Google Analytics Wierdness: Part 1, Page views and visits in the drill down reports

Google Analytics is awesome, no question, but one of the things which will foil your attempts to get people to use it on campus is the wierdness which GA can throw back at you. Here’s an example.  This is the page views for the English home of Lund university in the last month. 

English webpage Lund University

So far so good. But now, if I click on the Dimension drill down, and select City, I get this:

b87qihtg5j1The page view data is showing over 72 000 views for Lund alone, which combined with the other city data quickly exceeds the page view information from our previous report. What gives? This is totally the kind of discrepancy which, understandably, confuses the hell out of someone using Google Analytics and makes you lose faith in how much you can rely on GA data to drive decisions.  The problem is that at the drill down level GA is counting all the views of pages made from the cities (in this example), and not just the views to the particular page. There’s a lively thread at the Google Analytics support forum which includes several work arounds for this problem. Basically, it seems to be a bug but you can get around it by using advanced segmentation to look at traffic to particular pages, though this could be time consuming to set up. Also, if you only have user access, rather than administrator access, then there’s nothing you can immediately do.