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Why are Google Analytics Ecommerce Reports different from sales figures in WooCommerce?

A question commonly asked by online sellers, and from our own clients here at Engage Web, is “why is there a discrepancy between figures in WooCommerce and Google Analytics reports?” Sometimes, the difference between the two can be substantial, for both number of products sold and revenue – one user on Reddit claimed a Google Analytics underreporting rate of nearly 50% compared to that of WooCommerce.

So, why is this?

Well, first of all, there will always be a discrepancy between sales figures shown in Google Analytics and in the actual sales on your website. This is because your website tracks every sale made on the system, but Google Analytics can only track the sales it is given access to – therefore, it will always miss some of your sales.

Google Analytics can miss sales due to factors on both ends – the customer and the seller. On the customer end, distorted figures can simply be due to the customer using Ad Blocking software that blocks Google Analytics, or the customer leaving the website before the Google Analytics tracking code fires a conversion. Other times, a customer might be using the website without JavaScript enabled, which blocks the Analytics code, or they might have a slow internet connection, meaning the bandwidth has allowed the page to be viewed, but the code has not been able to fire up before the user has left the page.

With factors on the customer end, these are obviously out of your control, but is there anything you can do on the seller end to try and reduce the discrepancy?

1. Check your order received page

With WooCommerce, be aware that some plugins allow you to alter the default ‘order received’ page, and use a custom page instead. Using such a page can, however, prevent Analytics from tracking completed orders. To rectify this, you must either remove the plugin or contact the author for an update that allows the custom page to mimic the default page, thereby allowing Analytics to register orders.

2. Ensure JavaScript is necessary

When using an Analytics for WooCommerce plugin, ensure you only have the necessary JavaScript – the author of the ‘Enhanced Ecommerce Google Analytics Plugin for WooCommerce’, Tatvic, highlighted to one user that two gtag.js scripts running on his page could have been causing his discrepancy issue, as the plugin was tracking correctly, despite the inconsistency in figures.

3. Search for failing modules

In other cases, your “thank you for your order” page may have a failing module. This could be preventing other scripts from working correctly, including Analytics. This can be hard to spot, as in testing it won’t show up. However, by using JavaScript Error Tracking, you should be able to pick up the exact error and rectify the issue.

4. Enable app tracking

Finally, a simpler issue that may be overlooked – if you have a mobile app, it’s worth double checking to ensure that Google Analytics tracking is enabled for in-app purchases.

This list is not exhaustive, on both the customer and seller end. We stress to all of our clients that Google Analytics shouldn’t be used to make decisions based on sales volumes, or on specific sales. Instead, Analytics should be used to offer insights into trends and the types of products being purchased. Its value is obvious, but, unfortunately, it’s not a tool that can be used to monitor every single sale.

If you need help with setting up an online shop, or with creating website in general, contact our team at Engage Web today.

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