Incorrect Google Analytics Setup Causing Double or Triple Counting

It can be challenging to get clients to sign into Google Analytics and share information. However, it can result in double or even triple counting.

Video Transcript

Onawa: The site had Site Kit, and a GA4 tag, and a UA tag. So, the two tags were in the body, not the header.

David: Yeah.

Onawa: But it wasn’t my login that had the Site Kit. And, like I said, I was doing something else to that site, so I just wanted to know. Obviously, this is not correct, but miscounting everything as well possibly.

David: Yeah. I literally ran into a circumstance like this last week with a client where the developers had transitioned the client from Drupal into WordPress, and they saw a bunch of code on the Drupal site, and they just said, well, it must be important. They copied it from Drupal and put it in the WordPress header as it was in Drupal, and it was Google Analytics code. They didn’t know what it was. They saw it, said Google, and said, oh, it must be important people are going to put it in there. So, we were running UA, GA4, and then using Tag Manager to render GA4 again. Okay, so do you have access to any of these Google Analytics accounts?

Onawa: I didn’t even look because it wasn’t something we were doing for that client. I was putting in a different code for different analytics. That’s why I was wondering if they want it that granularly, then why is this so wrong?

David: Yeah. And can you look at the G- number? Are they the same? If you view the source?

Onawa: Let me see if I can go back and see. I don’t have that.

David: So, I think it’s worth a red flag to a client to say you might be double- or triple-counting.

Onawa: Yeah, that was my thought. I wanted to ask so I could give a heads-up. This is not right.

David: Right. But the first thing is to check the G-number because that is going to tell you if it’s the same Google account or if someone was lazy, as we’ve experienced with other clients where different agencies keep putting on their own account. It’s wrong. However, I empathize with how hard it is to get a client to log into Google Analytics and share. Sometimes, I’ll just get in there and put my own on there. Right? And so, sometimes, that’s what happens. The only reason it might do three is if the UA is connected to the GA4 account, and we don’t know that unless we can go into the back end of UA. What could happen is that the UA is connected to a GA4 account, which is also present on the page. So, even though you can’t see the data in UA, that UA code is still sending it into GA4. And then there’s a GA4, and then the Site Kit is adding another GA4, which, God forbid, it’s the same GA4.

Onawa: Yeah, that’s why I was like, okay, I know this is clearly not good.

David: Right. So, I think it’s worth a red flag to the client to say, we noticed this. I really like the attitude that we notice, and we’re offering this as a helpful solution. I view analytics as a loss leader for me in my business because I use analytics to prove the value I provide. So, it’s not a fee I would charge to fix unless it was a big problem. I just took on a big analytics project recently, but if you’re doing regular marketing with me, that’s how I prove my value. So, I want to make sure the data is right, and that’s how it would justify it to the client. Right? We want to make sure you’re confident that what we’re giving you is right. Unfortunately, you may be overcounting everything, and we want to set that expectation. Number one, if we fix it without telling them, God forbid, suddenly the traffic is brought down to a third of what it was.

Onawa: Yeah, that’s why when I first saw the tag was in the wrong spot, I was just going to move it. Then I was like, these are two tags. I’m not going to touch it. But I do want to let them know that. And then I was like, okay, let me see if there’s a Site Kit too because, of course, there would be. Right?

David: Yeah, of course. And checking the header files of the theme and then, you know, like, oh lord.

Onawa: Well, we do have access to a tag for them, so let me see if it’s the same tag. Yes. Okay, so it’s the same GA4 tag, but I don’t know if that’s the only one in there. Okay, how do I see if the UA tag is connected?

David: So, you could go into the admin of the UA account. So, that would be the gear at the bottom left, and go to one of the views of the UA account.

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