplete or inaccurate data, you could end up making decisions that can harm the performance of your site or business.
We hope that the solutions provided here to the most common Google Analytics issues help resolve some growing pains you are experiencing while setting you up to measure and grow your site successfully.
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Ash & Pri are the Founders of AshandPri.com where they empower others to make smart money decisions across all aspects of life. They achieved financial freedom in their 30's and have traveled to over 30 countries, thanks to a disciplined approach to money management. Both hold an MBA degree and have 13+ years of experience in financial services, consulting, and telecommunications.