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Why does my Google Analytics data differ from Urchin?

When running Google Analytics and Urchin side-by-side, it's not uncommon to see data discrepancies between the two. There are a few possible reasons for this:

  1. Configuration
    • Filters are not equivalent
    • Urchin is using IP+User Agent tracking method
    • Not all log files are being captured by Urchin's log sources
  2. UTM Implementation
    • May be using both versions of the code instead of just one.
    • May not be calling _userv=2 or pageTracker.setLocalRemoteServerMode() before urchinTracker() or pageTracker.trackPageview(), respectively.
  3. Technical
    • Not all log files are making it to the location in which the log sources are looking.
    • Some __utm.gif hits in webserver logs have a 404 status code.
    • Some other Urchin processing issue (or Google Analytics for that matter).
  4. Client-side
    • Users' browsers may be prevent GIF hits to one and not the other.
  5. With all that stated, it is perfectly acceptable for there to be minor discrepancies between Google Analytics and Urchin. With all the quirks that exist on the web, it's not surprising that the two are reporting differently. Also, Google Analytics has changed a good deal since Urchin was acquired, so the back-end algorithms may also be different.

    When looking at the reports from both Urchin and Google Analytics, it is more beneficial to look at trends other than hard numbers. If the two have data that differs, but the trends match, then both are most likely working just fine.

    Urchin Support by Actual Metrics