Nowadays you’re used to track clicks on content in different ways and within different platforms.
But what happens when they all return different numbers in their reports? Which one is right?
First of all, very honestly, nothing is 100% accurate and precise. None of the worldwide available analytics tools tracks exactly how many humans are visiting your content and clicking on your links.
Of course there are many reasons for that: some are related to specific cases, some are technical reasons.
Furthermore, when looking at clicks on your branded links and comparing them among different platforms, you should consider several aspects, which may influence the metrics.
- if the branded link is within a post on Facebook (or on Twitter, YouTube, etc.), one should take into account also how many times the link (not the post) has been shared within emails or on IM apps, namely Whatsapp, Telegram, Skype, etc. (the so called Dark Social), by the users. Of course those clicks will be counted by a tracker like JotUrl, but won’t show up in Facebook.
- let’s suppose the branded link, you’ve published on Facebook, redirects to another intermediate link (managed by some kind of ad network) and from there on redirects to the actual destination. You see less clicks on Facebook reports and you’re wondering why but you’re ignoring that from time to time Facebook bans some of the ads driven by the ad network you’re using, for some specific reason.
- one should consider that the way a post is created, the way it is promoted, where it is promoted, how it is re-shared by users (and where), plus other minor factors, may significantly influence how clicks are registered on different platforms. Let’s make a very quick example: one publishes a post on Facebook with a branded link, but someone else re-shares only the link within the original post (which is quite common) on Twitter, which for some reasons attracts a significant amount of users and hence traffic since it is re-shared several times. A tracker like JotUrl will register all those clicks outside Facebook and will allow you to quickly understand where they come from. Same holds if a user shares the link on a website which usually receives a lot of traffic.
When using a professional tracker (and JotUrl is no exception in that sense), one should consider that a tracker intercepts a click at the source, namely directly on the shared link. That’s why (again, even if nothing is 100% accurate), a tracker like JotUrl is the best choice to collect data in the most reliable way. Especially when it comes to offsite tracking, where one has to handle with several different channels, sources, campaigns and content (that’s actually the main reason why trackers were created).
Of course Google Analytics is an amazing (and free) analytic tool but unfortunately it is not a 100% accurate way to track clicks on your marketing campaigns.
And this holds, even more, for Facebook.
“Clicks counted by Facebook/Google are almost always less than the number of clicks counted by JotUrl”.
Yes, we’ve dozens of feedbacks like this one, on our Help Center :)
Actually, different analytic platforms use different technologies to count visitors, which can lead to discrepancies in the data.
These industry standard methods yield reliable trends, but (again) cannot return perfect data.
Here’s a list of the main reasons for that:
- cookies need to be enabled within the browser of the users, in order to track them. But cookies get lost, blocked and deleted over time. And of course, no cookies, no count.
Finally, there’s another technical factor, which is worth analysing.
When you publish content on the Internet, a web page for instance, or a post with a link in Facebook or Twitter, the website publishes an instant feed about the recent updates.
This feed is intercepted and crawled by several bots and spiders.
Some of them are “regular” bots, meaning the way they present themselves is as bots, like Google bot, which is aimed to index/track the new content.
But there are also other kind of bots: malicious bots, or also bots that intentionally present themselves as regular browsers (making it extremely hard, in this last case, to differentiate them from a human click).
Of course bots are usually analysed and filtered by analytic and tracking platforms (like Google, Facebook and other), but there is no way to exclude them all.
JotUrl also analyses suspicious incoming clicks, and filters them based on an internal bot/spider database we periodically update.
Thus JotUrl records a part of these clicks as bots/spiders but, like any other platform, cannot recognize all of them, so some of them may appear as human clicks.
You can find clicks, which have been recognized by JotUrl as originated by bots, within the analytics section in your dashboard, for each tracking link.
The bot/spider subject is also related to the Click Fraud Monitoring, since some malicious bots are used for such purposes.
Please note the JotUrl provides users with a dedicated area within the analytics section, which they can leverage to analyze and identify a potential click fraud, by quickly isolating related key parameters like the clicks/unique clicks ratio, the related countries where clicks come from and the most suspicious corresponding IPs.