Why Google Ads Clicks and Analytics Sessions Don’t Match in Your Reports

SoftwareSuggest

SoftwareSuggest

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: October 12, 2018

Advertisers who link their Google Ads and Analytics accounts are able to view data from Google Ads and Analytics together. When you compare Clicks from Google Ads and Sessions from Analytics side by side, you might expect that the numbers match, however, they often don’t.

According to our research, Google AdWords has around 30% average drop rate, There are a number of reasons why this can occur. We’ll explore those reasons in this series of articles.

Clicks

When someone clicks on a Google Ads ad, the click is immediately recorded in the Ad-server logs. Most Google Ads ad types charge the advertiser when the click occurs. There are some ad formats where the click is not always the billing event.

Sessions

Before a session is recorded, several things happen:

  1. When the click takes place, the browser is pointed to the advertiser’s landing page.
  2. The advertiser’s website then responds to this request and starts to transfer data from the web server to the user’s browser.
  3. When the browser starts to download the landing page, there may be a request for several files at the same time, including JavaScript, CSS, images, video, audio, etc. The requests for JavaScript include the Analytics tracking code.
  4. The JavaScript file (ga.js or analytics.js) must first be downloaded and interpreted by the user’s browser.
  5. The user’s browser/device and security settings must support:
    • Cookies
    • JavaScript
    • Images
  6. If any of the above are disabled, Analytics may not be able to record a session. Universal Analytics doesn’t strictly rely on cookies and users may handle client ID in their own ways.
  7. Next, the browser sends a separate request to www.google-analytics.com, the Analytics servers.
  8. Finally, a session is recorded.

The following diagram Figure 1a. illustrates these steps.

Google Ads Clicks

 

The Other Factors That Play an Important Role are:

  • Landing Page Code
    There might be a possibility that your landing page is unable to load the tracking code properly. It could cause a discrepancy between the numbers registered on AdWords and SoftwareSuggest.
  • Server Latency
    In a similar vein, if the user comes to your page from SoftwareSuggest but leaves your landing page before the tracking code executes, there might be a discrepancy between the numbers on these platforms.
  • Landing Page redirecting to a different page
    If your landing page redirects to a different page, it might prevent the code from launching properly and identifying the source as being a paid search campaign from SoftwareSuggest.

The key takeaway here is that the process to record a click is straightforward; however, recording a session involves requirements and checkpoints. The whole process from click to session should happen within seconds, but if latency is introduced at any of these checkpoints, then this can, in turn, reduce the click-to-session ratio (more clicks than sessions are recorded).

SoftwareSuggest Traffic Analysis

For the similar reason as google analytics & Google AdWords, the clicks you see in your google analytics might differ from SoftwareSuggest might be lesser than the clicks we send you.

SoftwareSuggest
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