Isolating an Error to a Specific Browser Version

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Goal 1 Completion Rate for visitors using Firefox 16 was 92.69% lower than the site average.

Here’s a tip relating to a Javascript error that was occurring in the browser and therefore not detectable as an error page redirect originating on the server, which was discussed in a post earlier this week.

As admin for the Google Analytics Test project, I received detailed and very helpful email yesterday from a participant stating that he was encountering an error on the setup page of the site while using Firefox 16 as his browser.

Once I duplicated this error in my own installation of Firefox 16, I logged into GA, drilled down to Firefox 16 in the Browser & OS report, and saw that the Conversion Rate for Goal 1 (beginning the test) was only 2.90% for the previous week. Goal 1 Conversion Rates for earlier versions of Firefox, and for other browsers, were much closer to the site average of 39.64%.

I also saw the number Firefox 16 visitors likely impacted by this error in the previous week: 69.

Fortunately, the outstanding Firefox maintenance team at Mozilla was able to provide a quick fix for (The problem: incompatibility of Firefox 16 with an old version of jQuery that I was still running.) And thanks to Google Analytics, and to the participant’s email, I had been able to isolate the error to a specific browser version and to determine how many visitors had been affected.

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Review Your Error Pages in the Navigation Summary

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Navigation Summary indicates entrance percentages, previous pages, and exit percentages for your error pages.

Worthwhile data to review in the Navigation Summary for your website’s error pages :

  • Entrance Percentage – if many of the pageviews were entrances from external sources, you might need put a 301 redirect in place to avoid the error.
  • Previous Pages – since these pages are within your own site, you should be able to fix the requests. Also, if your error page URL don’t indicate the page that was requested, bad requests on your own pages can help you determine the entrance errors.
  • Exit Percentage – how many people are abandoning your site after the error? This can indicate the extent of the damage.

Keep in mind that the default Web server error pages do not contain the Google Analytics tracking code (GATC), so make sure that you have specified one or more custom error pages in your Web server configuration and that these pages do contain the GATC.

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