Seeing a discrepancy between Commission Factory and Google Analytics reports is normal because of differences in reporting methodologies. This article explains it in more detail.
A discrepancy between Commission Factory and Google Analytics reports is normal because of differences in reporting methodologies. That said, usually, Commission Factory and Google Analytics data will follow the same trends and tell a similar story. Though Commission Factory and analytics data will never match up exactly, reporting from both sources can be useful for measuring advertising performance and optimizing campaigns.
If you are seeing a significant discrepancy, the first thing you should do is make sure that your Google Analytics tracking is working properly;
Check that you have added UTM tracking codes to the Commission Factory system, Campaign Settings > Tracking and Click Append that will specify the traffic source as Commission Factory in Google Analytics.
Make sure that your destinations URLs do not prompt redirects. Redirects are often set up in a way that strip campaign tracking codes which are necessary for Google Analytics to attribute the traffic to the marketing source, in this case, Commission Factory.
Make sure that you do not have filters set up for your Google Analytics reports which are removing data or editing campaign tracking.
Clicks vs. Visits
Commission Factory tracks advertising clicks, however, Google Analytics tracks visits associated with your advertising.
Google Analytics visits can be as short as one page view or last many hours and contain multiple page views, events and transactions. Visits expire after 30 minutes of inactivity, and any subsequent activity would be tracked as a separate visit.
Clicks associated with your ads may be bigger than visits for the following reasons:
A single visitor may click your ads multiple times. When a visitor clicks multiple times within the same visit, Commission Factory records multiple clicks while Google Analytics records the multiple page views as only one visit.
A visitor may click on your advertisement, but then stop the page from fully loading by navigating to another address or page or by pressing the browser’s stop button. In this scenario, the Google Analytics tracking code will not execute and will not send tracking data to Google. However, Commission Factory still registers the click.
Server latency may contribute to tracking problems and visitors may navigate away before the Google Analytics tracking code executes.
Visitors may have set their preferences to opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics but still be targeted and measured by Commission Factory.
Visits associated with your ads may be bigger than clicks for the following reasons:
A user may click on an ad, and then later, during a different session, return directly to the site through a bookmark or by typing the address into the browser’s location bar. In this case, the marketing attribution from the first visit is preserved, so the initial click results in more than one visit.
Conversion tracking discrepancies
Commission Factory and Google Analytics use different attribution and tracking methods to associate conversions with your advertising. Commission Factory attributes a conversion to the last Commission Factory advertisement click or view. For most reports within Google Analytics, Google Analytics attributes success to the last marketing visit regardless of the marketing source. For example, if a visitor clicks a Commission Factory ad and then subsequently returns to your site via organic search and converts, Commission Factory will attribute the conversion to the Commission Factory campaign while Google Analytics will attribute the conversion to organic search. Google Analytics cannot track multiple channels at once.
For most reports, Google Analytics preserves campaign attribution for up to 6 months. Commission Factory attributes for the length of your cookie period.
Commission Factory can also track view-through conversions whereas Google Analytics only tracks conversions that occur after a click.
Retargeting works on impression data, since Google Analytics is not aware of your retargeting affiliate it will not report impressions or post-view conversions to Google Analytics. Google Analytics will likely attribute them to another channel incorrectly.
Assisted Conversions vs. Last interaction Conversions
In most Google Analytics reports, all marketing activity is credited to last interaction conversions. With the multi-channel funnel feature of Google Analytics, you can see assisted conversions in addition to last interaction.
Navigate to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions.
By adding assisted and last interaction conversions, you can see all conversions which Google Analytics is crediting to your traffic source.
Lastly, Google Analytics dates and times are localized to the time zone which you set in Google Analytics. Dates within Commission Factory are in AEST. Which may differ from your localized time.
Google Analytics is a reporting tool and not an affiliate tracking and management solution. While our system can pass UTM tags to your Google Analytics it does not guarantee that the correct data will be correctly attributed to Commission Factory. We would recommend treating your affiliate program as a separate marketing channel and using Commission Factory reporting to access ROI.
Please also remember that Commission Factory can only support our system and will only rely on our data to calculate and validate commissions. Voiding commissions because of a mismatch not only is unfair to the hard-working affiliate but is also in breach of our terms and conditions.