Knowledge Base      


Why don’t my ClickMagick stats match [something else]?


The first and most important thing to understand is that your ClickMagick stats are ridiculously accurate – unlike the stats you see in your ad networks and most other marketing apps you use.

And the fact that ClickMagick won’t always match up with these other apps is actually a good thing.

Because it means that ClickMagick is showing you your actual results.

Think about it – if ClickMagick showed you the same inaccurate stats you can already see in your ad network dashboard there would be no reason to use ClickMagick, right?

Tracking is our only business. And our founder created one of the first click trackers for online direct response marketers all the way back in 1995, so we have more “in the trenches” experience than just about anyone.

We’ve processed and analyzed billions of clicks, we’ve worked tirelessly for the past 7 years to make ClickMagick as accurate as possible, and there’s literally nothing more accurate than ClickMagick once set up correctly.

In fact, we’re so confident in ClickMagick’s accuracy that we’ve had a $1,000 Bug Bounty program in place for the past 7 years. And in case you’re wondering, no one has even tried to claim that ClickMagick isn’t accurate.

So once you’ve ruled out a problem with your setup, here are the common reasons for stats “discrepancies” …

And of course, if you have any questions just reach out to us in the Help Desk any time.




Issue #1 – Different time periods, often due to time zone differences

To accurately compare two different sets of stats, you first have to make sure that you're looking at the exact same time period on both sides. Comparing apples to apples as they say.

To help with this, ClickMagick allows you to display your stats in any time zone you want via the time zone setting in your Account Settings. If necessary, you can also specify a custom time zone for each individual Campaigns Project which will override the default time zone in your account settings.


Issue #2 – Ad networks and other marketing apps do not provide accurate stats

You absolutely cannot rely on the stats provided by your ad platforms or most of the other marketing apps you use.

It just doesn’t work, because individually they simply don’t have all the data points necessary to generate accurate stats. There’s also a huge conflict of interest when it comes to the ad networks. They are greedy and will take credit for every conversion or sale they possibly can. Relying on them is like letting the fox guard the henhouse.

Please see the video on our homepage and the article below to learn more:

Why can’t I trust the stats I see in my ad network account?


Issue #3 – You have “leaks” in your tracking, or other untracked traffic

ClickMagick Campaigns can only track visitors who arrive at your site via a proper UTM-powered link, including at a minimum, valid utm_source, utm_medium and utm_campaign values.

Anything else will be tagged as “organic” and not tracked the same as your paid ads.

You could be getting traffic from other sources that you’re not tracking with ClickMagick, and while you’ll see events and conversions from these users in your autoresponder or shopping cart, they won’t be tracked by ClickMagick.

You should expect to see some of this when you’re new to ClickMagick, but over time as you begin to track ALL of your paid ads and online promotions with ClickMagick this shouldn’t be much of an issue unless you get a lot of organic traffic as compared to paid traffic and other sources that you’re tracking.


Issue #4 – Differences in counting “unique” clicks

The biggest issue here is that the major ad networks don’t publicly share how they determine a “unique” ad click, so it’s unlikely that the number of unique clicks shown in ClickMagick will exactly match your ad network.

Based on the data, and based on public comments made by both Facebook and Google devs, major ad networks seem to allow roughly one unique ad click per user per day so that’s what ClickMagick Campaigns does as well by default (but you can also change how ClickMagick handles this via the cmc_unique parameter as well).

But this isn’t always exact …

If a user clicks on one of your ads multiple times in the same day, it’s absolutely possible that Google or Facebook will charge you for more than one “unique” click from the same user on the same day.

Overall, the online advertising industry as a whole generally sticks to the “one unique click per 24 hours” rule when it comes to measuring impressions and clicks, but at the end of the day, ad networks like Google and Facebook can do whatever they want and you just have to deal with it.

But the truth is, you shouldn’t be paying attention to the numbers in your ads accounts anyway. Other than the amount your ad network is charging you for clicks, the rest just isn’t useful.

When it comes to analyzing and optimizing your marketing, the numbers and stats you see in ClickMagick are infinitely more accurate and useful.


Issue #5 – Bots “clicking” your ads and links

A “bot” (short for “robot”) is a software application that is programmed to do certain tasks. To learn more please see:

What are “bots” and why should I care?

The main issue is that many bots do not follow redirects, so a bot may “click” on your Facebook Ad but then not also follow the redirect to your landing page the way a normal browser would, which causes a discrepancy.

