Help with Google Analytics
January 12, 2010 1:18 PM   Subscribe

How is it possible that the website for my employer has vastly different statistics from Google Analytics than the numbers from the referring website where we pay for a banner ad?

It's time to look at cost/benefit analysis and sites we have banner ads on don't seem to be worth it according to our inhouse statistics. The referring source has statistics 50 times higher through their source, I don't know enough about it to judge.

Please help me figure out how to judge which is correct, or point me in the direction where I can figure it out (I am not knowledgable about this at all).

posted by readery to Technology (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Are you 100% sure that your destination site is tagged with GA code on every single landing page? Are you 100% sure that all of the ads being served by Doubleclick are sending users to the correct pages?

My guess is that some ad trafficker entered the wrong URL in some of the ads. So the ads register the clicks, but they are not sending the user to the right place.

You should go to the sites where the ads are, and start clicking around to test.
posted by bingo at 1:42 PM on January 12, 2010

Google Analytics uses JavaScript in each tracked page to record each page hit. What this means is that GA is blind to any hits received from a browser with JS disabled. That doesn't seem like it would account for a gigantic discrepancy like that, though.
posted by deadmessenger at 2:40 PM on January 12, 2010

Also, if your site is very slow (or your ads are misleading), users clicking on an ad might change their minds before your google analytics load.
posted by missmagenta at 2:53 PM on January 12, 2010

deadmessenger is correct about the javascript being blind to browsers with JS turned off.. Its also blind to bad click bots that don't fake JS..

A 50x difference screams technical flaw or fraud at some level to me.. I would go back through all of your code to make sure GA is on every page properly and then check the ads themselves to make sure that they are going to your site like they should.. Finally, see if you have access to the real server logs.. Maybe AWSTATS is installed on the server and you can compare those numbers to the other two sets of numbers that you are getting to see where the problem lies..
posted by SteveG at 7:49 PM on January 12, 2010

Seconding AWSTATS. When I did server admin for a media company, we *never* relied on GA numbers when dealing with ad issues.
posted by dantekgeek at 9:33 PM on January 12, 2010

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