Discrepancies in Analytics Reports

Google Analytics
Last updated: August 22, 2019

This post was most recently updated on August 22nd, 2019

Analytics reports from different sources can produce widely differing results based on how they measure data points. Be careful of comparing apples to oranges when you compare, say, Google Analytics and DFP. Google Analytics is not DFP, and they don’t count things the same way. They aren’t working in sync with each other so that the numbers will be different.

For example, by design, DFP ad server concepts are not centered on page views. An ad tag can be placed on multiple pages, or a line item can serve to a single page multiple times. Since DFP isn’t counting page views, it’s not going to give you valid information about your page views; use Analytics for that.

Code execution can also affect how Google Analytics and DFP differ. Analytics packages count the execution of the analytics tracking code, but since the analytics code does not interact with the ad tag code, some analytics software cannot account for unfilled impressions. If a visitor views a page but does not see an ad, the numbers will get out of sync.

Another discrepancy seeps into the numbers when publishers serve DFP ad tags in iframes because some browsers don’t support the iframe tag. Even in browsers that do support iframes, ads in iframes are sometimes delayed and don’t display before the user leaves the page. The same is true of cookies; if cookie information isn’t available for a hit, then that hit may be disregarded in the analytics software but not in DFP.

Be careful to base your monetization plans on the information in Google Analytics or other analytics packages, because it probably won’t match your DFP data. Always make estimates based on DFP’s information — not on Google Analytics’s information.

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