You’ve probably noticed that data about your website users and conversions collected by different analytics tools might vary. Most of the time, you’ll see that the purchase number in Google Analytics is lower than in your CRM. Where this data discrepancy comes from, why is it happening, and how to fix it?
The most common reason for data discrepancy are:
- Ad blockers and Intelligent Tracking Prevention.
- Errors while adding the tracking code of your analytics tools.
- Filters that may be applied to your Google Analytics property.
- Different attribution models.
In this article, we will talk about Google Analytics as the most popular analytics service and discuss the number one reason for GA data loss – ad blockers. Also, we will show you how to prevent your Google Analytics data from being blocked by ad blockers and Intelligent Tracking prevention.
Why Ad Blockers and Intelligent Tracking prevention are the most popular reasons for data discrepancy?
Lately, the functionality of ad blockers has expanded. Now, they hide ads, protect personal data, and hide user behavior from analytics tools.
AdBlock technology works based on shared lists called filter lists, which determine which content should be blocked or hidden and which content can be shown on the visited pages. These lists are lists of URLs that belong to either allowed lists or blocked lists.
Below you will find examples of the blocked list for the most popular Ad Blockers:
According to PageFair Adblock Report 2020:
- 527M people worldwide were using ad blockers for mobile browsers, a 64% increase from the last edition of the report (i. e. from December 2016).
- 236M people were blocking ads on desktop.
Another study shows that in 2020 26.5% of US citizens used Adblockers. This number grows by 1% each year starting from 2017. It means that your Google Analytics is losing around 27% of data about your website users.
What can you do to prevent your Google Analytics data from being blocked by Adblockers?
One of the best ways to prevent Google Analytics blocking is moving the GA tag to the Google Tag Manager Server container. I’m saying “best” because, with Server-Side tagging, you will have many other benefits, not only adblockers and ITP prevention.
During the last several years, most people who work with the websites were using a GTM web container. The latter is well-known and is used on a significant number of websites. The difference between server and web containers is in the loading method. The server container loads pixels from the server, and the web container loads pixels in the browser.
The main advantages of moving from the web to the server container are:
- Faster page speed
- Higher customers data security
- GDPR compliance
- Preventing AdBlockers and ITPs
We have a more in-depth article that explains what GTM server is and how it can benefit your website.
Ad blockers have several ways of blocking Google Analytics: they can either use a blacklist of the requests or block 3rd party cookies. GTM server can help in both methods of blocking. GTM server-side container gives you the ability to create a custom tagging URL. In this case, GA request will be sent from a subdomain within your primary domain.
For examples, your website domain is example.com. You can create a custom subdomain gtm.example.com and use it a tagging server URL. In this setup, Google Analytics requests are sent from your subdomain and will be considered as a first-party and won’t be blocked by AdBlockers.
Using a custom subdomain within the Google Tag Manager server container will also help you bypass Safari’s & Mozilla’s Intelligent tracking prevention algorithms. Besides, in the ITP v2.1, they started to decrease cookie lifetime. The default cookie lifetime in Google Analytics is two years, and now for browsers that use ITP algorithms, it dropped to 7 days or 24 hours. However, cookie lifetime can be increased by moving GA to a server container as well.
But let’s return to the main question – preventing your Google Analytics data from being blocked by ad blockers and ITPs. In the second version of ad blocking (using blacklists), the GTM server can also be helpful. Your subdomain is not blacklisted inside ad blockers lists. It means that tracking will not be stopped. Even if they start preventing all requests that contain GTM or analytics in them, you can create any random subdomain name for your server-side container.
Google Tag Manager Server-Side container gives many advantages and possibilities. Preventing your Google Analytics data from being blocked by ad blockers and ITPs is only one of them. That is why you should consider combining your GTM web and server tagging to gain the most benefits from this setup.
Check these blog posts if you want to implement server-side tagging for your site:
If you have any questions about setting up the GTM server container on your website, do not hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message through the website. You can also test the GTM server on your website for free using our service, with no credit card required.