I received this question about tracking discrepancies, and decided to share my recommendation on the blog. If you want a summary of my speech at Adobe Summit in London, you can find it here.

Hi Therese, I remember your speech about the ”Single Source of Truth” from the Adobe Summit in March. But I can’t recall the solution! We have an extrem tracking difference (200%+) between ”Display Click” <> ”SiteCatalyst Clickthrough”. I recall you mentioned that you just belive your numbers – but what if you have a CPC model with the Display Network? /Stephan

Hi Stephan! Ad servers measure ad displays and clicks. They do not tell you how many people visited your website. There is always a discrepancy between Ad servers and Web analytics tools. <– This article explains several reasons why.

My recommendation

Web Analytics Ninja
Web Analytics Ninja
  1. Your Web Analytics tool should be the Single Source of Truth. If not, you will never be able to compare traffic sources,  campaigns, email marketing or other activities with eachother.
  2. Understand the discrepancies that occur for an Ad Network (ask for benchmark numbers!) and consider: how much are you willing to pay per click, given that 50% never reach your website? Enter a ”loss” percentage into future business cases, and let that fact impact your CPC negotiations.
  3. Decide at what point the difference becomes unacceptable. You should not accept a 200% difference, but 10%-20% is not uncommon. Add a paragraph to the contract so if there is >20% discrepancy between clicks you have the right to waive the deal or to renegotiate.

Good luck !