Feeds

Google squashes Google Analytics bug

Traffic report snafu nipped in bud

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

Google has released a fix for Google Analytics that corrects a traffic reporting bug introduced by an update to the service last week.

On August 11, Google changed the way Analytics calculates user sessions on websites. But the change also added a bug that misrepresented traffic in some situations.

Since the update arrived, UK-based webmaster Neil Mordecai noticed that his site was vastly under-reporting the number of new users and over-reporting the number of returning users. "Google Analytics have released a buggy version of their system. Since last week...they've been counting on two hands," he told The Register on Wednesday.

"Before the 11th August 'first visit' traffic was typically 80% of the total traffic with 'same day returns' being less 10% - this pattern extends long into the past. After 11 August, 'first visit' traffic dropped well below 50% and 'same day returns' rose to well over 50%."

When we contacted Google about the apparent bug, a company spokeswoman said she would look into the matter, and later in the day, Google updated the blog that announced last week's change, saying that it had found and fixed a bug in the update. The fix, Google said, was issued on Tuesday.

After the blog post was updated, the company spokeswoman alerted us to the update, and she later reiterated that Google engineers were aware of the bug before we notified the company.

Google's description of the bug is similar to what Mordecai observed. The company indicated that in some cases, Analytics was incorrectly reporting fewer visits from new users and more visits from returning visitors on sites using multiple trackers, which it said was an unsupported configuration. The company also pointed to a traffic reporting error that occurred in certain other situations. The details are here.

The original Analytics update is still in place. In essence, Analytics now decides a user session is over when any traffic source value for the user changes. Previously, user sessions ended only when more than 30 minutes elapsed between a user's pageviews, the day ended, or the user closed his browser. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.