And while you’d expect ad networks like Google and Facebook to have highly advanced systems to protect you from this sort of thing, the truth is that their automated systems absolutely do not prevent or catch all the bots that are “clicking” on your ads, and you’re absolutely paying for some percentage of bot clicks.

ClickMagick has world-class bot detection systems – perfected over the past 7 years and billions of clicks processed – that identifies and blocks many of these bots that slip through the cracks at the ad network level.

On average these bot clicks – which are not real web surfers – usually account for somewhere around 5% of the total clicks you receive. But you may see more or less depending on where you’re advertising.

So this is one reason ClickMagick may show less clicks than your ad network or other traffic source, but by filtering these extra bot clicks out all of your other stats – like your conversion rates – are as accurate as possible.

You can learn a bit more here:

How does Campaigns help combat bots and click fraud?


Issue #6 – Existing customers repeatedly clicking on your paid ads

Imagine the following scenario ...

A user clicks one of your Google ads and ultimately ends up purchasing your product.

They forgot to bookmark your site, so a week later they type the name of your site or product into Google and click the first listing right at the top — which unfortunately happens to be your paid ad.

They are just trying to get back to your site but Google just counted and charged you for another “unique” click, whereas ClickMagick may not count this as another unique click depending on your settings.

If you’re not already aware of this problem you may be shocked to learn that instead of bookmarking their favorite sites, many users actually just use Google search to find sites they want to go back to, and if your paid ad is listed right at the top, you get charged over and over again each time they click on it.

If you take the time, and have the ability to look into this, you’ll probably discover that you have many users who do this multiple times per week, and they’re inflating your ad costs by a noticeable amount.

Fortunately, we’ve created a one-of-a-kind solution for this that will allow you to block these people from repeatedly clicking on your ads, allowing you to prevent a LOT of wasted ad spend. You can learn how in this article:

How can I prevent wasted ad spend when using Campaigns?


Issue #7 – Existing customers landing on a page with the sales conversion code

In addition to causing click discrepancies (and wasting your money), this can also cause issues with sales tracking if you don’t have a traditional Thank You page to install the Campaigns Conversion Tracking Code on.

A traditional Thank You page is only seen once by a new customer when they make a purchase so it’s the perfect place to install your sales tracking code. But what if for example you’re selling access to a membership site and new users are immediately redirected into your membership area when they purchase, so you need to install the Campaigns Sale Tracking Code on the main page of your members’ area?

Again, consider the previous scenario ...

A user clicks your ad and becomes a member of your site. The sale is recorded and everything seems fine. But then a week or a month later they want to get back to your site so they search Google and click your ad again ...

Maybe they forgot to bookmark your site, maybe they’re on vacation using a different computer, or maybe they do it for any one of a number of different reasons. All that matters is that in some cases they may be treated as a new “unique” user when they click your ad again, so that when they get to your site, login, and access your members area another “sale” might be recorded in ClickMagick Campaigns.

Fortunately, Campaigns is quite flexible and there’s a simple solution to this problem …

If you redirect straight into a members area or something similar, you’ll simply want to remove the cmc_goal: 's', line from the code you place on the main page of your members area to track your sales, and instead pass in the cmc_goal=s parameter in the URL you use to redirect new customers into your members area.

It’s this line right here …
  
 
 

This will properly track a sale when a new user signs up, but it will NOT record duplicate sales when your existing customers use Google search and click your paid ads to get back to your site.



Issue #1 – Different time periods, often due to time zone differences

To accurately compare two different sets of stats, you first have to make sure that you're looking at the exact same time period on both sides. Comparing apples to apples as they say.

To help with this, ClickMagick allows you to display your stats in any time zone you want via the time zone setting in your Account Settings. Your “Public Stats” pages also have a separate time zone setting, allowing anyone using them to change the time zone to match their own systems.


Issue #2 – Ad networks and other marketing apps do not provide accurate stats

You absolutely cannot rely on the stats provided by your ad platforms or most of the other marketing apps you use.

It just doesn’t work, because individually they simply don’t have all the data points necessary to generate accurate stats. There’s also a huge conflict of interest when it comes to the ad networks. They are greedy and will take credit for every conversion or sale they possibly can. Relying on them is like letting the fox guard the henhouse.

Please see the video on our homepage and the article below to learn more:

Why can’t I trust the stats I see in my ad network account?


