Google Analytics a Bit Goofy

A couple of weeks back I noticed that the figure being reported by Google Analytics representing our page views was less than our ad impressions. There is room for variance, for example the top leaderboard also appears on QBase, which isn’t in our overall traffic count, although I have access to figures for the site. Although QBase occasionally has some strong traffic, the gap wasn’t accounted for; it was clear that either our ad service was overcounting impressions, or Google Analytics was wrong.

Then it got weirder. We run Adsense units as remnant inventory, and on a couple of days Adsense was showing a higher page count than Analytics was. Something was clearly wrong. I did some digging and while there has been issues with Google Analytics in the past, nothing explained what I was seeing.

Then I worked it out. We may not have the quickest page load at The Inquisitr, but I’ve always been wary of not making the site bloated to load, like Mashable (which was up at one stage to 2mb on the front page) and TechCrunch (which has slimmed back, but was traditionally a heavy load). There are external factors I can’t control, the ad serving for one, and then services like Lijit and Outbrain do slow the site down, sometimes more than others. But still, the load isn’t horrible. And yet when I started the site, I was focused on delivering the content first, with the rest to follow. The header naturally leads with the content following, but the rest of the sidebar then eventually footer loads after that. Some times the load time can be seconds, other times (and depending on your connection and whether you’ve visited the site before) it can be out to 30 seconds or more. I realized that the difference, even between the post footer ad and the sidebar ad were that people were hitting the site and leaving it before the other things had loaded. And where was the Google Analytics code you ask? Last thing loaded in the footer.

Google recommends that you put the code for Google Analytics in the footer, and I’m not about to tell you to disagree with them, but a couple of days back I swapped the code from the footer to the header, and 2 days in all of a sudden my ads views are a close match to my Google Analytics page views.

There’s no rorting of the system in what I’ve done. In the early days, Google actually suggested you place the code up front. The down side is that running javascript up front can decrease your load times, but so far I’ve found the difference minor at best.

If you’re running a WordPress blog and thinking of trying the code up front, it must reside after the body tag, but if it’s in your header and that’s the first part of a page load, it’s a 99% bet that every page view will be counted.

29 Comments
  • arronwrath

    I signed up for Google analytics, and after I agreed to the terms and conditions then continue button, it just redirects me back to Google analytics sign-up page. And whenever I try to sign in, it redirects me to that page again. This doesn’t happen with any other Google products. Why is this happening, and how can I get my code? thanks!

    June 4, 2013 Reply
  • wwwavid360gamercom

    I have been using Google analytics on my site.
    Google analytics presents reports but in different categories and not in an integrated manner.

    I want to track each users actitvity like:
    when he came, how he came, where he came from, through which country, which page he visited and time spent on each page.

    Repors in analytics show that but not in a collective manner.
    I want to view all this data in one go for each user. Is it possible using filters or by creating reports? please help out

    June 5, 2013 Reply
  • superdork

    how do i move one google analytics to a different account? I have an old google account that i don’t use anymore except for one of my sites. I would like to move it to my other google account. How do i do that?

    June 5, 2013 Reply
  • Cpt Excelsior

    what is the difference between google analytics and google webmaster? i am almost finished my website now and i dont know the difference between the two. what are the differences?

    June 5, 2013 Reply
  • Ray D

    I want to know which city, state, country my visitors are from. Can Google Analytics do that and give me the summarized chart for it? Or does it tell me individually, but I have to manually compile the chart myself to see the summarized picture?

    June 5, 2013 Reply
  • Joey 01

    Recently i added my blog with google analytics, after that my revenue has reduced drastically very low. I do not know the reason. I would like to the differences between the two.

    June 5, 2013 Reply
  • lets roll

    I want to use google analytics to optimize my website. I haven’t registered yet though, because I’m not ready to–my site isn’t up yet. I’m just curious how the whole thing works.

    June 5, 2013 Reply
  • Kobe

    I have a blog on blogger and I have signed up for Google Analytics to monitor my website views. Is there a way to insert a google analytics code to your website so that a “counter” will appear on your website? If so, how can I do this?

    June 5, 2013 Reply
  • Mr SoLo DoLo

    what can i download to hide my visits? does google analytics only track people with google accounts?

    June 13, 2013 Reply
  • fattiemanny

    So I set google analytics up on my etsy shop and I know that you put in a url of your goal, but how do I do this for an Item sold? Because I don’t know the url destination for a sold Item or the ones in between.

    July 3, 2013 Reply
  • TommyKay

    Hey, I just bought my domain for my website from a subdomain I had before (weebly). How do I change it on Google Analytics without having to create a whole other account for my website. Thanks.

