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Why can’t I rely on the stats in my ad network accounts?

Ad network tracking might be okay for “casual” advertisers who don’t care about maximizing their results ...

But if you’re serious about optimizing your ads and growing your business, you absolutely cannot rely on them at all.

It just doesn’t work, because individually they just don't have all the data points necessary to generate unbiased, accurate and actionable marketing insights.

Here are 9 reasons you can’t rely on the stats in your ad network accounts ...

Reason #1 – Short Attribution Windows

Generally speaking you’ll want to track all your conversions, no matter how long after the initial click they occurred.

But your ad networks don’t do this. Facebook Ads now uses just a 7-day attribution window for clicks. And this means that any sale more than 7 days after the user clicked your ad won’t be tracked at all.

On the other end of the spectrum, even Google Ads allows a maximum of just a 90-day attribution window. If you have a longer sales cycle, this means lots of your conversions may not be tracked or used for optimization at all.

ClickMagick allows you to track visitors “forever,” or for any specific number of days you want.

Reason #2 – View-Through Conversions

You may not even realize this, but the default attribution settings for Facebook Ads, Google Ads and most other ad networks cause them to take credit for conversions that occur even if a user doesn’t actually click your ad.

These are known as view-through conversions, and here’s a scary example of how it works ...

If your Facebook ad is displayed in a user’s feed today, then tomorrow they search you up on Google, click your Google Ad and buy something, Facebook is going to take credit for the sale in your Facebook Ads account.

That’s right – even though the user didn’t even click your Facebook ad. Heck, there’s a good chance the user didn’t even SEE your Facebook ad, and yet Facebook takes credit for the sale.

Reason #3 – Data Sampling & Modeling

You may naturally assume that the stats you see in your ad network accounts are real values, but actually, just about every number and stat they provide is a “best guess.”

It may be hard to believe, but even when it comes to something simple like the number of unique ad clicks you received, they aren’t even trying to give you the real number.

Nope. By their own admission, they use data sampling and data modeling methods to estimate your stats – even for the simplest things like the number of unique clicks you received.

This goes for all ad networks, but here are just a few examples from Facebook Ads below where you can learn more:

Facebook: About Data Sampling

Facebook: About Estimated Metrics

On the other hand, ClickMagick gives you the full picture on what actually happened. Every click. Every conversion. Exactly as it happened. No matter when it happened.

Reason #4 – iOS “Do Not Track”

When iOS 14.5 came out in September of 2021, it turned the online advertising industry upside down.

We’re unaffected, but the major ad networks can no longer track individual iOS users who opt out of tracking.

Depending on your business, iOS users could make up 50% or more of the people clicking on your ads – and 96% of them are opting out of iOS tracking – so it should go without saying that your ad network stats are pretty useless here.

Reason #5 – Broken Cross-Device Tracking

The average Internet user owns 3.2 devices, and constantly switches between them.

The major ad networks like Facebook Ads and Google Ads do employ cross-device tracking – but it relies on a user being logged in to a single account on every single device they ever use, all the time.

Imagine someone clicks your ad on their phone, opts-in on your landing page, then gets distracted and leaves your site.

A few days later they check their email on their computer at work, get an email from you, and end up buying something.

That’s great, except they weren’t logged in to their personal Facebook account on their work computer so Facebook couldn’t track them. This type of thing happens all day, every day.

ClickMagick offers “unbreakable” cross-device tracking, that doesn’t rely on users being logged in to anything.

Reason #6 – “Greedy” Attribution

Imagine someone clicks on your Facebook Ad right now but gets distracted and leaves your site.

A week later they see your Google retargeting ad (or any ad for that matter), click, and buy something.

In this every-day example, Facebook Ads and Google Ads are both going to show that you got one sale.

So in the real world you only had one sale, but according to Facebook and Google you had two sales – because they’re both taking credit for the same sale.

And this doesn’t only happen with Facebook Ads and Google Ads. Once you have more than a single traffic source, they are all going to take credit for as many sales as possible, and they are all going to be inaccurate.

Reason #7 – Blocked Tracking Codes

This one is pretty cut and dry – some privacy-conscious browsers and various “privacy” apps are outright blocking the tracking codes from the major ad networks like Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

This means that even more of your clicks and conversions aren’t being tracked at all by your ad networks.

Reason #8 – Delayed Stats

The stats provided by your ad networks are delayed – usually by anywhere from 4-6 hours, but up to 12 hours or more.

At this point your ad network stats are so messed up it doesn’t really even matter, but ...

If you’re trying to analyze and optimize new ads and new campaigns, especially ones with lots of volume, this is almost impossible to do with stats that can be delayed by up to 12 hours.

On the other hand, ClickMagick’s stats and reports are always available in real-time.

Reason #9 – Bots, Fraud & “Click Happy” Users

Rather than use bookmarks, many Internet users simply “Google” your product or brand name and click whatever shows up at the top when they want to get back to your site.

Usually this is going to be your paid ad, and when they click it repeatedly over weeks and months – maybe even years – your ad network counts each of these as unique clicks.

Then on top of that you have tons of automated software programs called “bots” clicking on your ads, and possibly even your competitors. And the ad networks are only able to detect some of this.

In addition to wasting your ad budget, all these extra clicks completely mess up all your most important stats ...

But ClickMagick’s best-in-class bot filtering and Click Shield™ technology allows you to separate these unwanted clicks from your real stats, or even stop most of them entirely, and when combined they are over 99% effective.

Well there you have it – the 9 biggest reasons you can’t rely on the stats you see in your ad networks.

Some of them prevent the ad networks from tracking visitors at all, some lead to misattributed conversions and inaccurate reporting, and then on top of that you have tons of unwanted clicks messing things up even more.

Even just a few of these are enough to make your ad network stats wildly inaccurate …

But the truth is that you’re probably affected by most of these, if not all of them, which makes your ad network stats quite dangerous to your wallet and the health of your business.

Article 658 Last updated: 01/30/2024 10:11:24 AM