As it turns out, the number gap is normal and somewhat unavoidable.
Here are the factors that create the divide.
When a DNT (Do Not Track) header is activated on the user’s browser.
This header tells GA to disable any type of tracking.
Some background info: When the DNT header came out in 2012 on Windows 8, it was automatically activated on Internet Explorer 10. Advertisers were incensed and Microsoft had to quickly change the setting.
The purpose of browser extensions like AdBlock is to (you guessed it) block ads. But they can also block the Google Tag Manager (GTM) and GA scripts. With the increasing popularity of ad blocking extensions, this dynamic is one of the biggest factors contributing to the data gap.
“Google Analytics Opt-Out” Extension
In 2010, Google made an extension called “Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on” for the main browsers on the market. Like the name says, the add-on allows users to opt out of sending information to GA.
Network connection (especially Wi-Fi)
On the customer side, network connection issues and a slow web server speed can block the collection of some data. When the customer switches from one page to another the tracking code has no time to load.
How to Bridge the Data Gap Between your CRM and GA:
1) Remove taxes and shipping fees when doing your calculations
Google Analytics does count taxes and shipping fees when calculating revenues. Magento, on the other hand, does NOT. In GA, use personalized metrics and reports to remove the taxes and shipping fees when calculating revenues.
2) Adjust GA when it comes to promotions
Magento takes note when you offer a 20% discount on a product. Magento will deduct that discount from your revenue. GA however will count the full item price. At the tracking level, you will need to make an adjustment to GA when running discounts.
3) Keep an eye on reimbursements, order cancellations, and fraud management
Each order that goes through the website will be tallied by GA. However, when an order gets cancelled or rejected by fraud software like Signifyd, Magento counts these orders while GA does not.
4) Implement the right tags
Implementing the proper tracking tags is a rigorous process with strict rules. In some cases, a script or a specific functionality can conflict with existing codes in Google Tag Manager, making it so these codes can’t function. If there is a conflict with the tag implementation, it can partially or totally impact your GA tracking.
These four factors explain why the the GA numbers will always be lower than those tracked by Magento. Our team has observed a difference of 10% on average between both datasets.
Make changes where you can to reduce the gap. But think about your Google Analytics data as trends, not necessarily concrete figures. We definitely recommend that you continue to use both tools. It is this kind of monitoring that allows you to measure your impact, change approaches and ultimately improve your eCommerce sales.