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Receiving hits without dimensions

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi, we're having a weird issue with analytics reports. We implemented some custom dimensions in our platform that track article properties (e.g. Author, Category, etc.)

 

Everything seems to work but we found that for some pages hits are reported without any dimension.

 

Here is an example of that: I chose an appropriate timeframe and used a url filter to identify a single article, without secondary dimension I can see that the article received 97 hits in the given timeframe

 

Schermata 2016-08-24 alle 14.50.28.png

 

If I choose a custom dimension (set by us) as secondary dimension all hits will disappear from the table

 

Schermata 2016-08-24 alle 14.53.37.png

 

Initially I thought that was an issue with our code that prevent secondary dimensions to be recorded in the hit sent to GA, but I inspected the code using the GA debug plugin and I saw that the dimensions are correctly sent to GA. Also I found out that no additional dimension can be used as secondary dimension in that report. If I try to show any of the builtin dimensions (e.g. Browser, Language, Country and so on) I get the same result:

 

Schermata 2016-08-24 alle 14.59.55.png

 

Another strange thing I noticed is that if I change the timeframe this result will vary. Previous screen was took with Apr 1 - Aug 24 timeframe. If I change it to a different timeframe, e.g. Apr 1 - Jun 30 I get some results for builtin dimensions as in this screen

 

Schermata 2016-08-24 alle 15.02.07.png

But still don't getting any result for custom dimensions. Also it's strange that I get 120 hits with Chrome and none using other browsers while total hits with no secondary dimensions are 97. The same thing happen with any other builtin dimension (language, city, country, screen resolution), with that timeframe I always get a single row with 120 hits and a single value (es-us,Monterrey, Mexico, 600x976) and same values for Pageviews, Unique Pageviews and all the other metrics.

 

Is this an analytics bug? What can I do to understand why is this happening?

 

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Receiving hits without dimensions

Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star
This could be due to the sampling data that GA selects to produce your report. As you add secondary dimensions it fetches a new set of data and based upon your primary and secondary dimension in the data that it selects it may not have enough data to report back with a fair set of sampled data so your numbers show zero or much lower than expected. see this article on data sampling https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2637192?hl=en&utm_id=ad in particular read the section titled "Implications for filtered views and segments"

Re: Receiving hits without dimensions

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
So I assume this weird behavior is entirely due to how sampling works.

I tried to run the report after adjust the sampling rate by moving slider to higher precision and in that case I get some results for my custom dimensions. However these results are still inaccurate.

Is there any way, maybe using Analytics api, to get exact results for this kind of queries?

Re: Receiving hits without dimensions

Rising Star
# 4
Rising Star
I use an excel plugin called Analtics Edge to pull data back into my spreadsheets and rarely do I ever have to visit the Google Reporting UI anymore I find the plugin pulls data back and gives me better results than login and exporting ever did. You might want to try something along those lines and see if you get better results.