So, what’s wrong with Google Analytics?

- March 23, 2009

MoreVisibility - Google Analytics Authorized ConsultantIf you’ve been to our website recently, or have just seen our site’s footer, you’ll notice that MoreVisibility is a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant (GAAC), making us one proud company. We love everything Google Analytics, which means you’ll read a lot of GA-oriented material on this blog. We really feel that Google Analytics can help every company, every business, every ONE, regardless of size, number of employees, or complexity of needs / wants.

With all that being said, this doesn’t exclude Google Analytics from suffering a few bugs, glitches, breaks, and flat-out inaccuracies – this is life on the World Wide Web. A lot of posts and emails have come across my eyes over the last few weeks about some of the troubles with certain elements in Google Analytics. So, below, I have a few of the biggest current bugs / issues with GA. Rest assured, each and every one of these items is currently being looked into or being worked on as you read this. They may not be able to turn things around in 24 hours – but give them a break; they are very busy people with a lot on their plate!

1. Column Sorting
Clicking on any column heading within any table in GA Reports will not properly sort that column by the metric you clicked on. It’s definitely a frustrating bug. In the meantime, what you can do is you can download the report in a CSV file, which is available towards the top-left of Google Analytics, and do any kind of sorting locally, if you absolutely must.

2. Site Overlay “Gray Screen”
This is an issue that has received a lot of attention, especially lately. At random times, Site Overlay will fail to load successfully, causing a gray overlay over your website’s homepage. You can still see your website, but none of the overlay bars or metrics will appear. If this happens to you, try closing your browser and re-open it (not just the tab where you have GA open – the entire browser).

3. AdWords “Clicks vs. Visits” Discrepancies
There are have been some issues in some accounts with the importing of AdWords data into the AdWords Campaigns reports in Google Analytics, found underneath the “Clicks” tab. Even though Visits are not the same thing as Clicks, they should be “somewhat close”. There have been accounts that have not had all of their AdWords data properly imported over, causing huge data discrepancies for some accounts. If this pertains to you, simply use the actual Google AdWords interface for the time being until this bug can be sorted out.

4. Inability to halt automatic reports
Some users are currently affected by a bug that continues to send them automatic reports from the Google Analytics Email Scheduler, despite being removed from the email (or despite the email being deleted). The workaround to this temporary problem is to set up a rule to automatically delete the email in your email client, or, click on the “Unsubscribe” link towards the bottom of the email.

5. Ecommerce Data “way off”…
This is something that has been mis-reported as a bug, when in fact it is just the way it works. The reports pertaining to Ecommerce in Google Analytics are on a different schedule in terms of viewing the data, separate from the rest of the GA Reports. It takes anywhere from 24-48 hours for complete Ecommerce data to appear in Google Analytics, which is different from all other data, which takes anywhere from a few hours to 24 hours. The solution? You will need to wait a day or two in order to view full Ecommerce data for your website.

6. Absolute Unique Visitors shows “N/A”
In almost every account, having an advanced segment turned on will show “N/A” for the Absolute Unique Visitors metric / report. This is not necessarily an error, but due to the way Google Analytics uses Advanced Segmentation, Absolute Unique Visitors is a metric / report that cannot be displayed.

I’m experiencing other technical issues / bugs with my GA Account, or I have a suggestion for Google Analytics – is there a way to tell them about this?
Yes, there is. You can use the Google Analytics Contact Us for, located here:

https://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/request.py?cf_question=qc_5_1&no_support=1&contact_type=login

You can also keep track of known issues with GA from this page:

http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/request.py?contact_type=knownissues

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