Nothing causes senior management or a business owner to distrust the numbers faster than errors in the data. Once that trust is gone it’s very difficult to win back.

Whilst it is important that any user of Google Analytics Enhanced E-commerce understands that the transactions that are recorded will not match your accounting system exactly, they should be very close. Typically we aim for an error rate of less that 5% but have seen differences up to 10% on a healthy website with no tracking issues.

The net result of this data adoption is an industry in the midst of steady transformation — but what exactly does that transformation involve? Let’s take a look at the changes taking place:

Some of the key errors that might be influencing your data are listed below:

Missing Transactions

Whilst a small amount of missing transactions is virtually unavoidable sometimes errors can creep in.
Common issues that cause this are:

  • Unexpected characters in the JavaScript code. E.g. the $ or , characters appearing in the price field or quotation characters in the product description.
  • Incomplete data being sent to Google Analytics. The user exiting the browser if the confirmation page takes too long to load is a common cause.
  • The customer is not always sent to the confirmation page that sends the data to Google Analytics. Paypal and other external payment gateways can sometimes cause this if the customer doesn’t fully complete the process and return to the thank you page.
Too Many Transactions

If you see that the total count of transactions is higher than expected it is likely that some customers can reload the confirmation page that sends the data to Google Analytics and cause that transaction to be double counted.

This can happen if you send a confirmation email to the customer that encourages to return to their order details and your system reloads the Google Analytics code when the user visits that page. It can also happen if the customer reloads their confirmation page.

The solution to this is to only send the data to Google Analytics the first time. This may require modifications to your shopping cart as many will allow for the full transaction details to be reloaded when the confirmation page is refreshed.

To check if your data includes any duplicate transactions, click on the link below to view a custom Google Analytics report and select your normal Google Analytics view when prompted. The number of transactions per transaction ID should only be “1”.

Duplicate Transaction Report

Not Tracking Refunds

Whilst it is a little harder to implement if your store receives a large number of refunds this can significantly bias the data. Google Analytics can reverse transactions by sending a refund event. Removing these sales is important to ensure that you accurately measure the results of your marketing campaigns.

Incorrect Sales Attribution

This is the number one issue that we are brought in to solve time and time again.

There are two main causes of this:

Domain Issues
The first occurs when your payment gateway is on a different domain and the final confirmation page is on that domain. The symptom that you will see is that all sales are attributed to that domain. The reason for this is that the customer’s is tracked as a different user on the payment gateway site.

The solution to this is to implement cross domain tracking so that the user can be tracked consistently across both domains.

Tip: Use Google Tag Manager. It makes solving this problem much, much easier than doing this using straight Google Analytics code.

Referrer Issues
The second occurs when the customer is taken to a different payment gateway and then is redirected back to your own store to see the confirmation page. In this case you might see your own site, Paypal or some other payment gateway as the source of the sales from your site.

The solution to this is to add all of your sites and the payment gateway domains to the list of ignored referrers in your Google Analytics settings.

There are many other ways in which you can receive unexpected data. If you need help in solving these please contact us for support.