This document contains frequently asked questions that arise when using the Google Analytics data source. You can quickly navigate to a particular FAQ by using the table of contents below.
Why do my totals on the Google Analytics Demographic Data View look different than what I see on the Main level?
This is because Age and Gender columns are not always defined by on GA side. The API only ever returns data where these fields are known, it does not support an undefined type value. For this reason, the values on this level may be a bit lower when the Age and/or Gender is unknown.
How come my Google Analytics data doesn't match TapClicks?
Check your assigning
There is a possibility that you may have access to multiple similarly named Properties or Views and you are not viewing the correct data in the Google Analytics UI. It is also possible that you have assigned the wrong View. To list Views for assigning, go to Google Analytics Account Property Name View Name and make sure that you are looking at the right data in the Google Analytics UI.
Check for multiple assigning
If the values you are seeing in the Dashboard are greater than expected, it is possible that you are combining data from more than one assigned. To crosscheck, build a Data Grid widget with Analytics Property and Analytics Profile (AKA View) as Group-By columns.
In this example, you can see that multiple properties/profiles are contributing to the data, so the total value cannot match a single Google Analytics View. Go through the list and delete unwanted assigning, or add Dashboard/Widget Filters to see the data that you are looking for.
The data might not match the UI, but it is probably correct.
The Google Analytics API is very complex and powerful. As a result it does not behave intuitively in some situations including the following:
- Data Sampling Under specific conditions, the Google Analytics API will down-sample large data sets in order to ensure a fast API response as per the algorithm. When TapClicks fetches your data, all efforts are made to get the full, non sampled data set. If the API returns a sampled report, TapClicks will reduce the date range until non-sampled data becomes available. So, the data you see in Dashboard is never sampled unless TapClicks gets non-sampled data when requesting reports day-by-day. As explained earlier, this is the smallest range supported by the API. However, when you view data in the Google Analytics UI, you may be shown Sampled Data, and this can cause marginal discrepancies with the Tap data.
- Excluding Invalid Data Google Analytics collects data for hundreds of dimensions and metrics when tracking your website traffic. However, there is no guarantee that the dimensions/metrics you are interested in will be captured for all users and sessions. The Google Analytics API returns the best data set but will exclude sessions for which the requested fields are unavailable. Each Google Analytics data view requests a specific combination of dimensions/metrics, and if you are viewing data in the UI for a different combination of dimensions/metrics, it is likely that you will see discrepancies with your Tap data.
For example, TapClicks Demographics data view stores data from a report that includes the User Age Bracket and User Gender as dimensions. If you view the standard Age report in the Google Analytics UI, you are viewing data where Age is a dimension but Gender is not.
For some of these sessions, it is possible that the Age of the is known but Gender is not. The report TapClicks captured in the Demographics data view will only include sessions for which BOTH Age and Gender were known. The data TapClicks captured was not incorrect, it was just a different data set than you are viewing in the Google Analytics UI.
Ultimately, the best single source of truth is the Google Analytics Request Composer. This tool allows you to request any valid combination of dimensions and metrics, so you can request the exact report TapClicks requests for an apples-to-apples comparison.
There’s good news though. If TapClicks standard data views do not match your needs because of an interaction of dimensions/metrics, TapClicks can build you a custom DIY data view with only the fields you want to view with Date. Please refer to the next section for more detail.
- Date Interactions When you view data in the Google Analytics UI, it treats the selected date range as a single block of data (unless you specifically request a monthly/weekly/daily breakdown). But when TapClicks calls the Google Analytics API for data, the request is always for the by date data. This can affect the values returned from the API including the following circumstances:
- Small samples of Demographics data may be altered to protect individual users. If you don’t get very much Age/Gender data in a day, the API may exclude some or all sessions from an API response to prevent any possibility of identifying individual users. But if you view a larger date range in the UI, you may see more sessions because the privacy threshold is not triggered without the daily breakdown.
- When you view users in a Google Analytics UI report, you will see the count of unique users in the requested date range. If you break down the same report by date, the user's metric will show the number of unique users for each day. So, if there are users who visited your site on multiple dates, they will be counted once for each date, and the total for the date range will be greater than the user count without the daily breakdown. TapClicks gets the data broken down by date, the users metric will most likely not match the Google Analytics UI value.
Goals Data must be handled with care
Google Analytics Goals provide a powerful way to track custom conversions on your websites. However, this results in complex data, which can lead to incorrect results in TapClicks widget. Any widget built from a Goals data view must either filter for one specific Goal or Group by Goal.
If not, you will be aggregating the values from multiple Goals. This is particularly problematic if you are viewing calculated fields that rely on a standard metric like Sessions, which must be duplicated for each Goal. For more clarity, look at how TapClicks store this data.
Please note that each Goal can have a different value for configured metrics (Starts, Completions), but all show the same number of Sessions. This is because Sessions is a standard metric, independent of any configured Goal. There are no Goal 2 Sessions. There are just Sessions. As you know, any number of Goals can be Started, Completed, or Abandoned during a Session. We need Sessions on each row so you can view the Goal 3 Completion Rate (Completions/Sessions * 100%). But if you don’t filter or group-by Goal, all these duplicated Sessions get added together and your widget will display erroneous results.
The bottom line is, these Goals data views are not like other Google Analytics data views. They are meant for generating accurate data for individual Goals.
How does Google sample demographic data?
Google has the right to withhold certain data sets from the response if the result for a specific demographic combination is smaller than the Google Data Threshold. So, while requesting data from Google Analytics, Google can withhold some data and send the rest. As a result, any API user cannot infer the performance of specific demographics or interest groups.
