The question that we are most frequently facing at SEM related to the ad campaigns is about the numerical differences between Google Analytics and Adserver Reports. In order to find an answer to this question which might cause a tension between the advertising agencies and the customers, we first need to understand how Adservers and Google Analytics work.
What is an Adserver?
In most of the advertising campaigns made using the visual banner on the internet, servers hosting the ad images and calculating the number of impressions and clicks are used. These servers are called Adservers.
What does an Adserver do?
The Adservers serve as a bridge between the websites where the ads are published and the websites targeted by the ads (when the ad is clicked). When a user logs into a website, the ad appearing is published through the AdServer. In this way, it is possible to calculate the number of impressions and how many people have viewed it.
What happens when you click on ads?
When the visitors click on the ads, they are redirected to an address on Adserver instead of directly going to the website targeted by the ad. In this way, the Adserver calculates the clicking rate by counting the number of ad clicks and how many different people clicked on it. After this, which takes a short period of time less than a second and not noticed by users, the Adserver redirects the visitors to the targeted website.
What happens after visitors enter the website?
When visitors enter the targeted website, if Google Analytics is used for measurement, this visit is not recorded as the website where the ad is published at as the traffic’s source is Adserver redirection. It is recorded as the address of Adserver or as Redirect.
You can find technical reason for this in our article “How Google Analytics Works.” (Note: Requires advanced level of technical knowledge.)
You can find the solution related to the matter in our article “Solution for Adserver and Analytics Report Discrepancies”.