We were recently asked by a customer why analytics and campaign data does not match, this is a recurring question, so we thought it would be beneficial to include in our blog for everyone.
Cookies And Campaign Tracking Parameters
The campaign tracking parameter used to track campaigns is appended to the URL when someone clicks on one of campaign links, meaning this will only happen in session and not for any cookie sales. Please remember that tracking parameters are not always passed on. Most programs work on a 30 day cookie period, so if someone clicks on a tracked campaign URL this will add the append parameter that’s setup e.g. source=pricegrabber. However after the first visit to the site the visitor may look around, do some research, check out their options and then make their purchase decision.
If the customer does not buy the item in that initial session but comes back within the cookie period to purchase something, the marketing campaign gets credit for referring that sale, even though on their final visit to purchase they may have come directly. This is normal activity, and in general we see longer sales cycles (longer time shopping between initial click and final purchase) on items with a higher value such as jewellery and electronics.
Self Referrals In Analytics
Self-referrals are an issue with every analytics tool, especially now, due to the popularity of tabbed browsing. The issue generally arises when someone lands on a page and then leaves it idle, which is most common in comparison shopping. The visitor leaves the page open, browses on one or more tabs on other sites and then returns to the first tab/browser window to continue surfing. If time has elapsed, the session is restarted and the referrer will be the campaign landing page.