Why is there a difference between Outbrain reporting and Google Analytics?

Discrepancies between Outbrain and Google Analytics are common due to the way each platform records a click. On the Outbrain side, a click is recorded when a user is directed to your page after clicking on the widget. Google Analytics, however, will record a click when the page has fully loaded and rendered the code fully. Overall, the trends in data should still be similar in both platforms. 

Below, we've listed a few common reasons for discrepancies and how to reduce the gaps in data. 
  • Ensure the Google Analytics code is implemented at the top of your pages
    Add the code in the header of your page. Implementing the code too far down on your web page will result in missed clicks if the page isn't loaded in full. 
  • User browser preferences
    Visitors may have set their browser privacy preferences to disable cookies, images, or JavaScript making them non-trackable by Google Analytics. The same goes for users that have installed Google's own opt-out add-on or any kind of AdBlocker.
  • Time zone differences  
    Outbrain reporting is currently still based on US Eastern Time (UTC -5 hours) for all global markets. If Google Analytics is using a different time zone, the daily reporting might have some differences.
  • Outbrain UTM tag implementation
    When implementing UTM tags in your campaign, add them on the campaign level, rather than the URL. Adding a string to both of them will result in an inaccurate click count. You can learn more about UTM tracking here
  • Change in HTTP Certificate
    Outbrain uses referrer URLs to track clicks and conversions on the platform. As URLs can change depending on the security of the site, clicks may not be recorded the same. For example, when someone clicks on an ad within our network the click cannot be recorded if the user left the HTTPS environment and entered an HTTP environment. 
  • Paid.Outbrain ad scanner checks
    Our ad scanner will crawl every link in our network at least twice a day, and show up in your Google Analytics dashboard as paid.outbrain. These clicks will result in 0 seconds spent on page as they simply crawl the link for suspicious content and fraud.

    For any questions regarding your campaign data in Google Analytics, feel free to reach out to our support team for further assistance.


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