Issue #3 – You have “leaks” in your tracking, or other untracked traffic

With Tracking Links, ClickMagick can obviously only track people who click on one of your Tracking Links.

You could be getting traffic from other sources that aren’t going through a Tracking Link, and while you’ll see events and conversions from these users in your autoresponder or shopping cart, they won’t be tracked by ClickMagick.

You should expect to see some of this when you’re new to ClickMagick, but over time as you begin to track ALL of your paid ads and online promotions with ClickMagick this shouldn’t be much of an issue unless you get a lot of organic traffic as compared to paid traffic and other sources that you’re tracking.


Issue #4 – Differences in counting “unique” clicks

The biggest issue here is that the major ad networks don’t publicly share how they determine a “unique” ad click, so it’s unlikely that the number of unique clicks shown in ClickMagick will exactly match your ad network.

Based on the data, and based on public comments made by both Facebook and Google devs, major ad networks seem to allow roughly one unique ad click per user per day – but ClickMagick only allows one unique click per user per Tracking Link or Rotator, which leads to the most accurate conversion rates and other stats possible.

But this means that it’s very possible one user could generate two “unique clicks” in one day in your ad network stats, while ClickMagick would more accurately show only one unique click.

And when it comes to other traffic sources and other marketing apps, all bets are off. Who knows how they handle this, but we can assure you that any click and conversion stats you see in your autoresponder, page builder, etc. are not even remotely close to being accurate. Tracking is our only business – for them it’s an afterthought.


Issue #5 – Bots “clicking” your ads and links

A “bot” (short for “robot”) is a software application that is programmed to do certain tasks. To learn more please see:

What are “bots” and why should I care?

The main issue is that many bots do not follow redirects, so a bot may “click” on a Tracking Link or Rotator but then not follow the redirect to the actual landing page the way a normal browser would.

This can be a huge problem and cause all sorts of discrepancies between different tracking systems – and even between two ClickMagick users – with certain types of traffic, especially "solo ad" clicks.

With “solo ads,” generally what happens is a bot will hit the tracking link of the sender, but then it doesn't follow the redirect to the buyer's tracking link and the buyer never gets the click.

This causes the bot click to be recorded in the seller's stats, but it doesn't show up in the buyer's stats – which leaves both sides scratching their heads and blaming the other.


Issue #6 – Flagged clicks are not included in your ClickMagick click counts

By default, ClickMagick detects clicks from bots, search engine spiders, anti-virus programs, ad networks, and other automated processes that send clicks to your links but aren't real clicks from real users.

And to keep your conversion rates and other stats as accurate as possible, these automated "clicks" are not added to your TC (Total Clicks) and UC (Unique Clicks) counts if you have flagging turned on.

Instead, these clicks are added to the FC (Flagged Clicks) column of the link or rotator, and you can always view these by clicking on the number in the FC column.

Because flagged clicks are not added to the UC column, this means that the UC column does NOT show the total number of unique clicks that the link or rotator received – it shows the total number of real human clicks received while the FC column shows the number of "flagged" – and often fake – clicks received.

So, if you're receiving clicks and the number of clicks your traffic source says they sent you doesn't match the number in your UC column, it's likely that some of their clicks were detected as automated clicks, separated from your main stats, and added to your FC column instead.

If you're sending clicks, remember that not only are you sending the clicks totaled in the UC column, you are also sending the clicks in the FC column.

Unfortunately, many other tracking systems don't do a great job of detecting automated clicks and count them as real clicks, which can lead to some serious discrepancies.

This also leads to the next reason …


Issue #7 – Different click filtering or blocking settings

ClickMagick allows you to Flag or Block automated clicks in the Advanced Settings of your Links and Rotators, and this can be a big cause of discrepancies between two ClickMagick users if these settings are different.

For example, imagine that you're sending traffic to someone and on their end they're flagging "Abusers" in their Advanced Settings, but you're not ...

When an "Abuser" click hits your account it'll be treated normally and included in your unique click count. But on their end the click will be detected as an "Abuser" and added to their FC count instead.

This will cause a "discrepancy" between the number of unique clicks sent and received.

To track down discrepancies between two ClickMagick users, you need to know both the flag and block settings for both users. If you're a solo ad seller, ask your buyer for the Public Stats page of their tracking link. This page will show you all of their flagged and blocked clicks so you can see exactly what's going on.

Of course, other tracking systems offer varying types of click filtering and blocking as well, which is almost always going to cause some type of "discrepancy" due to the different methods used.


