What are the discrepancies between Google Analytics and Shopify?

You're aware that data is missing from your Google Analytics and Shopify tracking, but what's going on behind the scenes to cause this? The first step toward improving your tracking is identifying where it fails.

Google Analytics and Shopify don't always get along and require extra care and attention. Of course, not all inconsistencies between Google Analytics and Shopify can be resolved. However, identifying the sources of discrepancies and finding solutions to them is not difficult.

Sometimes the problems that cause these issues are simple to solve, but other times it may be necessary to consult an expert. Let us assist you in resolving discrepancies in your data by looking at some of the reasons…

The most common causes of data misalignment between Google Analytics and Shopify

Having an incorrect analytics setup

You don't have to be a coder or a marketing genius to set up Google Analytics on your Shopify store. However, if you are new to data analytics, you could end up with an incorrect setup. As a result of an unsuccessful Google Analytics installation, your data will be inconsistent, and your marketing efforts and money will be wasted. These can be as minor as differences in how page reloads and unique visitors are counted, differences in how sessions are defined and different reporting time zones.

Installing Google Analytics to collect and track data from your business may be more difficult than you think. If you believe that your Google Analytics data is inconsistent or missing, you may have made a mistake during setup.

If this is the case, we can assist you in resolving any issues and getting your tracking back up and running properly. Contact us today.

Special browsers, VPNs and ad blockers

The use of special browsers and virtual private networks (VPNs) is on the rise as online consumers become more aware of how their data is being processed. Browsers with various privacy protections, such as VPNs and Tor, help in the concealment of a user's data from Google Analytics' data collection system. A VPN encrypts and routes your traffic through a centralised network of servers, whereas Tor is a decentralised network run by volunteers.

Currently, 42.7% of internet users worldwide report using an ad blocker. Ad blockers can easily bypass Google Analytics from collecting a user's data, resulting in data discrepancies between Google Analytics and Shopify. As a result, Google Analytics will not capture a user's session or actions, and data will be missing or inconsistent.

User consent, GDPR and CCPA

When it comes to user consent, browser cookies are the first thing that comes to mind. User consent is necessary for the use of first-party analytics cookies. Many users dislike cookies as they remember information about their visits and can be used to control the advertisements shown to them. User consent aims to give web users more control over their online privacy.

The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) share the same fundamental goal of protecting personal data. GDPR and CCPA require merchants to obtain user consent before beginning tracking. Although this consent interrupts data flow between Google Analytics and Shopify, this data discrepancy is permitted under these regulations. Most Shopify merchants use Shopify GDPR apps to make their stores GDPR compliant.

Safari limitations and iOS 14.5

Third-party cookie policies differ depending on the browser. Safari, on the other hand, is a specialised browser that shortens a cookie's lifespan and makes tracking more difficult. Safari's limitations can have an impact on systems that rely on third-party cookies, such as Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel. This means that data transmitted between e-commerce infrastructures like Shopify and Google Analytics may be inconsistent and incomplete.

In addition, with the changes made by Apple in iOS 14, a new app monitoring feature was introduced, Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP). Apple released the first version of ITP in June 2017. Since then, it has been integrated into the operating system's Safari browser (macOS, iPadOS, and iOS) and has been updated over time. The primary function of the ITP is to protect the user's privacy while browsing the internet and to prevent tracking by advertising companies such as Facebook, Google, and others. With this feature, app owners must request permission from users to monitor their data. This new iOS update is one of the causes of inconsistency in data reported to Google Analytics.

Visitors don’t let pages fully load

Visitors can exit a website immediately after paying for an item without having to wait for the Thank You page or order confirmation page to load. As a result, they can avoid having their transactions and data reported to Google Analytics. Another reason is that some payment gateways do not automatically redirect users to the Thank You page. In such cases, there are discrepancies between Google Analytics and Shopify Analytics.

Subscription, upsell and checkout apps for Shopify

Many businesses use dynamic cross-sell, upsell and checkout apps to improve the customer experience and increase average cart value. The majority of these apps, however, work differently than Shopify's native flow. As a result, the tracking does not work as it should. Although the apps have their own Google Analytics integrations, they aren't always reliable.

In other words, the scripts of these applications may prevent them from functioning properly on the order confirmation page. As a result, your Google Analytics account may be unable to detect these recurring sales, upsells or other actions. This issue should be resolved soon, as Shopify now provides a native setup for these types of apps. We anticipate that most apps will migrate to this format this year (2022).

Custom page builder apps

Page builder Shopify apps such as Pagefly, Gempages and Shogun always require specialised Google Analytics integration to track actions and events on their pages. Providing this integration for all elements may be more difficult than it appears, and you may not be able to properly track the data on these pages in your Google Analytics account. If you use a Page Builder app, especially on your landing pages, this could be another cause of the data mismatch between Shopify and Google Analytics.

Uncommon occurrences

While some of the reasons are minor and uncommon, they can occur. One of them is that your Shopify store's time zone differs from the time zone in your Google Analytics account. When you check the data for the same period on both platforms, you will most likely get different results. Another uncommon cause is purchasing too many products in one transaction. If a transaction sent to Google Analytics contains a large number of products and is larger than 8KB in size, Google Analytics will be unable to save it in the database. This is a very rare occurrence, but it can still occur.

What should you do next?

If you aren't already using Google Analytics with your Shopify store, installing it should be your first step toward improved data accuracy. Despite the fact that Shopify has a default Google Analytics integration, it has a habit of missing key metric tracking. If your analytics tracking is set up properly, then there shouldn't be an issue.

However, if you encounter any minor or potential issues that may be causing discrepancies in your data, they can be resolved without the use of any apps or plugins. As a Shopify agency, we can provide you with a quick and effective solution, as well as ongoing expert advice and support. Contact us today to find out how we can assist you.