Discrepancy between AdRoll and Google Analytics reports are normal due to differences in reporting methodologies. That said, AdRoll’s reports and Google Analytics data will follow the same trends and tell a similar story. Though AdRoll and Google Analytics data will never match up exactly, reporting from both sources can be useful for measuring advertising performance and optimizing campaigns.
If you are seeing a significant discrepancy, the first thing you should do is make sure that your Google Analytics tracking is working properly.
- Check each of your ad destination URLs to make sure they have properly created UTM tracking codes that will specify the traffic source as AdRoll in Google Analytics.
- Make sure that your destinations URLs do not prompt redirects. Redirects are often set up in a way that can strip the campaign tracking codes Google Analytics needs to attribute the traffic to the marketing source—in this case, AdRoll.
- Make sure that you do not have filters set up for your Google Analytics reports that are removing data or editing campaign tracking.
Clicks vs. visits
- AdRoll tracks advertising clicks; however, Google Analytics tracks visits associated with your advertising.
- Google Analytics visits can be as short as one pageview, or last many hours and contain multiple pageviews, events, and transactions. Visits expire after 30 minutes of inactivity, and any subsequent activity would be tracked as a separate visit.
Clicks associated with your ads may be bigger than visits for the following reasons:
- A single visitor may click your ads multiple times. When a visitor clicks multiple times within the same visit, AdRoll records multiple clicks while Google Analytics records the multiple page views as only one visit.
- A visitor may click on your advertisement, but then stop the page from fully loading by navigating to another address or page or by pressing the browser’s Stop button. In this scenario, the Google Analytics tracking code will not execute and will not send tracking data to Google. However, AdRoll still registers the click.
- Server latency may contribute to tracking problems and visitors may navigate away before the Google Analytics tracking code executes.
- Visitors may have set their preferences to opt out of Google Analytics tracking, but still be targeted and measured by AdRoll.
Visits associated with your ads may be bigger than clicks for the following reason:
A user may click on an ad, and then, during a different session, return directly to the site through a bookmark or by typing the address into the browser’s location bar. In this case, the marketing attribution from the first visit is preserved, so the initial click results in more than one visit.
Conversion tracking discrepancies
- AdRoll and Google Analytics use different attribution and tracking methods to associate conversions with your advertising. AdRoll attributes a conversion to the last AdRoll advertisement click or view. For most reports within Google Analytics, Google Analytics attributes success to the last marketing visit, regardless of the marketing source. For example, if a visitor clicks an AdRoll ad and then subsequently returns to your site via organic search and converts, AdRoll will attribute the conversion to the AdRoll campaign while Google Analytics will attribute the conversion to organic search.
- For most reports, Google Analytics preserves campaign attribution for up to 6 months. AdRoll defaults to a 7-day conversion attribution window.
- AdRoll also tracks view-through conversions, whereas Google Analytics only tracks conversions that occur after a click that subsequently starts a Google Analytics visit.
Assisted conversions vs. last interaction conversions
In most Google Analytics reports, all marketing activity is credited to last interaction conversions. With the multi-channel funnel feature of Google Analytics, you can see assisted conversions in addition to last interaction.
Navigate to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions.
By adding assisted and last interaction conversions, you can see all conversions in which Google Analytics is crediting to your traffic source.
Google Analytics dates and times are localized to the time zone that you set in Google Analytics. Dates within AdRoll are in UTC.