If you observed some differences between the data in your Google Analytics and Air360, this will explain possible causes.
More than often, you will observe differences between Air360 data and Google Analytics. In most cases, these can be explained by the following scenarios.
1. Data sampling on Google Analytics
Unless you are using the paid version of Google Analytics, all your reports are sampled. This means that in order to be fast & efficient, GA never takes into account all of your data. GA uses approximations that are usually good enough but that will never be as accurate compared to considering each bit of your data. Air360 doesn’t do any sampling any data question includes every bit of your data.
2. Using Google Tag Manager
While Tag Manager are very useful and solve a lot of headaches, they also come with downsides. One of these downsides is that it can take a while to load in your user’s browser and delay the loading of underlying scripts. As a result, by the time Air360 script is fully loaded by Google Tag Manager, the visitor may have already clicked some links, performed some actions or simply clicked the back button in her browser. That is why we strongly recommend inserting Air360 script directly in your page for the most accurate tracking.
3. Differences in sessions count
Just like Google Analytics, Air360 sessions expire after 30 minutes of inactivity. However, there are also noticeable differences between GA and Air360 design.
- Google Analytics will also count additional sessions for users who clicked an AdWords. Air360 will consider this as a single session. For example, clicking through an AdWords link, then clicking back, and clicking the same AdWords link again will create two sessions in GA. In this case, Air360 will consider this as the same session.
- Google Analytics sessions are always reset at midnight. If a user browses your website between 11:40PM and 0:10AM, it will be counted as 2 sessions in GA. Air360 considers this as a single session as it clearly reflects reality best.
- By default, Google Analytics will also count sessions for bots, scrapers and various crawlers. While filtering these sources is not an exact science, Air360 considers this as “noise” and tries to focus on traffic coming from real users.
4. Differences in Unique Pageviews count
There is a significant difference between how Google Analytics measures Unique Pageviews compared to Air360. Here is the definition of a Unique Pageview for Google Analytics: “Unique Pageviews is the number of sessions during which the specified page was viewed at least once. A unique pageview is counted for each page URL + page Title combination.”
In Air360, a Unique Pageview is triggered whenever a page load event occurs, or for single-page applications, a pushState event that changes the URL.
5. Differences in “New users” count
When Google Analytics sees a user for a very first time, it will set a cookie in the user browser and count this user as a “new user”. If cookies are cleared before the user comes back, Google Analytics will count this user as a new user again. While this is not an exact science, Air360 relies on your own first-party cookies, so even after clearing her cookies, a given user will be considered as the same user in most cases.
6. Differences in “Bounce rate”
Google Analytics mainly relies on page views to detect user activity. Since it doesn’t track any other user interactions like Air360 does, GA has no idea if a user actually spent quite some time carefully looking at your landing page or not at all.
GA can therefore only determine active time if a user navigates to a second page so it can compare the timestamps between the two. But what if the user spent a great amount of time reading the first one before leaving?
If you have a landing page with a good amount of content, the user could actually spend several minutes reading your content, in this case GA would still consider it a bounce, just because they didn’t navigate to any additional pages. Air360 considers this pretty inaccurate at best, instead Air360 shows you how the user actually engages with your landing page.