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Q: Why does Google Analytics show a different number of conversions to AdWords or Facebook?
A: This is a very common issue – and often comes down to the different ways Google Analytics, Google AdWords and Facebook attribute conversions, which means sometimes they can report very different numbers.

They key difference with Facebook is that if a user saw your ad and bought within 24 hours, Facebook would class this as a conversion, even if they didn’t actually click on your ad. However, Google Analytics will only count a conversion via Facebook if the user clicked on the ad, went to the site and made a purchase in the same session. If the person didn’t click the ad, or did but decided to come back and purchase directly or through a different channel, then Google Analytics will not attribute this conversion to Facebook.

AdWords also attributes conversions differently to Google Analytics. It is similar to Facebook as it will claim the conversion once an ad has been clicked on whether or not it was the last channel, whereas Google Analytics will give it to the last channel. AdWords will also attribute the conversion to the date the ad was clicked on while Google Analytics uses the date the conversion happened so the date range being looked at could also be a factor.

Generally this is nothing to worry about, but if you find a discrepancy larger than 10% you may want to do some further investigation, this is something we can help with!

Q: Why do I see a difference between ad clicks and the number of sessions in Google Analytics?

Very simply, clicks and sessions are totally different metrics, so it’s not that surprising if you find discrepancies between the two! Clicks are recorded when someone, well, clicks! When someone clicks your ad, Google Ads will record it, however a session isn’t recorded by Google Analytics until the page is fully loaded.

It is possible for a user to click on an ad multiple times before a page loads, or give up and exit the site before it has finished loading – therefore no session is recorded, despite multiple clicks being logged. If you imagine a time you’ve had bad internet connection and have been clicking furiously out of frustration before giving up, it’s easy to see why this happens!

If a user clicks your ad multiple times without closing their browser, this is also classed as one session, this is common behaviour during comparison shopping. On the flip side, if someone clicks your ad and then returns directly later but for a different session, the referral information may still be retained so you may see one click but multiple sessions.

Q:Why am I seeing (not set) in my Advertising reports?

When this happens it usually means that Google Analytics hasn’t received any information for the dimension you’re looking at. There are a few potential causes for this issue, most of which are easily rectifiable. It could be any of the following;

  • Auto-tagging is on but cost data has been incorrectly implemented – This is easily changed but you will need to be an admin of your account to access this information
  • Your Google Ads account is incorrectly linked to your Analytics Property – When signed in to Google Analytics, head to admin and navigate to property whose Google Ads linking you want to edit. Here you will be able to add, remove and edit the links between your account and property.
  • There is a redirect in the URL – query string? Your developers need to make sure all campaign parameters are carried over with any redirects in place.
  • The GCLID has been altered or dropped from the ad – This can happen if someone has copied your URL in to Social Media, in cases like this the GCLID would have expired
  • URLS have been incorrectly manually tagged – Where possible it may be advisable to consider auto-tagging to avoid this sort of mistake in the future.

Q:Why am I not seeing Sessions in my Google Ads report in Google Analytics?

One of the most likely reasons for this happening is that you have linked your Google Ads account to a view for which some of the traffic has been filtered out. You may have done this to limit the amount of bot or spam traffic or maybe filter by geography.

If traffic to your landing page has been filtered out of the View, you still see the Google Ads information for that destination URL but not the basic analytics metrics such as Bounce Rate and Sessions. To see Sessions for this page you will have to… If this is the case then amend your filters to include this traffic. This will only affect data moving forward, not retroactively.

Other things to check are;
Your landing pages have the Google Analytics code correctly implemented
Your campaigns have auto-tagging enabled
Your Google Ads are linked to the correct Views
Your campaign parameters aren’t being dropped and your traffic is being recorded as Direct

Q: How can I differentiate bot traffic from human visits in Google Analytics?

Whilst the worlds of human and AI collide on a daily basis nowadays, you still want to be able to differentiate between real people and those pesky bots. There are a few steps you can take to separate the two when you are analysing your data.

A first step is to go to Admin > View > View Settings and tick the box to exclude all hits from bots and spiders. However this isn’t always 100% effective so there are a few procedures you can follow that should flag up signals to identify anything that hasn’t been excluded through this first course of action. Don’t do this for your raw data view so you always have unfiltered data to refer back to.

  • Go to Audience > Technology > Network
    • In the menu above the report table click on Hostname.
    • Anything other than your own domain(s) is likely to be a bot or spam. You can create a filter to only include traffic to your hostname(s) so other hostnames don’t appear in your reports.
  • Bots often share a few common traits. They will generally come under Direct traffic, 100% new users, have 1 pageview, have a session time close to 0 seconds and a bounce rate of nearly 100%.

Using these simple steps you should be able to identify the bot traffic from human traffic and analyse your data properly.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Get in touch! We’d love to answer your question and we can add it here to help out others.

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