The truth is that Google Analytics and Shopify don't always get along well. They need a little attention and help. Of course, it's not possible to fix all the discrepancies and solve all the problems between Google Analytics and Shopify Analytics. But it is not difficult to identify the causes of discrepancies and find solutions to them. We hope this guide will help you resolve discrepancies between your data.
Certainly, there are other factors that cause this problem as well. In fact, sometimes it is easy to solve the problems that cause these discrepancies, but sometimes it may be necessary to consult an expert.
Let's take a look at these reasons and their solutions.
Main Reasons for Data Mismatch Between Shopify and Google Analytics
Wrong Google Analytics Setup
Surely, you don't need to be a developer or marketing genius to set up Google Analytics on your Shopify store. However, if you are new to data analytics, the wrong Google Analytics setup may be inevitable. A wrong GA setup will cause your data to be inconsistent and therefore your marketing efforts and money are wasted. Setting up a reliable GA integration to collect and track your store's data may be harder than you think.
You know that your Google Analytics data is inconsistent or missing, but do you think you went wrong when setting up the GA integration?
You should take a look at our Google Analytics health check article series, which will make it easier for you to perform a proper check on your Google Analytics account after installation.
Adblockers, VPNs, Special Browsers
According to some studies, at least 30% of internet users in the US have an active ad-blocking extension installed. On the other hand, the use of VPNs and private browsers is increasing day by day.
The use of ad blockers, VPNs, or private browsers may also bypass Google Analytics, resulting in data discrepancy between Google Analytics and Shopify. A user can very easily prevent Google Analytics from being triggered to collect data with an ad blocker. So this user's session and actions will not be recorded in GA and data will be missing or inconsistent. But the solution is simple! That's what server-side tagging is for. We will talk about this in more detail in the solutions section shortly.
Likewise, browsers with various privacy protections such as VPNs and Tor also hack Google Analytics' data collecting system. For example, Firefox's incognito mode also helps to hide user data.
User Consent (GDPR - CCPA)
We know that Europeans love cookies. For example, Italians love cantuccini, the Dutch love stroopwafels, or Estonians love kaerakupsis. Unfortunately, the digital cookie is not among the popular cookies.
Browser cookies are the first thing that comes to mind when talking about a user's consent. GDPR and CCPA require merchants to get users' consent before the tracking starts. Most Shopify merchants, especially the ones in Europe use Shopify GDPR Apps to make their store GDPR compliant.
Although the data transfer between Shopify Analytics and Google Analytics is interrupted by this GDPR consent, this data discrepancy is acceptable under these regulations. We also know that many stores are having issues with the GDPR setup. We will soon create a detailed checklist and guideline on the Shopify GDPR Best Practices. Make sure to subscribe to Analyzify Hub not to miss it!
iOS 14.5 & Safari Limitations
All browsers have different 3rd party cookie policies. Safari, on the other hand, is a special browser that shortens the lifetime of the cookie and makes tracking difficult. Systems that use 3rd party cookies such as Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel, can be affected by Safari's difficulties. In addition, there may be inconsistency and incompleteness between the data transmitted between e-commerce infrastructures such as Shopify and Google Analytics.
Moreover, with the changes Apple made in iOS 14, a new app monitoring feature was introduced. ITP aka intelligent tracking prevention! Sounds good, doesn't it? With this feature, app owners have to ask users for permission to monitor their data. One of the reasons for inconsistent data reported to Google Analytics is this new iOS update. We're pretty sure Google and Facebook aren't happy with this little permission pop-up from Apple!
The good news is there is a solution to this problem. Make sure to check the Solutions section on this post.
Visitors Don't Fully Load the Pages
Sometimes, visitors may exit the website immediately after making a payment for an item, without waiting for the Thank You page or order confirmation page to load. Therefore, they can prevent their transactions and data from being reported to Google Analytics. Also, one of the reasons for this is that some payment gateways do not direct users to the Thank You page. In such cases, inconsistencies arise between Google Analytics and Shopify Analytics.
Using Google Tag Manager on Shopify helps with this problem because GTM renders the scripts faster. The server-side tracking solution is even a better solution to this matter. You will learn more about it below.