How do I use Google Analytics UTM Codes
Your UTM codes are contained as a part of additional data views in the Google Analytics feed. Take a look at your data source to see what metrics are available within your dashboard. If you do not see what you are looking for, reach out to your Account Manager or email@example.com to learn more.
|UTM CODE||TapAnalytics Label|
|utm_campaign||Analytics Campaign Name|
Why does my gender and age data look different?
When TapAnalytics pulls data from the Google Analytics API, a date is always applied to that data set. Applying a date ensures that data is obtained for each day in range. If the request is made for the whole month and if the number does not trigger the data threshold for a particular date, the response will not carry any data for that date.
After applying the date, the threshold for every day is triggered for a comparatively lesser number and the response has some useful data. For this reason, the numeric values in the Google Analytics feed that pertain to Age and Gender may appear somewhat lower than other data views.
For example, you might see that a specific page from Google Analytics has 40 page views for the Age Group 65+ for the entire month, let's say June. When TapAnalytics requests for June data, there is an additional granularity applied to get data by day. So, the response might show that the specific page has 12 page views for Age Group 65+ on one day in June and 17 page views on another day in June and no additional daily rows for the Age Group 65+. This means that for the other days in June, there are not enough page views to meet the Google Data Threshold and those rows are excluded from the response. So, TapAnalytics will show 29 page views for 65+ Age Group for the month of June rather than a value of 40 page views for 65+ Age Group. Please note that this is a system-defined threshold and there is no possibility for any change.
How do I know what dimensions and metrics can be used together from Google Analytics?
This is a web page that lists out all the dimensions and metrics that are possible to get from the Google Analytics API: https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/reporting/core/dimsmets
We suggest that when working on this page, you toggle to show API names to make it easier to find what you want.
When trying to determine if you can combine metrics, come to this page and select all your dimensions first and then go through and select your metrics. By doing this you will see fields become grayed out meaning that they cannot be combined with the fields you have already selected.
Example below is showing if I want Goal Completion Location that I cannot also have traffic source data:
Also valuable here is if you need to know the calculation behind a metric that we have, you can search that metric and click into it and it will show you how it gets calculated and displayed. Not all combinations will work, and even combinations that appear to work here may not work in the Request Composer.
How can I see exactly what data is returned through the Google Analytics API?
- Go to this URL: https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/request-composer/. Ensure that you are logged in to the client’s credentials or the email where the client has granted us access (if you need to check if a DIY is valid you can just use the internal account). Note that you can only test a single API call so there are limitations on the number of metrics and dimensions.
- Click into the tab for Metric Expression (this is the only one to use!).
- Select the Account, Property and View from the drop-down menu.
- Select your date range.
- Type in the metric expressions (metrics) you want to check (max 10). You will need the API naming conventions. You can get these from the Dimensions and Metrics Explorer.
- Type in all the dimensions for the data view you are comparing or are trying to validate (max). You will need the API naming conventions, You can get these from the Dimensions and Metrics Explorer
- Hit Make Request.
- If it’s a valid view then the data will populate below in the table.
- If something is invalid or wrong and error will occur to tell you.
I need more data from Google Analytics, what are my options?
You can define your own data view. This is a concept, called GADIY, that TapClicks has created in order to allow our clients to pull through Google Analytics data in a more flexible manner that is not dependent on the full release cycle. With this we have set it so clients can request 3 Dimensions and 7 Metrics:
- Note that we can discuss needs for higher dimensions and metric counts (6 and 10 respectively MAX)
- When we say 7 metrics we mean base values - calculated fields are not considered in this count because we will do the calculation on our side if we pull the base metrics
You request new DIY data views via the Master Request Form or JIRA if you have access. Ones that have already been completed are tracked in the Additional Data View Metrics spreadsheet.
For DIY views that already exist, you can request for these to be enabled on client’s instances beyond who they were initially created for. To see the fields included, go to the JIRA link listed in the DIY tab within the Additional Data View Metrics spreadsheet.
I need to connect to something more granular than "View" in Google Analytics, can I do that?
How can I report on Segment Data?
We no longer promote the Google Analytics Segments solution path because it was built as a work around to filtering and what evolved into the Flexible or 2nd Level Mapping. This is because Flexible Mapping is a more scalable solution path for our clients and allows for data to only get pulled for what we need.
The main reasons we no longer promote Google Analytics Segments include the following:
- This requires hard coding on our side and actions from the client that are very manual
- Google Analytics Segments only supports 3 segments max
- The data will be pulled up to three times depending on how many segments we have configured
- This will not be a flexible solution for reporting on data - you still may find you need filters to single out an individual segment’s worth of data
The main reasons we promote Flexible Mapping include the following:
- Allows users to map against multiple segments per client or different segments for each client if needed - Ultimately just way more flexible
- Supports as many segments as needed
- While still a hard coded solution it doesn’t have the same overhead in the code and we don’t need to do additional hard coding to add new segments as they get created
What fields (metrics) are available?
After you connect a data source to TapClicks, you can use that data in your reporting an insights. Each specific data field available through the API is called a Metric in TapClicks. These metrics are organized into groups of similar types of data called Data Views. You can view all metrics and data views for a given data source in the Connector Marketplace. For Google Analytics, you will find a list of all metrics available for use in TapClicks, organized by data view, here: Google Analytics metrics in the Connector Marketplace.
What data can I assign to my Tap Client from this data source?
Level 1 - View
Level 2 - Subset