Freshmarketer allows users to integrate with Universal Google Analytics for gaining better insights. But there are times, there is a need for a setback to compare results of other analytics tools with Freshmarketer. And it is very normal to have certain differences between Google analytics (or other analytics tools) and Freshmarketer.
The most important point that is to be remembered is Freshmarketer is a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) tool and GA is an analytics tool. Freshmarketer and GA tracks user behavior differently.
This guide should help you in fixing the data discrepancies.Read about integrating Freshmarketer with GA.
Generally, there shouldn’t be any data differences in GA with Freshmarketer. In case of occurrence of any data discrepancies, then you are dealing with an issue related to GA integration with Freshmarketer.
Why integrate GA with Freshmarketer?
Comparing results of GA and Freshmarketer separately might show data discrepancies. Any analytics tool will show a different set of metrics in comparison to Freshmarketer’s report, as each tool has its own calculation of metrics. To compare the results of the both, the data shouldn’t be disparate.
On integrating GA with Freshmarketer, the custom reports can be viewed only for visitors pertaining to your Freshmarketer experiment.
Enabling experiment-wide GA integration in your project settings tab.
Integrating Freshmarketer GA integration
Example: If your experiment in Freshmarketer is set up only for the landing page and GA has been set up for the entire website. Then, obviously, your GA report should show more number of visitors compared to the report in Freshmarketer.
- Compare reports for the same time zone and date.
Example: On filtering data for a custom date range, reports have to be compared for the same date range and time zone to ensure there is no data mismatch. Certain platforms might show reports involving new and returning visitors. At Freshmarketer, GMT is followed.
- Compare reports for the same traffic allocation and targeting devices.
Example: If filtering of data is enabled in GA for mobile devices and no filtering is done with Freshmarketer Then, obviously, the data in Freshmarketer will be in bigger figures than in GA.
- Adding the correct Custom Dimension Id. Ensure that the dimension Id in GA matches with Id mentioned in Freshmarketer. And make sure that the custom dimension id that you are currently using is not in use by any other experiment.
Create Custom Dimension in UA
In Freshmarketer, visitor data contains information only about unique visitors. In GA, visitor data is collected based on sessions. A session lasts for 30 minutes. Example, if visitor A enters the site in a session and re-enters the site after the session has ended, then GA counts that returning visitor as say, visitor B.
But, in Freshmarketer visitors are counted based on the information stored in cookies. Until the cookie expires, Freshmarketer doesn’t count the returning visitors. Freshmarketer creates cookies for every new and unique visitors to record their information and to spot out returning visitors from the already existing information.
To get the maximised benefit of data comparison, include the metric user in your GA report. This metric works closely with the ‘unique visitor’ calculated at Freshmarketer
Real-Time Reporting in Freshmarketer
GA reports take more than a day to update the custom variable data. Any change takes 24 - 48 hours to get updated in the reports, whereas in Freshmarketer you can view your test reports instantly.
-Visitor counts between GA and Freshmarketer does not match
This may occur due to setting domain name with a leading period or ‘www.’ that leads to an additional set of cookies being created.
Eg. While setting domain name, it is a common practice to use the domain name without any leading period.
(ie) ga ('create', 'UA-XXXXX-Y', 'example.co.uk'); is different from
ga ('create', 'UA-XXXXX-Y', '.example.co.uk');
Domain Hash - GA handles the cookies hashed against the domain name with which it is set
Consider Freshmarketer creates a cookie for the site example.com. If there is another function call in your web page that set a cookie for .example.com, it de-validates the old cookie set by Freshmarketer. This has an impact on the referrers and bounce rates in GA.
Also while setting the cookie, If you change the domain name to the same domain name with leading period, then all the returning visitors will be counted as new visitor as the cookie with leading period is not present in the client browser. This leads to the traffic result getting skewed.
Common best practice to avoid this is to not use a leading period or ‘www.’ while setting the cookie.
ga ('create', 'UA-XXXXX-Y', 'auto'); Using ‘Auto’ for the domain sets the cookie with domain name with leading period.
This may occur due to
- Improper implementation of Freshmarketer snippet on the website.
- Disabled GA integration in the experiment.
- Wrong custom dimension Id in GA.
- You may verify for the Freshmarketer snippet implementation using this article. Also, ensure that the Freshmarketer snippet is present in the <head> tag of the website.
- Ensure that GA integration is turned on for your account in the Project settings tab.
- Ensure the custom dimension Id in GA matches with the Freshmarketer experiment. Also, make sure that the existing custom id is not in use anywhere else.
Experiments title appears as Freshmarketer_[ Title ]( [ Experiment_Id ] )[ Variation_Name ] and is truncated to the max length of 20 characters.
To work around this limitations, you may choose appropriate names for the experiment within the max length of 20 for proper identification.