Google Analytics Still “Waiting For Data”?

May 30, 2007 by  
Filed under Website Analytics

Ok, so I’ve seen it a number of times now in the forums, and I thought I’d put the issue to rest regarding the infamous Google Analytics “Waiting for Data” message going on seemingly forever.

First let me say that is is not the “Simple Google Analytics” contribution’s fault (found in the Zen Cart downloads section).

If you are getting the “Waiting for Data” message, then you can rest assured, you have properly installed the module. The “Waiting for Data” message appears only after Google has validated the insertion of your JavaScript code snippet (occurring after you click the “Check Status” hyperlink they provide).

So, then why do you still have “Waiting for Data” on your screen? Well, first understand that Google Analytics is / was “Urchin” before Google stepped in and purchased them. In case you aren’t familiar with Urchin, it is / was a web analytics system that required you to pay to use (up to $200 a month in some cases).

The stats are now free as long as you have a Google Account. Now, let me also point out that Google Analytics only updates itself every couple hours (it is not “real time reporting” – not yet).

So that brings me to the “Waiting for Data” message looking “stuck”. The answer is, it simply takes time, and the problem (if you even want to call it that) is on Google’s end (funny hugh?) Go to Google, ask them, and they’ll tell you a whole host of reasons why it is not showing (none of which seem to help). In the end, it just takes time and patience.

At the end of this post I’ll provide some helpful information on this topic that I found while researching the Internet. Before that though, let me tell you that the longest I have had to wait to get the “Receiving Data” message from Google Analytics is about 2 days (yes, a full 48 hours).

Here is my screenshot of the initial message after successful “verification” by Google.

Google Analytics Waiting for Data

And here is the message 48 hours later (without ever touching it from the first install).

Googel Analytics Receiving Data

Here is what others have reported across the Internet with regard to this issue (so you don’t think you are the only one).

  • “Have u looked at your reports to see if its showing any data? i have one site at the moment which says ‘waiting for data’ but it is actually recording all my visits so I’m not too worried about it”
  • ” I experienced a similar issue. I’ve had sites take a week or longer before the analytics said they were receiving data. However, the reports were updating and displaying data from day one.My feelings are that it has to do with the amount of traffic the site(s) you are measuring receives. The less traffic that the site receives, the longer it takes.Even with minimal traffic, it usually doesn’t take more than a week or two before it claims to be receiving data. “
  • “That could very well be right. one site i have had online for about 3 weeks now is still saying ‘waiting for data’ and it has not even had 10 visits. one i added 4 days ago has had probably around 50 visits and is showing as ‘receiving data’. “
  • “In regards to some of your comments I checked the actual data and nothing was being reported. I then reported this to Google and they investigated the issue and there seemed to be something wrong on their side. The next day I started seeing data but I still had the waiting for data message. It took a couple of weeks before the message finally went away.”

So, hopefully this sets the record straight. The moral of the story is, “There seems to be no definite time frame or cause for the length of time the ‘Waiting for Data’ message likes to show itself”.

Have you had a similar experience with Google Analytics? Got some other information on the topic? I’d like to hear from you. Post a comment below.


Zen Cart Recurring Billing Module

***Update 7/7/2010***

The ALPHA version of this module is set for official release within the coming days / week. Just a few loose ends to tie up. The current version is pre-integrated with the following payment gateway: If there are any additional payment modules that are not on the list please let us know and we’ll look at adding them.

The initial payment modules were determined based on past feedback from interested parties and also based on the most popular processing systems in place (not to mention those that allow the processing of recurring billing transactions — not all do.)

Those on the list (see the form below in this post) will be notified via email as well as here when the package is available for sale. This is a commercial module and will come with support via forums.

***Update 2/24/2010***

Ok, so many requests for this and new abilities through a few gateways means that we’re back in development with this. We’re working hard to get a “plug and play” type module together for complete and seamless two-way recurring billing for zen cart. By two-way I mean all recurring orders show in zen cart admin each time they are billed.

Some of the mods out there currently enable recurring payments but the problem is that it is all “one way communication”. The cart sends the information to the payment processor but subsequent recurring transactions are never reported back to zen cart (so you have no good management system for them.)

Again, working hard to get a commercial mod out and hope to have an initial release ready for purchase soon. Will post a link to that here when ready.

