Pollen & Google Analytics are reporting different numbers

From a reporting standpoint, discrepancies between Pollen and Google Analytics are common.  This is attributed to a difference in reporting practice among the two platforms; however, generally speaking, the data will paint a comparable picture.  While the reporting won’t always sync, both services are helpful in tracking performance and driving campaign optimization.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to troubleshooting a large variance:

  1. Review destination URLs and ensure they’re not forcing redirect (these frequently restrict tracking codes).   
  2. Inspect your destination URLs. Pollen automatically adds UTM parameters to your destination URL. To view Pollen traffic in Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > Source/Medium.
  3. Lastly, Google Analytics Javascript and code must be live and running on each landing page.

Conversion Tracking Inconsistency:

Google Analytics and Pollen qualify conversions differently therefore you might see some discrepancies in your reporting. Google Analytics uses a Last Interaction model that assigns 100% credit to the final touchpoints (i.e., clicks) that immediately precede sales or conversions. Pollen uses a View Through model that tracks whether a user saw your ads in a given period of time and assigns 100% credit to the first touchpoints preceding sales or conversions. 

The simplest example of this would be if a browser opens a Pollen Ad, abandons the page, and returns to the site through a search engine; Pollen counts this as a conversion at their campaign level, whereas Google associates the conversion as an organic search.  Essentially, this means, Google tracks linear conversions and Pollen’s conversion attribution is nonlinear.

Visits versus Clicks:

One of the big differences between Google Analytics reporting and Pollen is that Google tracks visits (which can even be quick page views), while Pollen tracks actual clicks on the advertisement.

Pollen may report more clicks than the views that Google tracks, which can be confusing.  Here are some common reasons as to why this can happen:

  1. If a server is bogged down, it might not track a quick page view, thus Google would lose out on this data.  
  2. Similar to #1, a user can stop a webpage from loading.  Google Analytics would not be triggered; however, Pollen would record the original click.  
  3. It is possible to disable Google Analytics tracking.  If a browser has done this, only Pollen clicks will report.  
  4. Ever find yourself clicking on an ad more than once?  Pollen reports each click, whereas Google Analytics will only report this behavior as a one-time page view.  

Alternatively to the above, if you leave a page you clicked through to and in another session revisit using a bookmark, Pollen will count this as one click, whereas, Google, will report multiple views.   

Understanding Last Interaction & Assisted Conversion

Google Analytics defaults to last interaction conversions in most tracking; however, within the multi-channel funnel, it is possible to select assisted conversions as well.  This will allow you to see all the traffic that your Ad has generated.  


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