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Lost / untracked conversion and events

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Since I tried to refine my conversion tracking I’m feeling that I’m having untracked conversions.

The technical details:

Two months ago I set up my first conversion tracking to track sign ups to my site. I called it "Signed in visit". I displayed it on every page visit when the user was signed in.


There is a HTML5 data attribute that is displayed on signed in visits. I looked for this with Tag Manager. The conversion was displayed with a trigger when the attribute was present. Yes, I displayed the same conversion hundreds or thousands of times per day for each user.


However, I set it to count as one conversion. It worked like charm. I often compared my database and the AdWords numbers each day. There were little differences: people signed up without clicking on my ad or they clicked before midnight but signed up after midnight. In general, it was quite precise. I switched my campaigns to CPA and they performed many times better.


Please also note that the difference was always positive towards AdWords. It told I had 3-10 more conversions than I found in the database.

Recently I decided to "do it properly". I also wanted to have multiple goals in Analytics. "Signed in visit" wasn’t usable for goals.

Hence I created another conversion: "Signed up". It also counts as one conversion. There is no difference between them except their names.

I modified my website to display a certain HTML5 data attribute right after the successful sign up page load. (After the redirection). I have several automated tests to make sure that this attribute is included properly. It is displayed only once: the next page load after signing up. And it is displayed for sure.

I created a trigger in Tag Manager that looks for this new attribute. The "Signed up" conversion is displayed with this trigger. The same trigger also sends an event to Analytics. The  previous conversion, "Signed in visit" conversion is turned off in the Tag Manager.

I created a Goal in Analytics that is completed when on the event action sent by the new trigger.

The results:

Yesterday I had 189 new users.

Analytics says I had 165 Goal completions. (Conversions / Goals / Overview)

AdWords says I had 142 conversions.

I can see in my database how many new users had "gclid" in the first visit url: 163.

This looks wrong.

I think that the count of the new users should be equal to the count of the Goal completions. 
It seems that the count of the Goal completions is close to the count of the new users who clicked on my ads. However, this is a coincidence. The same is not true for Today.

There is too big difference between the users who had "gclid" in the url (163) and the total conversions (142). I’m telling after two months of experience with the previous conversion that most of my new users clicked only one of advert. By the way, I don’t know what should happen if they click on two adverts then they sign up. But I doubt that they changed their habits in two days.

Also, there is only one way to sign up to my site and the mobile version uses the same code / html.

There is a theory that works well as technical explanation. The "Signed up" conversion tag is inserted only once. If it does not always work, some conversions will never be tracked. The "Signed in visit" conversion was inserted on each page visit (but counted once). If it did not work the first time, it was recorded on the second or the third page visit. So the numbers were more precise.


As I told, with the previous conversion, I saw a couple of more conversions in AdWords compared to my database. With the new conversion and tracking method, I see significantly less conversions in AdWords than new users in the database.

My problem is with this theory that the whole world uses AdWords and Tag Manager. It’s not possible that Google would not track about 13% of the conversions. Also, the new conversion is how I could track everything else than sign ups. For example, I could not use the old method to track purchases as I could not include a purchase conversion tag in multiple page loads. 


But what is happening?

What’s interesting is the very same percentage difference:

Conversions / 'gclid' in url = 142.0 / 163 = 0.8712

Goal completions / New users = 165.0 / 189 = 0.8730

As for today, the new user count and the Goal completion count are almost the same. (178 vs 173. The missing 5 might be the lag). This means that my application and the Tag Manager itself work well.

However, the Conversion count and the new user with 'gclid' ratio is the same:

133.0 / 151 = 0.8808

There might be some lag but not so much. It seems to me that about 10-12% of the conversions are missing.

Every idea how to explain or improve the situation is welcome.

Thank you and have a nice day.

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Lost / untracked conversion and events

Community Manager
# 2
Community Manager

Hi Merl,


Thanks for posting to the Community. There's a lot of info here, so it may take some time for us to go through! Let me start off with a few questions:


1) When you say that you expect new users number to match up with your Analytics conversions--do you mean to say that you expect all new users to sign up?


2) Are you familiar with the differences between reporting in Analytics and AdWords? I'd recommend this resource and this one to start.



Re: Lost / untracked conversion and events

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hello Cassie,

thank you for the quick reply.

Yes, my post was long and still there were missing pieces.

Today the numbers in Analytics and in my database are almost the same. This confirms that the Tags and the Trigger are working fine.

1. Every time when I told "new users" I meant users who signed up to my site. This number is coming from my database. I never meant the "new users" as an audience in Analytics or new visitors. I see this was confusing. For me, one "new user" is one conversion (sign up). Also, I exclude people ("users" in Analytics term) who signed in to my site in the last 14 days. I have this negative audience on my campaigns. This makes 1 conversion = 1 new user in my database. (More or less).

2. I think my accounts are linked correctly, however, I did not track my conversions with Analytics before I replaced my first conversion with the second one. I set up the new conversion and the Analytics Goal together. This happened on 10th January. Well, a bit before midnight, so 9th January. So I have data only for two days.

The point is that the numbers from today are way closer to each other. I compare new users in my database who has 'gclid' in their first url to the AdWords conversions.

I read the pages you linked. The tagging settings should be fine. I haven’t changed them recently. What would explain the difference is invalid activity on my adverts. I’m guessing this since the numbers today are much closer to each other.

My database says: 213 new users (people who signed up).
AdWords says: 201 conversions.

5% difference is fine. Some users might have signed up twice. People do weird things.

I will give more time to the new conversion and see how it works.