If you want to get on the list to be notified when this is ready you can use the form below and I’ll send you an email when it is ready:

I have been working on a recurring billing module and follow-up system for Zen Cart. The initial tests are going well. Since there are so many users looking for this type of feature in Zen Cart, I wanted to dedicate a single category to it on this site as well.

Although the current module is basically “complete” (but is being tested extensively before any type of release to the general public) I welcome your comments and suggestions on what your ideal recurring billing module would have.

Tell me what payment gateways you are looking to integrate with and if they are not already included, I’ll work to get them in there.

The Zen Cart Recurring Billing category will be the place I will post updates to the progress of the module. I hope those interested will join in posting comments as well. Without your input, I don’t know what you are looking for on your “Wish List” and it if I don’t know what you are looking for, how can I add it! 🙂

While you’re at it, make sure you subscribe to my rss feed here to keep up-to-date on my postings.

All Web Site Traffic is NOT Created Equal

Ya know, It’s hard to comprehend I know, but would you believe people still talk in “Hits”? Recently I read the following from an e-commerce store owner (and this seems to be a common “theme” among may other online store owners as well):

I have a site that is getting hits but no sales. Visitors come and look around at the products but don’t buy. I know the site is probably slow for dial up visitors but there must be another problem. I have good prices with some items on sale. I believe the SSL is set correct. Anyone see any glaring problems? Can it be that PayPal is the credit card processor? Any comments would be appreciated.

Let me set the record straight. “Hits”, well ah, that term went out with the dinosaurs, and should, for analysis purposes, never be looked at. Read on to see what a “hit” really is and what number you should be looking at to accurately determine the REAL number of visitors you are getting. A “hit” is not it.

I’m going to approach this one from a different perspective (non technology related, and more “marketing / customer focus” related). Technology is important, but it is only one part of the whole puzzle. It’s the foundation that everything else builds on. It’s the whole “Customer Experience” from beginning to end (from the moment they first come in contact with you until the moment they either buy or leave) that you should be concerned with. If you haven’t read my post on Customer Experience, you should.

Now, A few comments:

1. All traffic is NOT created equal. There is “Traffic” and there is “QUALIFIED Traffic”. Do you know if your visitors are QUALIFIED already? If not, you can’t appropriately say they “should buy”, and you can’t make proper adjustments to your site until you know that.

As a sample illustration, let’s say you have a brick and mortar store you sell from on a “busy street”. You get a lot of “visitors” walking buy the store, BUT, a “Window shopper” is less qualified to buy, and probably will not. However, a person that actually walks into the brick and mortar store is more qualified and therefore more likely to buy from you. Make sense? It’s no different on the Internet.

You have to determine who is qualified and who is not (the difference on the internet is that just because a visitor “comes to your site” doesn’t mean they are qualified). You have to begin to qualify them from the first moment they come in contact with you. This could be through Organic SEO, Paid Search (PPC), or any number of other advertising means. It is also achieved through proper tracking and analysis.

2. “Hits” is the wrong number to be looking at. This is a term that went out with the dinosaurs. You should be looking at “UNIQUE Visitors” to get a real idea of how many visitors your site is receiving. To loosely define a “hit”; a “Hit” occurs when a visitor requests information (any information) from your site / server. Even a BOT can create a “hit”.

A “hit” works like this:

Let’s say you have (for simplicity sake) a single web page that has 10 pictures on it (and nothing else at all). If I come to your web site, and look at that page, you will see 10 “hits” (although I am only 1 unique visitor). If another visitor comes to the site, you’ll see 10 mores hits (but you have only got 2 REAL unique visitors).

So, my question is … what is the TRUE number of visitors your site is getting now that you know what a “hit” is? Look at UNIQUE Visitors to get the true figure.
3. You could have everything in place and the site could look super, however, if the traffic you are getting is not qualified, you still will not see any sales. It’s that simple. This is the same for any site even up to the big e-commerce sites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc… The basic principles of “e-commerce Best Practices” are the same.

4. As for the PayPal piece, read my posts on that topic for more information on how to utilize PayPal as a payment solution and still recover potential lost sales from your store.

4 Layers of  a web siteThe “guts” of your online store is the “technology” piece of your “Customer Experience” puzzle. However, you need to look at the other 3 pieces of the puzzle as well. “Website Design”, “Website Usability”, and “Customer Influence”.

Unless all 4 pieces of the puzzle are addressed, and traffic is qualified, your sales will always be “less than what they can be”.

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