Issue #8 – Clicks from “bulk traffic” sites blocked by ClickMagick

ClickMagick automatically blocks clicks from many "bulk traffic" sites, so if this type of traffic is sent to a ClickMagick Tracking Link or Rotator it will not be processed and a "discrepancy" could arise.

For a complete list of bulk traffic sites we currently don't process traffic from, and why, please see this article:

    What traffic CAN'T I track with ClickMagick?

Unfortunately, many shady traffic sources will often mix in this type of “bulk traffic” with their other legitimate traffic to reduce their costs, and this is yet another thing that leads to stats discrepancies.


Issue #9 – Someone has reset a Tracking Link or Rotator

When people reset Tracking Links and Rotators – which is generally not recommended – you can run into all sorts of problems and discrepancies when it comes to unique clicks vs. non-unique clicks.

Remember ...

Just because one tracking link or tracking system considers a click unique, that doesn't mean it's always going to be unique on the other end as that user could have already visited the other link.

This is actually a big problem in the "solo ad" world because essentially what you have is a bunch of people passing around a lot of the same clicks from the same users.

If you're involved in this, you should actually expect this type of discrepancy unless you ensure that you only send traffic to brand new tracking links that have never received traffic before.

An example should help here ...

Say you buy a lot of "solo ads", and you sometimes buy clicks from the same vendor over and over.

Imagine a vendor sends you 500 clicks, then you reset the link stats so you can track the next buy separately, and then they send you another 500 clicks ...

What's going to happen is that most likely you're going to get some repeat clicks from the first batch of 500, and the system is going to recognize these as repeat clicks.

If there are say 20 repeat clicks, the seller is going to claim they sent you 500 additional clicks but ClickMagick is going to report only 480 new and unique clicks.

This "discrepancy" can lead to a lot of confusion ...

... and since the original batch of clicks are deleted when you reset the link you won't be able to easily see which users/IPs are repeat clicks, or have a way to easily prove to the seller that you received 20 repeat clicks.


Issue #10 – Last but not least, scammers doing shady stuff

Let's face it, there are a lot of scammers out there. And when it comes to generating traffic, especially in the "solo ad" world, some people will stop at nothing to generate more "clicks" to sell.

One example that can cause serious stats discrepancies between solo ad buyers and sellers, is when sellers generate additional worthless clicks – usually via hidden "iframes" – just to make more money.

Basically, based on what we've seen, an unscrupulous traffic seller will set up a page with multiple hidden "iframes" that all point to the same traffic rotator.

When an end-user lands on the page, multiple "clicks" will be generated all at the same time from the user's browser to the same rotator – and no rotator provider we've tested tracks these types of simultaneous clicks properly.

Instead, when this happens you'll often see abnormal raw vs. unique click handling and processing.

Most rotator providers probably aren't even aware of this issue, but here at ClickMagick we don't support this type of thing so we've made a conscious decision to NOT "upgrade" our rotator systems to handle this – since that would only make it easier for the scammers to do what they do.


We know figuring out stats discrepancies is no fun, but there are no shortcuts or “secrets.”

The only way to “figure it out” is to go through all of the items detailed above looking for clues, and there’s absolutely nothing we can do on our end to help you figure it out that you can’t do yourself.

And to be honest it’s usually not worth the time and effort because you may never figure it out and there may be no solution unless it’s a simple fix like adjusting your time zone, nor is it usually meaningfully affecting your stats.

Minor discrepancies are actually to be expected for many of the reasons discussed above. And if you’re only seeing significant discrepancies with one or a few traffic sources, our best advice is to simply not use them and move on.

With that being said, if you have a large discrepancy that you just can’t figure out we’ll be happy to take a look and see if we spot anything you may have missed. But please understand the following when you do …

1. In order for us to help, we need you to please detail everything that you’ve already looked at and considered, and what you’ve done to try to figure things out on your own. Without that info we wouldn’t even know where to start ...

2. We don’t have the resources to spend hours and hours figuring out any one users’ stats discrepancy, nor do we guarantee that we’ll always be able to figure out the issue – because sometimes it’s just impossible, for example if someone is using sophisticated methods to generate fake clicks to your site.

3. We can’t help you with “solo ads” stats discrepancies. To learn more about that, please see this article:

Can you figure out my “solo ad” discrepancies?

Article 73 Last updated: 07/22/2021 10:40:20 AM
https://www.clickmagick.com/kb/?article=73