Google warns the Real-Time report in Google Analytics may be displaying inaccurate data for Universal Analytics properties.
If your Google Analytics account is impacted by this issue, realtime data for your Universal Analytics properties will appear lower than it actually is.
The only way to be sure your realtime data is accurate is to migrate to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), if you haven’t already.
Google published the warning about inaccurate data at the top of a Help Center article, which was spotted by Charles Farina.
Google has added a warning for the real-time analytics reports in Universal Analytics. There are ongoing issues, which cause them to be unreliable.
You'll need to use GA4 if you need real-time analytics: https://t.co/QjGugvxkxr pic.twitter.com/Oidwt786wk
— Charles Farina (@CharlesFarina) April 14, 2022
The warning reads:
“You may notice low realtime data in the Real-Time report in your Universal Analytics property. To get the most accurate realtime data, it’s recommended that you use the Realtime report in a Google Analytics 4 property.”
What Does This Mean For My Website?
Any unusual drops in your realtime metrics as of late can potentially be attributed to this issue affecting Universal Analytics properties.
Again, the only way to know for sure is to check the realtime report in a GA4 property.
Since the issue affects Universal Analytics properties only, it’s unlikely Google will make fixing it a priority.
Google is dropping support for Universal Analytics properties on July 1, 2023, , at which time GA4 is going to be the new standard.
Perhaps the adoption of GA4 will be accelerated by the loss of accurate realtime data reporting, which can be a major inconvenience to a lot of people.
Is The Data Lost?
The data missing from the real-time report isn’t gone for good.
Although the hits weren’t 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 as it happens. Data is reported in seconds, which means it’s constantly changing.
There are specific use cases where the report is indispensable.
You can see, for example, how well an article is doing after being shared on Twitter for the first time.
Or you can see whether a limited time promotion is driving traffic to your site as intended.
That’s how it’s supposed to work, anyway.
With Universal Analytics properties in their current state, data is your Real-Time report could now be artificially low.
However, if realtime data isn’t important to you, then this issue won’t disrupt your use of Google Analytics.
If you rely on this report to monitor website performance throughout the day, and haven’t yet migrated to GA4, now is a good time to consider it.
Source: Google Analytics Help
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