Google Analytics and Nosto

How Nosto works together with Google Analytics and what discrepancies you can expect

Dan Macarie avatar
Written by Dan Macarie
Updated over a week ago

This article introduces how to use Google Analytics with Nosto and also common and expected discrepancies with Google Analytics, but same differences might occur with other web-analytics tools as well. Topic touching SEO, read article here.

On-Site Recommendations

Nosto supports Google Analytics and other modern analytics-services without additional input.

All clicked Nosto on-site recommendations automatically include a simple and clear parameter referring to Nosto, having a value which is the clicked recommendation element. By default the structure is referrer=value. An example of a parameter and how it appears in a browser below.



This is easy to monitor and report in analytics as parameters as a part of the clicked link is a common or ‘defacto’ method how web-analytics services track clicks on site’s elements.

Triggered Emails

Similarly to on-site recommendations, traffic from external sources e.g. from Nosto emails feature distinguishable parameter referring to Nosto with medium and feature. An example of a link populated in an Order follow-up email below, followed by a glossary.

  • utm_source: Nosto

  • utm_medium: Medium

  • utm_campaign: Nosto email type

  • utm_content: Clicked element, name of the email and reference

In case custom tags are required, these can be added to all links referring to your site in a Nosto email, but you need to add this manually by editing the email template.

Email Widgets

Traffic from email widgets is tracked similarly to triggered emails, but the parameter applied for widgets is


Similarly to triggered emails, custom tags can be used, but you need to add these manually to image links in the widget which refer to your site.

Facebook Ads

Similarly to emails, Facebook ads are tagged with UTM parameters and they will appear under the “Campaigns” section in Google Analytics. However, Google can only track and report immediate clicks on ads, but not ad views across different devices which have lead to visits to your site meaning it’s normal to have a discrepancy between Google Analytics and Facebook’s analytics, which is relayed and displayed in Nosto’s admin panel under Facebook ad settings. We’ve dedicated an in-depth article addressing the topic here.

Bot Traffic From Facebook

When a new Facebook ad campaign is created, Facebook’s crawler bot reviews that links in the ads are valid and working. By default, crawler traffic from Facebook will be visible in your Google Analytics and could possibly skew traffic statistics unless it’s filtered.

When you add a filter rule on your analytics, add filter Field ISP Organization and Filter pattern facebook inc. and leave Case-sensitive unchecked. Please note that Facebook might change its crawler settings without a notice so it’s always safest to refer and review Facebook’s documentation.

Summary And How To Create Reports

As all Nosto features are pre-populated with standard tags, a web-analytics team simply needs to create a report which incorporates and reports traffic based on pre-populated tags. By default and without creating a custom report beforehand, an analytics tool should automatically track all clicks, traffic and conversions without any additional amendments hence a report can be created also retrospectively. In short, a web-analytics team simply needs to know what to look and report to you. If you have a specific need or requirement to use an analytics service, contact our support to confirm its compatibility with Nosto.

Expected Discrepancies

Google Real-Time and Discrepancy In Active Sessions

As described in Google Support pages (quoted November 2013)

“In Real-Time, a user is active if he or she has triggered an event or pageview within the past 5 minutes. Note that this is different from standard reports in which a session is defined by a 30 minute window.”

In Nosto’s dashboard a session becomes inactive after 30 minutes after the last page view. Therefore it is likely that Google’s real time tracking displays less active visitors than Nosto as Google’s session is much shorter.

Nosto Reports More Visits Than Google

Nosto’s analytics is not similar to sophisticated web analytics tools nor won’t replace the need for a good, solid analytics service that can provide a much wider overview on your visitors whereas Nosto focuses on key metrics in e-commerce.

Technically the main factor is that Nosto doesn’t use the same methods in its analytics compared to for example Google so small discrepancies in numbers is actually normal and expected. The main difference is that Nosto’s visits are not unique visitors, but visits. However, if the difference is significant, it might indicate an issue in the implementation and how Nosto collects data from your site.

An explanatory quote from Google addressing the topic.

“Different web analytics products may use a variety of methods to track visits to your website. Therefore, it is normal to see discrepancies between reports created by various products. However, we generally believe that the best way to think of metrics across different web analytics programs is to think in terms of trends, as opposed to numbers by themselves.”

In other words, if the trend data is aligned between Nosto and your web-analytics, it is likely that both services work accordingly. Discrepancies in trends and big difference in numbers might indicate an issue that should be reported to Nosto’s support.

Google Analytics reports more sales through Nosto’s emails than Nosto

This is simply due that Nosto’s sales tracking differs slightly from Google’s.

Quote from Google’s developer guide:

“By default, campaigns [such as Nosto’s email] are tracked for 6 months, so that you can determine over a 6-month period if visitors to your site convert based on a specific campaign. However, you can use this method to adjust the tracking life span for your campaigns”

Nosto’s analytics track and report sales made only during the same session. In practice, only if  a customer has clicked an email sent by Nosto and finished the session with a successful check-out, this is considered as a sales through Nosto email campaign, whilst Google tracks all visits 6 months thereafter if a store is not visited as a result of another [paid] campaign.

As a result of the logical difference between Nosto and Google Analytics, Google reports typically more orders via email campaigns than Nosto.

Google Indexes URLs with Nosto Parameters

We’ve moved the content and guide how-to fix under Nosto and SEO here.

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