You know the problem, the numbers in your Excel reports or dashboards differ from the numbers in your Google Analytics account? Then you are probably also familiar with the term “data sampling”.
What exactly is data sampling?
Google Analytics Server processes several billion web requests every day. Every time a website visitor performs a new action, whether it is loading a new subpage or pressing a button, a so-called event is sent to Google Analytics. This is registered and then appears in your Google Analytics statistics. In order to save resources, only partial quantities are considered for large amounts of data, whereby the corresponding statistics are extrapolated on a data sample. This means that the evaluation is available more quickly and the load on the servers is reduced.
According to Google, the sample survey in the reports is done automatically once more than 500,000 sessions have been recorded. Especially for very large websites this limit can be reached quickly.
How do I know when my Google Analytics data will be sampled?
Simply by creating a report with the metrics and dimensions to compare under Custom Reports and exporting it as a “Comprehensive Data Report”. Depending on the amount of data, it may take a few minutes for the overall data report to be available.
The overall data report now contains 100% correct data and can be used to check your reports for correctness. Note that for each overall report also so-called credits are used. However, these are reset daily.
When Data Sampling Becomes a Problem
Normally, it is sufficient to work with samples to look at trends and the entire development. The whole thing only becomes problematic if, for example, you want to analyze the meetings or target accounts depending on the landing page. The more dimensions (time, landing page, medium, source, etc.) are used in a query, the more important it becomes to work with un-sampled data. You could make false assumptions based on that.
How can sampling be prevented?
Not at all, everyone has to comply with Google Analytics guidelines. There are, however, ways and means to avoid this elegantly. You have the following options:
- Select smaller viewing periods: The smaller the section, the less data it contains.
- Use fewer dimensions: Work more filters in a query with fewer dimensions.
- Under Custom Reports you can also download data as “unsampled reports”, or as a so called overall report and use it in Excel or other tools.
Are there tools or software to help me extract data from Google Analytics?
There are several tools available, e. g. Excel plugins, which allow you to load data directly into Excel for further processing. But even these tools can solve the sampling problem only conditionally. I analyzed the following tools myself and was disappointed by the result every time. Still those tools can not really avoid data sampling in the google analytics api.
- NEXT Analytics: An Excel plugin to load data from Google Analytics, Adwords and other tools directly into an Excel file.
- SSIS CDATA Google Analytics Connector: An SSIS component that allows data from Google Analytics to be directly processed in an SQL database.
So what can you do to get 100% accurate data from Google?
Our development team has programmed its own solution to export 100% accurate data from Google Analytics. Therefore we have written an API connector and tested it extensively. The result was positive every time. We managed to avoid data sampling with a simple logic. We requested data from google analytics api until the meta data respond was “unsampled data”.
How did we do it? How to circumvent the API request limit of Google Analytics?
Not at all, this is explicitly stated in the description. Per API request, Google Analytics allows a maximum of 50,000 requests per day per project and 10 database queries per second per IP address. We solved it by automating the searches until we get no negative message about sampling from Google. If you also use several IP addresses depending on the load, you can also pull more data at once.
Simply use our free Google Analytics App in ABIS. Here you can get a free access for 3 domains at the same time. Click here for our app Google Analytics Traffic Explorer.
Learn how to create your own google analytics kpi dashboard explained in our blog: Creating a google analytics kpi dashboard
If you are interested in the topic and you need support, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to help you.