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I am a web developer and not a marketing or analytics expert. I was asked to review a website for any possible issues with how GA tracking is working.

There was a change on the graph of the data (users, sessions etc) around the end of August.

Before that date, daily data had smaller differences between each other and the whole daily graph was a smoother curve. After that date, it seems like one day is too high, then the next day is too low. Day by day there are bigger differences in the recorded data. And this change has lasted now for 10 weeks.

The site owner can not explain, nor understand what those metrics mean. He is worried that maybe he is not getting accurate data.

The change in GA data can be seen on the attached screenshot.

Google Analytics Data

I have asked him about any possible changes on the website - close to the date when the data started displaying differently and waiting for his answers.

But in the meantime, I have started investigating and researching about this.

I am testing out the Real Time tracking with various browsers and up until now, I can see all my hits been recorded.

I didn't have much success while I was googling about this - it's hard to write a question/terms about this, that will bring absolutely relative results.

So, I thought I should post in GA community forums or in here... to see what feedback I can get about this.

My questions:

  • Could this change in data denote an anomaly?
  • How could it be explained?
  • What could be causing this?

Update

Screenshot of the Google Search Console Clicks and Impressions of the same period.

Google Search Console Data

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  • How does this compare with referral and impression data from Google Search Console for the same period? Nov 9 at 9:32
  • @StephenOstermiller: According to my interpretation, the GSC data of the same time look smoother and do not fit that well to those of the GA. I am posting a screenshot for the same period and would like to hear your own feedback.
    – FFrewin
    Nov 9 at 10:01
  • What is the scale on your graphs? Are walking a handful of visitors per day or hundreds? Nov 9 at 10:03
  • @StephenOstermiller: Hundreds
    – FFrewin
    Nov 9 at 10:10
  • Have you compared the August - October data against 2020 or other years? Is it possible that there's seasonality in the data?
    – Trebor
    Nov 9 at 23:35
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It may very well be the Page Experience/Link Spam update. You can check a nice overview of the August updates here.

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