Discrepancies in Google Analytics Results vs. Carrot Stats

Purpose: This page will dive into common reasons that Google Analytics dashboard reports may differ from the data you see inside of 3rd party applications like Carrot.

Google Analytics Stats vs. Carrot Stats

The stats inside of your Carrot account are actually pulled from a master Google Analytics account for our platform. Each Carrot website has built in stats, and to power those stats we leverage the Google Analytics API.

We also make it easy for you to add your own Google Analytics tracking code to your Carrot website for full access and ownership of your stats within your own Google Analytics account.

The Carrot Stats that we’ve curated are the essential stats that are useful on the day to day operation of your online marketing.

Stats like “Visits” (which are “Users” inside of Google Analytics), top content, referral sources, average visit time, and % mobile are very useful for quick reference on the most important high level website visitor stats.

If you want more robust reporting and want to slice and dice the website visitor data in many different ways, we’d suggest adding your Google Analytics code to your Carrot website and using your GA account to dig deeper into your stats.

Why My Google Analytics Dashboard Stats Differ From What Carrot Is Reporting

Since we pull our data from Google Analytics, we’re at the mercy of what they give us.

Google Analytics is among the most trusted and widely used website tracking system out there, but it doesn’t come without it’s flaws.

If you notice stats differing from your GA dashboard vs. your Carrot Stats, there are 3 common reasons these differences often times pop up.

#1: Data Sampling

Google may sample the results it delivers to Carrot, which can cause differences between the values displayed by Carrot and Google Analytics. The magnitude of the discrepancies is usually in the range of 1-5%. Sampling occurs most often in queries that include an advanced segment, very large data sets, large numbers of session data, or where the data is split by multiple dimensions.

For more information about data sampling, see the Google Analytics Reporting API documentation and the General GA information article.

Since we pull traffic stats from our Google for our whole userbase, Google may often times “sample” (estimate) the data it gives us. This can end up in a small margin of difference from what you’d see in your GA dashboard.

The longer the period of time the data spans, the more Google tends to sample the data it sends through it’s API to software providers like Carrot.

#2: Google’s API and Web UI Out-of-Sync

The Google Analytics API and the Google Analytics web interface are not always totally in sync.  Countless articles are written about this online. Carrot products rely on the Google Analytics API, which may in some cases deliver figures which differ from the Analytics web interface. Small differences can be seen every now and then, but sometimes bugs in Google’s end cause major discrepancies.

Google does have an API reporting tool and a robust community that reports bugs found in the Google Analytics API for Google to look at.

We are at the mercy of what Google gives us in this case, but if you see a large discrepancy in the numbers in your Carrot Stats vs. your Google Analytics dashboard, reach out to Carrot support to let us know so we can determine if it’s anything we can impact.

#3: Different Filters and Different Stats

In the Google Analytics dashboard they report several different numbers using names that may differ from the names we use for the same data.

For example, when Google Analytics refers to “Sessions” while other tools may call them “visits”.

Below is how we name the data that Google gives to us.

Google Analytics

  • Sessions = A session is a period/time that a user is actively engaged with your website / app
  • New User = First time users to the website during the data range
  • Avg Session Duration = Average length of a session

Carrot Stats

  • Visitors = The total number of users during the requested time period
  • Avg Visit Time = Average duration of a users session

If you have different filters on your GA account than we do, or if you’re looking at different metrics believing they are talking about the same thing, that could cause an appearance of a discrepancy in the stats.

For example, if your GA account is filtering out certain traffic from certain countries, or “spam” visitors, etc and ours isn’t (or vice versa) the stats will appear different.

Conclusion

The Carrot Stats tool is a robust tool powered by Google Analytics data and we’re continually working on it to improve the feature set, accuracy, and ease of use. However, there may be differences in the data you see in your Carrot Stats vs. your GA dashboard based on the common reasons above.  It’s common for tools using Googles API to be given different numbers than you see on your own GA dashboard because of sampling or API issues. Our best advice is to use GA for any of your deep dive stats that go beyond the basic stats we display. And if you see enough of a difference, choose which source you will use as your primary source of data. Both sources are provided by Google and both sources will be within a tight range of the other.