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 the CRM. Where this data discrepancy comes from, why it’s 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 – AdBlockers. We will show you how to prevent your Google Analytics data from being blocked by Adblockers and Intelligent Tracking prevention.
Why Ad Blockers and Intelligent Tracking prevention are the most popular reason of data discrepancy?
In recent years, the functionality of adblockers has expanded: now they can not only hide ads but also protect personal data and hide users behaviour from analytics tools.
Adblock technology works based on shared lists called filter lists, which determine what content to block or hide and what content to show on visited pages. These lists are a simple list 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 years 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 GA tag to 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 of the people who work with the website were using GTM web container. It’s well known and is used on the significant part of the websites. The difference between server and web containers is that server loads pixels from the server and web container loads pixels in the browser.
The main advantages of moving from 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 Google Tag Manager server container will help you to bypass Safari’s & Mozilla Intelligent tracking prevention algorithms as well. More than that, 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. 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 Adblockers/ITPs. In the second version of ad blocking (using blacklists), GTM server will help as well. Your subdomain is not blacklisted inside Adblockers lists, so tracking won’t be stopped. Even if they start to prevent all request that contains GTM or analytics in it, you can create any random subdomain name for your server-side container.
Conclusion: Google Tag Manager Server-Side container gives many advantages and possibilities. Preventing your Google Analytics data from being blocked by Adblockers and ITPs is only one of them. You should start looking at combining your GTM web and server tagging to gain the most benefits from this setup.
If you have any question about setting up GTM server container on your website, feel free 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, no credit card required.