Why may Strossle reporting differ from third-party reporting tools?

Joakim Stenberg Updated by Joakim Stenberg

You may have noticed discrepancies in number of clicks, impressions, sessions, time spent, etc. when comparing reports from one reporting tool to another. This is very common as each reporting tool has its own way of measuring. You may observe such discrepancies between Strossle reporting and other third-party reporting tools as well.

Refer to the points below when troubleshooting discrepancies between Strossle reporting and third-party reporting tools.

  • Test your click URL. The first thing you want do when noticing big discrepancies is to manually test your click URL(s). Does it correctly lead the user to your landing page?
  • Check UTM parameters. If you are differentiating between channels by using a UTM parameter on your click URL, check that you are tracking the correct UTM parameter. In cases where e.g. utm_source is set to collect the domain name from where your ad was clicked, you will see each domain your ad was displayed on as a separate source in your Google Analytics account.
  • Check load time on your landing page. If your landing page is sometimes slow or temporarily unavailable (e.g. due to high load or an error on your page) it is highly likely that the user will close the tab before your landing page had the chance to completely load. Load time and reliability of your landing page can have a big impact on discrepancies between Strossle reporting and third-party reporting tools. If your landing page takes a long time to load, users may drop off before e.g. Google Analytics had a chance to load.
    Make sure to check load time of your pages and check for errors where users have been unable to load your pages. Also check bounce rate and time spent for your landing page; high bounce rate and low time spent may be indicators of a slow landing page.
  • Check if click tracker is ad blocked. Ad blockers are increasingly more popular and are able to prevent click trackers from collecting metrics but also from correctly redirecting the user. If you are using a well known click tracker, ad blockers may block the click tracker from redirecting the user to your landing page. As Strossle is counting the click before the ad blocker blocks the redirect, you might end up with discrepancies. Are you seeing less discrepancies when leading traffic directly to your landing page instead of through a click tracker?

Other reasons why discrepancies may occur

  • Sessions does not equal clicks. Google Analytics sessions are not the same thing as clicks on your ads. A session in Google Analytics expires at midnight and new sessions are created when the utm_source parameter is changed.
  • Opt-out extension. Usage of Google opt-out add-ons.
  • GA Code Placement. Depending on the placement of the Google Analytics code and whether it has been invoked or not a click may or may not be registered unless the page is fully loaded.
  • Browser settings. A user may have blocked cookies, scripts, images, or in any other way changed the behaviour of how the browser works by installing extensions or ad-blockers.
  • User leaves before redirect. If a click goes through a redirect link and the user leaves (closes the tab/browser) before the redirect is completed.
  • Time zone differences. Strossle Analytics is using UTC time and differences may occur if other providers are using another time zone.
  • Traffic Errors. Temporary downtime, caching, A/B testing and many other things may effect the outcome of the tracking.
  • Iframes. Usage of iframes are handled very differently depending on provider. Some may use the URL of the parent window as the source and some may use the URL in the iframe as the source.
  • Different definition of load, impression, and click. Different providers use different terminology and different ways of measuring events. Make sure to always compare apples with apples.
  • Desktop vs. Mobile traffic. Different providers use different ways of identifying traffic from different devices. Mobiles usually have less reliable connection, pages are not always built for mobiles, IPs are not always correct from a geographical point of view, and many other reasons.
  • Browser vs. Native Apps. Differences between how tracking is done between browser based users and users from native apps (iPhone & Android).

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