Google Analytics missing demographics reports data


Data drop in Age and Gender reports

Imagine: you decide to have a look at the reports in Google Analytics that you usually never look at. Indeed, you are mostly interested in website users and sessions, from which channels they arrive at your website and how many conversions and transactions they generate. Other reports are not that relevant to you, but out of curiosity you start going over these reports for once. You open the Age report under Demographics and… According to the graph it seems as if a month’s worth of data is missing! Hell breaks loose: Why is the data missing here? What is wrong? Has there been an issue with your website tracking?

It’s not strange if you’re not keeping an eye out for all Google Analytics reports. In the end, not all information in Google Analytics reports is useful to you. Rest assured, I can confirm that there’s nothing off with your Google Analytics tracking!

To be specific, it’s very possible to observe a very noticeable drop in data in the Age and Gender reports under Demographics between December 18th 2019 and January 9th 2020. The drop is clearly recognizable when you are looking at the graph and set the date range to December 1st 2019 and January 31st 2020. There is a steep decline on December 18th 2019 from where the graph remains close to the 0 mark until January 9th 2020. From here the graph recovers to a level you would expect.

What happened?

But still, what’s the cause of this? On December 16th, Google Analytics’ website tracking was suffering from a bug. At the time many users complained about missing data on users, sessions and other metrics in reports. Google succeeded in overcoming the bug and backfilling all missing data, except for demographics. The tracking of demographic data remained incomplete until January 9th 2020. We contacted Google to ask if they could still backfill all missing demographic data to their reports, but unfortunately they are unable to.

So, have a sigh of relief if you were ready to contact web development to have a word with them about the dysfunctioning tracking they set up for you. It was only a bad dream with slight consequences. Please, be aware your demographic reports contain missing data in the mentioned date range while interpreting or analyzing. All other reports should not be affected and contain whole data. From January 9th onwards the tracking of demographic data is working as before.

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Jim van der Zalm

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