Troubleshoot Spikes/Drops and Missing Traffic Data










As your site collects data, there are many external factors that can drastically affect data collection or reporting. The following is a list of potential explanations as to why certain variables or overall traffic dramatically increases or decreases.

Traffic drops

To troubleshoot dramatic decreases in traffic, place each into two categories: zero data or partial data.

Potential causes of completely missing data (reporting zeros)


Implementation removal: Sometimes when an organization makes implementation changes or even a site restructure, reimplementing code is overlooked. Working with your developers in reimplementing the code on your site is recommended to resume data collection.

Report Suite Latency: Occasionally, a report suite can experience latency due to a number of factors. Many latency issues are resolved within hours. If you are concerned with a specific report suite, one of your organization's supported users can contact Customer Care with the affected report suite ID. The Adobe representative then validates the latency and keeps you informed as the issue improves and is resolved.

Analytics interface/caching issue: On rare occasions, a browser's cache contains invalid data that makes all reports return zeros. Clearing the browser's cookies and cache resolves the issue (Instructions on clearing cookies in Internet ExplorerFirefoxChrome, and Safari). If clearing your cookies/cache does not work, contact Customer Care with the missing report and date range; they can duplicate the issue and provide additional information.


Potential causes of partially missing data or decreased traffic


It is not possible for Adobe Analytics to process only some data; everything that was sent to the Adobe Marketing Cloud servers is shown in reporting. Other factors, however, can play a part in partial data:

Implementation changes: Use the debugger to ensure that the variables you are looking for fire successfully.

Decreased referring traffic: If one of your banner ads or hyperlinks implemented on another site is removed, it can cause a dramatic decrease in traffic. The best way to determine this decrease is to run a Referring Domains report. Trend the report from before and after the drop.

Site Performance issues: Incorrect distribution of traffic via load balancers or server issues hosting your site can contribute to a decrease in Analytics reporting. Work with the team within your organization that manages the integrity and health of your site to investigate any potential performance issues.

Changes in natural search ranking: Traffic can potentially be decreased if another site ousts your natural search ranking for some of your keywords. This decrease can be especially evident if your site is no longer on the first page of search results. Running a trended search keywords report can determine if so or not.

Changes in PPC advertising: Changing ad titles and descriptions for existing campaigns can affect your Quality Score. In general, a high Quality Score means that your keyword triggers ads in a higher position and at a lower cost per click. Viewing a trended Search Keywords - Paid report helps show if this change is causing a drop in traffic.


Traffic spikes

To troubleshoot dramatic increases in traffic, each can be placed into two categories: near double data or other causes.

Potential causes of having near or exactly double the expected data


Multiple images requests within implementation: If your implementation contains more than one s.t() function per page, it effectively doubles all data collected. Using the debugger on your site and watching for multiple image requests can catch any duplicates.

Duplicate data source files uploaded: If your organization uses Data Sources, a user within your organization can upload the same file twice into Adobe Analytics. Performing this duplicate upload effectively doubles that data in reporting, causing the traffic spike.


Other potential causes of increased traffic


Spiders or bots: If you see large sudden increase in traffic, the first thing to look for is the possibility of a spider or bot. Identifying bots can sometimes be tricky, as each have their own way of executing code on your site. Commonly users request a data warehouse report using IP as a breakdown to see which addresses are causing the most traffic. The user can then use either Bot Rules or a VISTA rule to eliminate bot traffic from future reporting.

Launched campaigns: Marketing efforts such as email campaigns or search engine optimization can potentially cause a traffic spike on your site. Looking at a trended campaigns report can help determine this being the cause. It can also help to contact your marketing team to ensure that the spike was intentional.

Environmental or circumstantial causes: If a holiday or circumstantial event occurred (a significant event where your site is a known resource, or residual marketing efforts of other organizations), traffic can definitely increase on your site. Troubleshooting the exact cause is difficult, as there are a near unlimited number of circumstantial reasons why traffic can increase. These causes however are some of the most important to determine so your organization can take advantage of them and make business decisions accordingly. Running a trended pages or referrers report is most likely the best place to start in determining the source of the traffic.

If none of the above reasons are potential causes of increased or decreased traffic on your site, have one of your organization's supported users contact Customer Care. They can provide assistance in locating the source of the traffic spike or drop. When creating the incident, providing the following greatly helps decrease troubleshooting and response time:

  • Instructions on how to re-create the specific report that clearly illustrates the spike or drop
  • Which troubleshooting steps in this article you have already tried and which are not applicable to your organization


Missing Data in Traffic Sources Report

The most common reason traffic sources reports don't populate data is that the Internal URL Filter List isn't defined. To check which Internal URL Filters have been set up on a report suite, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to Admin > Report Suites.
  2. Select the report suite from the list of available suites.
  3. Go to Edit Settings > General > Internal URL Filters.
  4. Remove the rule listing a period (.) as a filter, and add your own site.

The reason why a period is the default internal URL filter is to allow data to be collected in the Pages report. If hits do not match internal URL filters, all pages come up as Other. A period is always somewhere in the URL, which guarantees the Pages report is populated.