Delay on ga:visitors Metric?

Jun 8, 2012 at 7:52 AM

We're trying to use the tool to automate includion of visitor metrics in our core reporting.  When we download data for the prior day, all metrics agree with the GA website except for the ga:visitors metric.  This seems to mirror the ga:newVisits metric and is then updated much later in the day - at least eight hours later but maybe more.

Are there any known issues with lag on this metric?

Jun 12, 2012 at 4:21 PM

I don't know about a delay specifically for this metric, but GA has a general note that metrics may not be up to date for up to 2 days after they happen.  We've generally noticed no changes after the first day, but that may not be the case for bigger sites.

http://support.google.com/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1070983&topic=1009620&ctx=topic

What I have noticed about the Visitors metric specifically (which is displayed as Unique Visitors on the GA home page) is that it is a unique count of some attribute to which we do not have access to through and GA tools.  This means that this metric does not aggregate properly i.e., if you sum this metric across a different set of dimensions, the total will not necessarily be the same.  So, if you wish to see the unique visits by day and hour and extract the data at this grain, the total of all visits for one day will not be the same as if you extract the same data, but with only date as a dimension.  This is particularly troublesome as it means that you can't drill up or down on this metric and still get accurate results - it is only accurate at the most granular level at which the data was extracted.

Either way, this is not a problem with the GASource task, but a fundamental property of this metric in GA.

I hope this helps,

Matt