How Can Google Analytics Be Wrong? – Problems & Solutions

Whole Whale TV logoIt’s almost blasphemous to say this but…Google Analytics can be wrong. In this training video we present the 6 most common problems people face when using GA. You have the problems – we have the answers. We did our best for you (as always) and in the video above we provide you with the solutions to the following 6 problems.

Problem #1. Your Average Session Duration Is Low

Bounce rate – that is the villain. When somebody comes to your site and leaves without doing anything else, zero seconds are recorded. Super frustrating especially when they factor in all those zero’s.

Problem #2. Your Organic Search Numbers May Be Too High

This may be more true, if you’re a big brand name. Let’s take Whole Whale for example. If somebody types “Whole Whale” into Google to find this site, “Whole Whale” gets counted as an organic search. Instead, this should really be regarded as direct traffic.

Problem #3. Keyword “Not Set”

Ah yes, the dreaded “keyword not provided”. These are keywords being blocked by the privacy settings of Google. Some keywords are simply hidden from Google Analytics. These can account for up to 70%, so in fact, you can only see about 30% of the keywords you analyze. Yikes.

Problem #4. Double Counting Users

This can happen because of “cookies”. That’s how Google knows all this creepy stuff about you. Your every interaction, what you look at, what you purchase, etc., is stored as a cookie. However if you clear your cookies in your web browser, Google Analytics thinks that you’re a new user even if you’ve visited that site a minute ago. Same thing happens when a user uses two devices – a laptop and a cellphone – for example.

Problem #5. User Counts Don’t Add Up

This is key – Google wants unique users to be counted based on the timeframe. Let’s say that hypothetically, you tally the number of users month by month. However at the end of the year, you’re asked for the number of users for the whole year. You take all those months, query them up together, and get a user count that’s totally different than what you’ve had before. Oh the headaches, we know…

Problem #6. Numbers Keep Changing

Maybe you’re working on something, counting up the numbers, and so as not to forget you write it down. You do the exact same thing later, and get totally different results. “What? How”? You know the old saying – “It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere”. When counting and/or comparing your data make sure a full 24 hour cycle passes.
Those are the most common ways Google Analytics can be wrong. What you want to know though, is how to make it right…right? Watch the video above to learn about the solutions.
If you need some helpful ways to advance your analysis download Whole Whale’s Nonprofit Dashboard Startup Pack in Solutions Gallery.

Thank you for reading and watching our videos – we create these for free in the hopes that they find their way to the marketing and content creators at nonprofit organizations. Anything you can do to share these with the sector is deeply appreciated!