Shopify Apps for Subscription & Upsell & Checkout
Many stores use dynamic Cross-sell, Upsell, and Checkout apps to increase the average cart amount and improve the customer experience. However, most of these apps work differently than Shopify's native flow. Therefore the tracking doesn't work as expected. The apps have their own Google Analytics integrations but it doesn't always work great.
In other words, the scripts of these applications may prevent them from working properly on the confirmation page of your order. Thus, your Google Analytics account may not be able to accurately detect these recurring sales, upsells or other actions.
This problem should be resolved soon because Shopify now offers a native setup for these kinds of apps. We expect most apps will switch to that by 2022.
Custom Page Builder Apps
Page builder Shopify apps like Pagefly, Gempages, or Shogun always need special Google Analytics integration to keep track of actions and events on their pages. Providing this integration for all elements may not be as easy as it seems, and often you cannot properly track the data on these pages in your Google Analytics account.
If you are using a Page Builder app, especially on your landing pages; this can be another reason for your data mismatch between Shopify and Google Analytics.
Potential Minor Reasons for Discrepancy
While some of the reasons are minor and rare, they still occur. One of them is that the time zone of your Shopify store is different from the time zone in your Google Analytics account. You will probably see different results when you check the data for the same period on both platforms. Another rare cause is too much product in one transaction. If the transaction sent to Google Analytics has a large number of products and its size is greater than 8kb, Google Analytics will not be able to save it in the database. This is a very rare issue but it can still happen.
Data inconsistencies can occur for many reasons, such as these. But don't worry. We have solutions for most, if not all, of these!
Analyzify - Data Analytics for Shopify
In our experience, around 10% to 12% discrepancy between Google Analytics and Shopify Analytics can be considered normal. More than 15% inconsistency requires action and problem-solving. Analyzify Core Version gives you the best possible data analytics setup and solves most of your potential problems.
We can say that Analyzify is an application that meets all data reporting and monitoring needs for Shopify stores. It can also solve your current or potential Shopify app integration issues.
Furthermore, if you are someone who uses different page builder applications such as Pagefly or Gempages and likes to design custom pages, we must say that the events and actions on these pages are largely not reportable to Google Analytics. At this point, the Analyzify Core Version can help resolve issues caused by the Shopify apps you want to use.
We also know that many stores fail to set up GDPR properly and encounter inconsistencies in data reported to Google Analytics. One of the things Analyzify helps with is making this setup healthy and minimizing the problem. Our app, which helps you solve many such problems, gives you the opportunity to track and analyze this data accurately.
Analyzify Server-Side Add-on
Like many, you may be using ad-blockers. But if you are a store owner or marketing professional of course you don't want your users to use them and you want to keep track of their data. Adblocking apps or Opera's built-in ad-blocking feature can prevent data reporting to your GA account in several ways. Some of these are blocking 3rd party cookies and sending requests to the blacklist. At this point, you can remove the effects of these adblockers on your own server with Analyzify Server-side tagging.
With Analzify Server-side tagging, you can have more control over the data you collect. There are also many advantages of moving to your own Google Cloud server, such as faster page speed or better customer data security. Feel free to browse our Analyzify Server-side tagging add-on for more information...
On the other hand, Analyzify Server-side tagging not only helps you get rid of adblockers, but it also helps you bypass Safari and Mozilla's ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) privacy features. As you may know, Apple's ITP algorithm blocks the ability of a tracker or store owner to recognize and track users over longer periods of time. Therefore, many Shopify store owners cannot properly initiate remarketing and retargeting ads for Safari users due to discrepancies and lack of data.
At this point, Analyzify increases the impact on your data and therefore your ads by blocking both ITPs and ad-blocking applications with its Server-side feature.
On the other hand, you can fix some potential minor problems with expert help without using any apps or plugins. You can get this help from Shopify Experts, or from agencies or freelancer experts on platforms like Upwork. Depending on the specific problem, getting this service for a fee can sometimes be a quick and effective solution.
Other Shopify Apps
Finally, you can take a look at other applications that serve in this regard. For example, you can compare applications that provide data analysis services for Shopify and choose the best one for you.
Of course, some data discrepancies between Google Analytics and Shopify Analytics are inevitable. Even a great setup can't prevent them sometimes. But in almost all cases it is not difficult to understand the causes of these discrepancies and find solutions to them.
We hope this article helped you with any potential discrepancies you have or will have. You can leave your questions below as comments!