Google has responded to the complaints around Google Analytics’s real time reporting being off and inaccurate within Universal Analytics 3, saying they won’t be fully fixing the issue. Google has responded to the issue tracker thread saying that the engineering team has “not been able to fully eliminate the issue.” Google added that the company is “no longer seeking to resolve this issue.”
What is the issue. Many site owners love looking at real time analytics, specifically in Universal Analytics, because it tells them what is trending on their web sites right now. GA4’s real time analytics shows you the past 30 minutes or so, while Universal Analytics is within minutes, not 30 minutes. Earlier this month, site owners have noticed that the real time analytics in Universal Analytics, aka Google Analytics 3, has been off or lagged. Google confirmed the issue but has not been able to fully resolve the issue.
Google’s resolution. Google posted a “resolution” but that resolution is not a fix, it is just saying Google has given up on fixing the issue. Here is what Google wrote:
As you have indicated that you were experiencing an issue with realtime reporting in your Classic Analytics property. Our Product and Engineering team has extensively investigated this issue to find the root cause, but after making a few improvements to the report we have not been able to fully eliminate the issue.
Knowing that this issue is temporary and that ‘Google Analytics 4’ (GA4) properties have an improved Realtime report that does not suffer from this issue, we’re no longer seeking to resolve this issue. We recommend waiting a few minutes to see accurate numbers in UA Realtime reports, or we invite you to consider implementing an GA4 property alongside your existing Universal Analytics property to access our next generation of Real-time reporting (help center: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9744165?hl=en&ref_topic=9143232).
We understand that this may be frustrating to hear after so many months of waiting, but please know that we exhausted all options before coming to this conclusion. Unfortunately we will not be able to help troubleshoot the Realtime inflation/deflation further.
What to do. Google says either (1) wait “a few minutes to see accurate numbers in UA Realtime reports” to see if they load properly or (2) implement GA4 for that real time analytics. Both don’t seem like a good solution but with Google to sunset UA3 for GA4, it doesn’t seem likely Google will resolve the UA3 issues.
Why we care. If you notice your that your real time analytics data is off in Universal Analytics, you are not alone and Google likely won’t be fixing this ever. So you need to adapt and understand that what you are seeing (or not seeing) in UA3 real time analytics is not fully real time or accurate. Communicate this to your clients so they are aware as well.