Compare sum of line items to report total

Many reports in Adobe Analytics show individual line items with their totals at the bottom. Users sometimes sum the individual line items in attempt to validate their data by comparing it with the total of the report. Adobe does not recommend that you use this method, as there are several factors that contribute to their differences.

Comparison between metrics

Sum of line items higher than total: Expect this outcome to occur commonly. For example, if a user purchases five products in a single order, you see a report similar to the following:

Products Orders
1. Product A 1
2. Product B 1
3. Product C 1
4. Product D 1
5. Product E 1
Total 1

The number of orders are correctly attributed to each product, however the total is deduplicated. This same concept applies to many other reports, most commonly when visits or unique visitors are used as metrics. Visits that span midnight and unique visitors accessing your site multiple days are common contributors to the differences in totals on trended reports. Each line item (such as day, week, or month) receives credit for every period the visit/visitor touched, but the total is deduplicated.

Total higher than sum of line items: There are several reasons why this outcome can occur; the circumstances and context of each cause varies widely:

  • Some reports, especially in previous versions of Adobe Analytics, report total metrics across the entire site as opposed to the specific variable you are looking at.
  • If you exclude the None line item from reporting, it can make the sum of line items less than the total.
  • In context of some pathing reports (such as the Return Frequency report), data is only displayed for users who return for a second visit. The total however is site-wide.

Sum of line items equals total: Parity is achieved when there is a true 1:1 ratio between metrics and line items. Examples of equal reports are conversion events in the Channel overview report and the Visit Number report.