Why your numbers don’t add up in your marketing analytics tools
I bet you have experienced this before. You check your analytics and something smells like rotten. Numbers don’t add up.
The data you checked yesterday and the one you get today might have changed. But, wait. You haven’t changed the dates.
Why is this happening? For starters, I assume that you have set up the tracking properly and/or you are checking the same data. In this case, Let’s go through some of the most common problems and how to bridge them.
You might not get a perfect answer, but this article will definitely help you to develop a powerful marketing strategy while navigating difficulties.
You’re looking at your website’s numbers to date
This is a cardinal sin when using any marketing analytics tool, but especially Google Analytics.
First and foremost, Analytics doesn’t collect data immediately. It can take up to 24 hours for Google Analytics to process the information and show it in your reports.
So, when you are checking your website’s analytics, try to look at one day earlier or you risk not getting the right data.
You’re looking throughout the whole year and the data is too consistent
No analytics tool is infallible. They scrape tons of data, process them and serve you in a report.
It is very difficult to get the right numbers unless they are small. The problem comes when you’re checking at large periods of time.
If you have the free version of Google Analytics you may have experienced too consistent or identical sets of numbers. It is like if every month you always have the same number of leads or purchase.
Instead of desperate, try to analyse it in smaller time slots. By looking at quarters at not at years, you might see more spot-on results.
You’re comparing conversions in different tools but the sources differ
This is a classic. Sometimes you check at numbers of conversions in your different analytics tool and, oddly enough, you get different results.
How come? Well, there is a myriad of situations. Let me go through some of them.
For example, you are running a paid marketing campaign. However, the source of your paid signups differs.
In this case, it could be because of the attribution model you are using in each tool. The attribution model will determine to which channel the conversion is assigned.
It can be that a user clicks on an ad, then searches for your company on Google and clicks on an organic result, and then also get retargeted on Facebook.
Some attribution models assign the conversion to the last click on an ad. Others give the attribution to the first interaction. It depends.
This will help you to see where to allocate more resources. Perhaps, you’re putting a lot of budget in paid search, but conversions are coming from organic.
Regardless of the strategy you follow, your attribution modeling should be the same in each of your analytics tools. Otherwise, you will get different results.
You don’t measure conversions consistently your digital marketing strategy.
The way marketing departments qualify what a conversion is depends on your business model. Some businesses would consider a click on an ad one conversion, while others do it with a sign-up, and there are others who will call conversion a purchase from a customer.
This is a similar problem to the attribution model. It happens because of lack of consistency in your digital marketing strategy.
The problem comes when you are not consistent setting up how to measure a conversion in each of your marketing tools.
In this case, we are talking about conversions, but it could also be any other KPI you use to measure the success of your business.
Everything is right in my analytics tools and the numbers simply don’t add up
This is a constant in each organization, especially when looking at very specific data. For instance, you launch a campaign and in one tool you get 11 conversions in Google Analytics and in Google Ads you get 12.
Don’t desperate, it happens. I can only say that you will need to learn how to live with that.
Sometimes, numbers aren’t as precise as we expect them to be. It can be that the user deleted his cookies and so you will see a smaller number.
It can also be that a user lands on a page and instead of clicking on the call-to-action button, navigates through your website but end up signing up.
Another example will be that the numbers of purchases in a given time-period don’t correspond from what your billing system says. It can be that the first analytics tool doesn’t register information of a user if they deleted the account.
You will never know. As long as the difference isn’t very big, you shouldn’t worry much.
The problem here is what source to trust. You are getting diverse data that you may need to report.
You have no option to choose one source. The key isn’t that numbers add up, the importance is to be consistent when you measure your results.