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numbers way off for large PPC campaign!

4 replies [Last post]

Hi Guys,

I am having a problem that I am hoping you can help me with.

We are currently running a banner ad campaign through a large PPC network.

(forum moderator note: we have removed the name of this company, if you write & ask, we will tell you the name of the company)

At this very moment, they are reporting that today we have received 366 clicks on our ads.

These ads lead to two landing pages.
Both of these pages have your tracking code on them.

The problem is that when we look at our unique visitors for today in your software, it says we have only had 216 visitors.

This is obviously an issue since we could not have received 366 clicks on our banners and only have 216 visitors. (Plus, we get traffic from a lot of other sources as well.)

I spoke to several senior people at this company who guaranteed me that their tracking is working without a problem and they have said that the problem has to be on your end. They figure you are somehow 'missing' visitors.

I have no idea what is going on, but I figured I would ask you for your input since I want to make sure we get everything fixed up.

Can you please take a look at the tracking code on these pages and make sure everything looks proper?

Do you have any ideas?


Our first recommendation is this strategy; provide the PPC company with a customised tracking url, for example, mysite.com?=ppc_campaign. This will enable us to precisely identify all visitors they send to you, to be used and/or in conjunction with a separate landing page?.

On the subject of differing banner numbers, these potential explanations come to mind. Please take a look, and we can proceed from there;

1. the PPC company are counting the number of people that they send to you, while we are counting the number of people you receive, which can lead to
differences, think about the number of invitations sent out versus how many
are received. If a person comes from their banner and clicks away before
allowing your page to fully load, the visitor will be counted from the
sending side, but not on the receiving side.

2. there is a difference between unique visitors and clicks. A good number
of people actually do click more than once, so that the visitors (people)
and visits (number of times they click) are almost always different, with
the number of visits? being usually noticably higher.

3. time zone differences; make sure that the two days are lined up properly,
in terms of how the period of a day is defined

4. as you mention, it is important to make sure that all the visitors that
the PPC company provide are coming from the same source?, and if not that they are all sent to the same place (see next sentence).

5. In terms of a solution, we suggest that you have a separate landing page?
for the ad campaign. There can then be little discrepancy about how many
people land on the page, and where they come from.

6. it is of course possible that visitors are being missed, but this is a
rare occurence, and does not occur on a large scale, certainly no more than
a percent or two.

7. if you are trackng visitors then the script is working, it is a yes or no
scenario, there is no in-between space.


Hello Everyone @ Opentracker,

Thank you for your detailed reply to my previous inquiry.

We are having a *serious* discrepancy with an advertiser who is telling us
that they are sending us an amount of traffic that we are unable to verify
through the use of your statistics program.

Two CEO's have spent an entire day looking through statistics using the
Opentracker program and at this point cannot see where the advertiser's
claims are true. Since neither of us is as experienced in the field of web
analytics we are kindly asking for your assistance.

This problem represents $1,000s in potential loss to our company and we have
used Opentracker to help us in fighting off fraudulent pay per click charges
in the past, however, this issue is proving to be even more convoluted.

The advertising network has taken the stance that this is a flaw in the
Opentracker system and is saying your system is broken. They have urged us
to switch statistics program, but, you'll be happy to know that we are very
loyal to you and believe it is them who is, in fact, at fault here. But,
we're going to need your help to prove that.

What we need, if possible, is a break down from Dec. 6 OR Dec. 7 OR Dec. 8
for the full 24 hours that shows the total number of visitors to our website
as well as how each visitor arrived at the two landing pages for our campaign.

Can this be done?

The advertiser is taking the stance that there cannot be a flaw in their
system and refuses to investigate further on their end. Our hope is that
with your complete breakdown we can go back to the advertiser and show them
proof their numbers / reporting methods are flawed or can substantiate a
claim with our credit card company should the advertiser continue to refuse
to deal with the issue.

Thank you for your help in advance.


This sounds like a frustrating situation.

If the PPC company is unable to provide you with visitor? records, it is difficult for us to compare. We have gone through our server logs on the days that you specify, and found that the servers were 100% online & operational. That way we can rule out the possibility that a server issue prevented us from recording traffic.

One thought here, before proceeding further;

Opentracker was designed to communicate directly with visitors to your website, this is called client-side, as opposed to server-side, data collection. The first form of tracking is / was log file analysis, which collects information on the server-side.

We built Opentracker because log file analysis is very time-consuming, as it is a definitive log of all activity on a server, machine traffic, scripts, bots, spiders, human visitors requesting pages, etc. So we built Opentracker as a system for filtering out human visitors.

Our point is that if you have access to the log files on your servers, then you will be able to know exactly what happened on the site. Using your log file servers, it will be possible to show that you received X amount of visitors / page requests. If you combine this with your Opentracker, you will have two sources of data, which will strengthen your argument.

Do you have access to your log files? They will answer any questions definitely.


I was able to have my CTO process our log files. When I showed the
advertising network our logs and the information from Opentracker, they
agreed to refund our money.

Dealing with this issue has been such an annoyance.

Thanks so much for your help and for following up. You guys are the best!