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Search Engine Marketing - Google Analytics Data Sampling

Sometimes the data Google Analytics displays in their own platform does not match the data they provide third party tools like NinjaCat. When this happens it is often because Google Analytics is returning "sampled data" to the third party request instead of exact results. This article will cover what data sampling is, what NinjaCat does to try and avoid showing sampled data, and how to tell if the Google Analytics data in NinjaCat is sampled.

What is Data Sampling

Data sampling is when a small subset of the desired data is analyzed, and then used to represent the rest of the larger data set. Often the choice by Google Analytics to sample data is tied to the size or complexity of the data request. In these instances Google Analytics automatically chooses to provide sampled data and does not make any other option available. Google Analytics provides additional information in the article About Data Sampling in their help center.

What NinjaCat Does to Avoid Data Sampling

NinjaCat can detect that the results of a data request coming from Google Analytics contains sampled data. When this happens NinjaCat automatically makes several additional data requests to Google Analytics in an attempt to avoid data sampling. These additional automatic requests by NinjaCat break the total desired data set into several smaller requests (or "chunks") that are sent to Google Analytics individually and then reassembled. Despite these attempts by NinjaCat to avoid data sampling, sometimes sampled data is unavoidable.

How to Tell if Google Analytics Data is Sampled

If the Google Analytics data in NinjaCat contains sampled data, NinjaCat displays a small information icon (a circle containing a lower case "i") in the bottom right hand corner of that data widget.


When a user hovers their cursor over the information icon additional help text will appear.


  • The information icon indicating that Google Analytics has returned sampled data only appears in the NinjaCat Template Builder and Shinobi Version 2 Dashboards.



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