Browser Insights vs. Google Analytics: who's right?

We’ve recently flipped on Browser Insights, but have spotted what seems to be a major discrepancy in the proportion of traffic by “country” reported by Cloudflare vs. that of Google Analytics.

Here’s what Cloudflare shows for a specific URL in a specific time frame (URLs hidden):

…and here’s what Google Analytics shows for the same time frame and URL:

I’m ignoring the difference in magnitude of the numbers, since Cloudflare is presumably sampling traffic while Google Analytics is trying to track all of it. However, it’s concerning that Cloudflare shows Ireland and India as our top sources of traffic to this URL, while Google Analytics clearly shows USA dominating, and India and Ireland not even in the top 10.

The best explanation we’ve come up with is that Cloudflare is tracking this information server-side (and therefore doesn’t need JS execution like Google does to track it), and that we’re seeing a bunch of bot traffic or something to this page. However, that seems unlikely to us, since this is a new landing page specific to a paid media campaign in Facebook, and therefore shouldn’t be circulating around the web or in our sitemap and thus easily “discoverable” by a crawler.

I should also note that we’ve played with the time periods, and while the traffic does shift a bit over the surrounding days, no matter which time frames you select, you always see India and Ireland vastly overstated in Cloudflare compared to the numbers in Google Analytics. So, I don’t think this is something subtle like a local vs. UTC timezone issue in the reporting tools.

We’re stumped. Any ideas for how to square these two reports?

I think your best explanation is spot-on, https://support.cloudflare.com/hc/en-us/articles/200172616-Using-Cloudflare-with-Google-Analytics

Except Browser Insights is client-side, so it should line up better with Google Analytics. This seems super far off to me.

1 Like

I don’t think this explanation is correct. The support page says literally says that Browser Insights rely on JavaScript and browser reporting, not server-side monitoring:

When Cloudflare proxies your site and the Browser Insights feature is enabled, Cloudflare writes and injects a piece of JavaScript code (also known as a beacon ) into your web pages that collects certain pieces of information. More specifically, this beacon collects metrics using the web Performance API, which is available in all major web browsers.


The only thing that I can think of with your odd reports is that perhaps the various ad blockers do block https://www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js, but don’t (yet) block the script that Cloudflare uses (https://static.cloudflareinsights.com/beacon.min.js). But this is a guess at best.