As many of you have likely heard from forums and social media, Google Analytics processing was not working, and there was a gap in timely reporting of data in Google Analytics on December 16-17, 2019. Some were concerned that traffic had declined due to a search algorithm change. Search Engine Roundtable was one site that correctly clarified this was not the case and that there definitely was a GA data processing problem.
The data processing problem has been fixed and data reporting has returned to normal. However, historical data has to be reprocessed, and as stated on the Google Apps Status Dashboard, this will take several weeks. Directly from the dashboard incident log entry, Google says:
. . . We have revised our estimated reprocessing timelines for Dec 16-17 data to be ~2 weeks for 360 accounts and ~3 weeks for standard accounts . . .
Until data reprocessing is complete, clearly all report trends will be inaccurate. However, be wary that while data reprocessing is occurring, the following will also definitely change:
- Week over week comparisons – be careful interpreting automated reports
- Multi-channel reports – rely on a lookback window
- Data exports – for example, to BigQuery or any automated exports to Sheets, will also have been affected
The original duration for reprocessing was 3-5 days for 360 accounts and 8 days for Standard. However, now that the time has expanded, reprocessing will span year end. So your month-over-month and year-over-year comparisons may also shift slightly over the first few days in January.
Data collected using the App+Web method was not affected by this outage. What was affected was all data collected using web tagging, measurement protocol, SDK and event data import methods for 14 hours, from 09h00 to 23h00 US Pacific (GMT-8) time on December 16.
Google says that reprocessing will use the “current snapshot of the account” (i.e. filters, data import configurations, etc), which we interpret to mean the Google Analytics configuration active at time of reprocessing, not the configuration on December 16-17. Keep this in mind if you have made any configuration changes in Google Analytics since the outage.
Be careful if you go searching for updates about this situation yourself — make sure you are looking at the correct status dashboard. There’s an old, inaccurate dashboard still active:
- Search for Google Apps Dashboard, not Google Analytics Status Dashboard.
This is the correct Dashboard. Scroll down below the fold until you reach Google Analytics.
- Unfortunately, the old Google Analytics Status Dashboard is still active and incrementing dates, but does NOT show an outage. This is NOT the correct Dashboard, which is showing “no issues” for Dec. 16-17. Fake news!
If you’re observed any additional issues beyond what’s described, please do comment below.
Status Update from Google on January 3, 2020:
- Google has advised that reprocessing for Dec 16 -18 Google Analytics data was completed as of January 3, 2020, except Multi-Channel Funnel (MCF) data. Given the extended lookback windows on MCF data, Google estimates that MCF reprocessing to be completed by end of February.
- Data has been successfully reprocessed and re-exported for all Analytics 360 Clients with BigQuery export.
- Anyone who is using the beta feature “Data in Attribution” should be wary of usage that spans the Dec 16-17 period as Google will not be reprocessing this data.
- Google has advised that some data was not de-duplicated during reprocessing, resulting in transactions showing inflated numbers after reprocessing. Steps have been taken to correct this problem.
- Estimated completion of Multi-Channel Funnel (MCF) reprocessing is mid-February for GA Standard (free) accounts and mid-March for 360 accounts.
- Big Query data will be re-exported once reprocessing is completed.
- Google has advised that reprocessing for GA 360 accounts has been completed and Big Query data has been re-exported
- Multi-Channel Fullel (MCF) reprocessing has been completed for Google Analytics Standard (free) accounts
- MCF reprocessing for GA 360 accounts completion is expected by mid-March