Demographics & Interest Reports not working in Google Analytics? Here’s what you need to know.
Google Analytics is a very powerful tool. To recognize and begin to utilize its full potential, accurate support pages are a must-have. Recently, I encountered a problem while trying to enable the Demographics and Interest Reports feature in Google Analytics. I read through the support pages, did what it said (looking back now I know why it seemed so weird) and thought that was all it took. Come to find out, I was missing one key factor.
I can’t imagine the amount of time it takes Google to update their support pages for every new feature or update the internet giant rolls out. Nonetheless, it’s a lot of content and there’s a chance that something may have been missed. After what felt like days of reading through these pages, I was still left with the question of why the Demographics and Interest Reports wouldn’t work. The next day I unintentionally stumbled across the answer while setting up a second analytics account. If you’ve had trouble with the Demographics and Interest Reports not working in Google Analytics, read on.
Currently, the Demographics and Interest Reporting is ONLY available with the Classic Google Analytics tracking method. At the time, I was actively using the beta Universal version. If you are using the Universal option and enable the reports, it tells you the data can’t be shown and doesn’t explain why. Apparently, these reports and many more, are coming soon to Universal Analytics.
Enabling Demographics & Interest Reports when you create your Classic Analytics Account
If you’re setting up Google Analytics for the first time and want the Demographics and Interest tracking enabled, you can set it up from the beginning. There’s an option on the Property Settings page after you type in the name of your website and URL that says Enable Demographics and Interest Reports. You guessed it, turn it on! The tracking code automatically updates to reflect the change. Copy and paste the tracking code into every page you want tracked. Head to your dashboard, click Audience>Demographics>Overview and Validate the tracking code (see screenshot below). If that doesn’t seem to do anything, you can Skip Validation. That’s what I did and everything started working within 24 hours.
Enabling Demographics & Interest Reports AFTER the Classic Analytics setup.
If you have already been using Classic Analytics and want to enable these reports, you’ll have to edit one line of your current tracking code. Again, this code change is only allowed within the Classic Google Analytics option, not the beta version.
You’ll need to change this line of code:
ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘.google-analytics.com/ga.js’;
To look like this:
ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://’ : ‘http://’) + ‘stats.g.doubleclick.net/dc.js’;
You can view Google’s full support page here.
The last step is to validate the tracking code. Once you’re logged in, click Audience>Overview>Validate Tracking Code. If nothing seems to happen, click Skip Validation. I skipped it here too and the data began showing within 24 hours.
Enabling Demographics & Interest Reports for Beta Universal Users
The easiest way is to create a second Analytics Property for the same website. Make sure to choose the Classic Analytics version then add the tracking code to your website. Both Analytics will be running at the same time collecting (almost) the same data, but at least you’ll be able to collect the Demographics and Interest Reports.
Questions or comments? Email me directly at [email protected].