Clicks vs Visits: why analytics tools show different results

We’re often asked why the clicks vary from the analytics platforms our advertisers use to track their clicks to the clicks registered through the Linqia platform. Digging deeper into this topic, you’ll discover that it’s a common question asked by advertisers using various platforms across the web. We will explain the reasons that pinpoint the difference.

Firstly, it’s important to distinguish between a click and a visit:

  • The number of clicks show the number of times a person clicks on your content – a banner or a link.
  • Visits indicates the number of unique sessions created by your visitors. A unique session is a connection between a user and your website.

Google sheds light on this distinction within their Help section for Analytics and in summary, the main reason why the sets of results don’t match are due to:

  • A visitor may click your content multiple times. When one person clicks on one content item multiple times in the same session, AdWords will record multiple clicks while Analytics recognizes the separate page views as one visit. This is common behavior amongst visitors engaging in comparison shopping.
  • A visitor may click on your content item, however the page does not fully load due to navigating to another page or by clicking their browser’s Stop button. In this case, the Analytics tracking code is unable to execute and send tracking data back to the Google servers. However, AdWords will still register a click.
  • Whilst Google AdWords automatically filters invalid clicks from your reports, Analytics reports the resulting visits to your website.
  • If a visitor who clicks on your content item has either javascript or cookies disabled, this visitor won’t be recorded in Analytics, but AdWords will still register the click.

There are steps you can take to minimize any discrepancies:

  • The correct Google Analytics Tracking Code is implemented on your landing page
  • The Google Analytics Tracking Code is in the right location in your HTML source code (i.e not at the bottom of your page)
  • The auto-tagging parameter is present in the URL of the landing page that the visitor ends up on
  • You are not using a combination of auto-tagging and manual campaign tracking parameters
  • Paid visits are not being filtered out in your profile

Advertisers using the Linqia platform can be assured that their clicks are genuine and safeguarded by fraudulent activities. All clicks are tracked by an integrated 3rd party tracking platform openx which is used by over 150,000 sites to track the results of millions of campaigns.

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