Know Why Your Marketing Metrics Conflict

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Imagine walking into a doctor’s office, and four different doctors take your temperature. All four get wildly varying results. Your blood pressure numbers also significantly differ.

Although there is zero chance of this really happening, it likely applies to your online marketing.

One of the best, free systems to measure a website’s “health” is Google Analytics (GA). It reports website visitor counts, average time on your website, number of page views and how people found your website. By regularly reviewing your GA statistics, you have better insight into what’s working – and what’s not – on your website and the online ads that may promote it.

Your website’s server logs may also provide some meaningful data. Google Adwords and Facebook Ads, for example, can also report how many people clicked your online ad and were redirected to your website.

So, optimally, if 800 people clicked on your Google Adwords ad last month, Adwords would report 800 clicks. Google Analytics would also report 800 visits to your website from the ad. Your server’s stats might say the same thing, too.

Unfortunately, that isn’t happening.

Many webmasters are seeing huge discrepancies between website/blog server and Google Analytics statistics, and both of those sources versus Google Adwords and Facebook ads stats. Here are some authentic examples.

While it’s normal and common to have slight variations between Adwords and GA data, large swings between the two aren’t. For example, your Adwords reports 300 clicks and Google Analytics reports only 23 sessions from that campaign in the same time period…or visa versa.

Google has given an explanation as to why Google Analytics may not be recording website hits. Others have also offered some good reasons why these discrepancies exist.

Also, last month, Facebook announced that, for two years, it had underreported the average time users spent watching video ads on its platform (it had only counted video views lasting more than three seconds).
Ask your webmaster to report on possible discrepancies. Ditto if you’re running online ads, like Google Adwords or Facebook ads. Ask questions. Get details. You’ve likely spent good money on these online marketing platforms. You’re entitled to know how cost-effective they are (or aren’t).