How Cookie Settings Affect the Analytics.JS Tracking Script

Marketing Operations and Analytics teams may find during QA that their Analytics.js tracker is not reporting the data they expected or the data being output in CaliberMind is not matching other data sources. In this article we will cover:

  • What does a broken tracker look like
  • How the Analytics.js tracker works
  • Reasons the tracker might not work
  • What you can do about it

There are some common reasons why this may be happening and we will walk you through how to troubleshoot your data and research why there is a difference with the data in the first place

What does a broken tracker look like?

A broken tracker might look many different ways. Your reports might not be showing a lot of data based on how many customer interactions you know you had. The data that is shown in your reports might not match up with another source of truth. Maybe you run your data through Google Analytics or Google AdWords and the number of events in those doesn't equal the numbers shown in your reports.

How does an Analytics.JS tracker work?

Analytics.JS is a JavaScript code that is added to the header tag of a website. This script is useful in collecting data surrounding the customer's basic information like their geographic location, which browser they’re using, the size of the screen on which they’re viewing, and what language is their default. The tracker will also collect event data from their visit to the webpage such as which pages they loaded, how long they stayed on each page, which forms they filled out, and the names of blog links they read during their visit. The Analytics.JS tracker also stores the valuable information of UTM tracking parameters allowing the marketing team to understand what was the source, content, medium, keyword, etc. that initially caused your customer to click and be brought to the landing page.

Reasons the tracker might not report data

Increasingly browsers have implemented privacy and security features that will block JavaScript tracking cookies in the Analytics.js code from firing on a customer's computer when they visit your site. A customer might browse your website through a Virtual Private Network which will hide their IP address or make it appear as if the computer is accessing your website from a different geographic area making certain location data harder to obtain or mismatched. Customers are being offered the option to opt-out of tracking, analytics, and other performance cookies when they first load a webpage. The data that is collected will vary based on the settings the user selects, how often their browser is cleared out and their other security settings.

What you can do about it

Customers will have increasing control over the ability to secure their privacy settings, which will make collecting information about their visits more difficult. In addition, legislation is being passed such as GDPR in the European Union that has increased restrictions on the types of data that can be collected and processed on customers. The restrictions are particularly stringent if you are attempting to collect data as a third-party partner on the website Working with an analytics leader like CaliberMind can give you more control over the data you collect by installing our first-party Analytics.JS tracking script on your website. With a first-party script, you will be able to safeguard your customer's privacy to match with the GDPR guidelines as well as continue to understand how your marketing efforts are working to bring customers to your site and which pages and features they interact with when they arrive.


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