    July 3, 2013 Reply
  • isk8at818

    I have an ecommerce store and I started a google analytics account. When I log into the back end of my online store, the google analytics overlay bar shows up and and I can’t get rid of it. How do you get rid of it? I use Chrome.

    July 13, 2013 Reply
  • Malcolm Hudson

    If I put the google analytics code in my website, and then continually preview the local html file (which has the google analytics code in it), will that register to google visits each time I preview my site before posting to the web?
    Won’t it execute the piece of google code each time I preview my page?

    July 13, 2013 Reply
  • arronwrath

    All I want to do is this:

    Display a certain link depending from which site a user came from. Does anyone know any code I can use to do this with Google Analytics?

    EX: If a user came from yahoo answers, he will be shown a link that says: Free pet food. If someone came from youtube then that vistor will see a different link in that same position that says: Free Milk

    July 22, 2013 Reply
  • kerrin marz

    Hello everyone, i want to check the In-page Analytics of my website’s inner page with Google Analytics. I can check it for my website’s homepage without any problem but i am facing a problem when i try to check the same for any of my website’s inner page. Please help.

    Your answers will be highly appreciated. Thank You !!
    @Priya: I have put the Google Analytics code on all the inner pages.

    July 23, 2013 Reply
  • Jerosh Nagulachandran

    I have a Joomla website and already set up a Google Analytics account, now how do I add the code to my website so that it will keep track of visitors etc to every page? Thanks!

    July 26, 2013 Reply
  • jdubdoubleu7704

    I just put my weblog on my own domain, losing the blogspot bit in the URL. WIll my Google analytics and adsense still work , or will i have to reinstall certain items ? Thanks.

    July 29, 2013 Reply
  • jag43216

    I am using google analytics plug in to track my site. I have also another site. How can I track them individually with one google analytics account? Somewhere I read that, one tracking ID can be used with multiple websites. Another thread says:

    ” There are a maximum of 50 profiles per Analytics Account, and a limit of 25 Analytics Accounts per email address. ”

    What does that mean? I do want to use one email id for tracking all my websites. So do I have to open individual analytics account associated with one gmail or do I have to create multiple analytics profile within one analytics account to track multiple wordpress sites? Also, tracking ID varies with different profile or different analytics account? Hope you can help.

    August 3, 2013 Reply
  • Mark M

    So I set google analytics up on my etsy shop and I know that you put in a url of your goal, but how do I do this for an Item sold? Because I don’t know the url destination for a sold Item or the ones in between.

    August 4, 2013 Reply
  • everythingisgonnabefine

    I set up a site that has URL tracking on it. I am sending out emails that have URL tracked links. When I look in Google Analytics I see a certain amount of traffic from these links. But I also see a certain amount of traffic that comes from ‘referred’ sites. I am unsure if this is due to my activity or not. Figuring this out will help me determine how successful my marketing efforts actually are.

    August 4, 2013 Reply
  • evil chevy

    I am totally lost. I have tried millions times to work out how you do this, but now I am totally lost. I was given a Tracking code not sure do I need to change the blue high lighted code or not. Any help or ideas will be most helpful. Thank you

    personalized Google Analytics Tracking Code

    August 4, 2013 Reply
  • Mr SoLo DoLo

    “Does anyone know why Google Analytics , Feedburner, and MyBlogLog each report different measurements of the same metric. For Wordout, the difference in unique visitors, or page views, can vary between these services as much as 100%.”

    August 8, 2013 Reply
  • Heath

    I have used Google Analytics in the past on my WordPress blog. But now, I have changed the theme and lost the tracking code too. I don’t know where to take the code from to implement it in my new theme. I have tried looking in my Google Analytics control panel but no luck…Can anybody help me?

    August 14, 2013 Reply
  • Daniel

    On google analytics how do you set up a filter to exclude an IP address for an entire account as opposed to just a profile?

    August 17, 2013 Reply
  • Anny

    I can’t figure out how to show Adsense Revenue through my Google Analytics account. I asked this question before but the answer was too general…something about creating a channel…couldn’t figure it out…so more detailed instruction would be greatly appreciated..Thanks.

    August 24, 2013 Reply
  • Dr Dorian

    I use google analytics. The service I sell online is location specific. I am getting visits clustered around various locations.

    Any creative ideas on how to target visitors from specific locations? Does this make any sense?

    Something like: If you are from San Diego, click here for a special offer?

    Thoughts? Ideas? Experience to share?

    August 25, 2013 Reply

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