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This week I came across a really unusual situation where the ecommerce transactions being stored in Google Analytics were very different from the real transaction data from the back-end of the (Magento) store.
While it’s very common to see problems with ecommerce transactions coming through to in Google Analytics, it is not common to see problems to this degree.
- We had transactions in Google Analytics that were not on Magento.
- We had transactions in Magento that were not in Google Analytics.
- We had transactions on both Magento and Google Analytics but with different prices listed in each.
- And, we had some that matched perfectly.
All up, 50% of revenue was missing from Google Analytics, even though some was “extra”.
It all seems very random and since in this instance I am not personally setting up this data I have had to refer it to the client’s developer for further investigation. The website code is sending the ecommerce transactions directly to Google Analytics rather than Google Tag Manager so I’m yet to learn exactly the cause.
The biggest issue here is the fact that it is really impossible to optimise advertising or CRO attempts if your transactions are not being correctly recorded. If you’re doing it right, Digital Advertising will always become optimised for what is leading to transactions, so if you are not recording transactions correctly you’ll get some really weird results.
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If you’re running an ecommerce business or one in which the sales are taking place on your website, I recommend you periodically check your Google Analytics ecommerce results against your real ecommerce results (from your back end).
With this client, the issue had been occurring for years and no-one had picked it up until I discovered the issue in an audit.
To compare the two, take one full month of back-end transaction data and compare it to the same full month of date range in Google Analytics. Ideally, the two revenue numbers will match within 5%. If the two don’t match, the first thing to check is the tax. Google Analytics data is usually shown tax-excluded, especially if you sell across multiple tax jurisdictions. If your numbers are still not adding up you can go through line by line across a date range and see where the problems are occurring.
I hope this isn’t a problem you are running into, but if you ever experience issues like this one, please reach out as you may need some more specialised help to get to the bottom of it.