Google warns of weak real-time data in Universal Analytics reports

Google warns that the Google Analytics real-time report may show inaccurate data for Universal Analytics properties.

If your Google Analytics account is affected by this issue, the real-time data for your Universal Analytics properties will appear weaker than it actually is.

The only way to ensure your real-time data is accurate is to migrate to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), if you haven’t done so already.

Google posted the inaccurate data warning at the top of a Help Center article, which was spotted by Charles Farina.

The warning reads as follows:

“You may notice that real-time data is low in the real-time report for your Universal Analytics property. To get the most accurate real-time data, it is recommended that you use the real-time report in a Google Analytics property 4.”

What does this mean for my website?

Any unusual drops in your real-time stats lately can potentially be attributed to this issue affecting Universal Analytics properties.

Again, the only way to know for sure is to check the live report at a GA4 property.

Since the issue only affects Universal Analytics properties, Google is unlikely to make fixing it a priority.

Google is dropping support for Universal Analytics properties on July 1, 2023, when GA4 will become the new standard.

Perhaps GA4 adoption will be accelerated by the loss of accurate real-time data reporting, which can be a major inconvenience for many people.

Is the data lost?

Missing data in the real-time report does not disappear for good.

Although hits were not tracked in the real-time report, they were still recorded and attributed correctly in other reports.

The real-time report allows you to monitor activity on your site in real time. Data is reported in seconds, which means it is constantly changing.

There are specific use cases where the report is a must.

You can see, for example, how an article performed after it was shared on Twitter for the first time.

Or you can see if a limited time promotion is driving traffic to your site as expected.

That’s how it should work, anyway.

With Universal Analytics properties in their current state, your real-time report data might now be artificially low.

However, if real-time data is not important to you, this issue will not affect your use of Google Analytics.

If you rely on this report to monitor website performance throughout the day and you haven’t yet migrated to GA4, now is a good time to think about it.

Source: Analytics Help

Featured Image: DC Studio/Shutterstock

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