Data differences

Differences in conversion tracking systems

When you report on conversions tracked by FloodlightGoogle Ads conversion tracking, and Google Analytics, the totals from these different systems might not match.

How to investigate

  1. Confirm that Floodlight, Google Ads, and Google Analytics columns are reporting on the same events.
    For example, you can customize a Floodlight column to report a specific set of activities, which might be different from the activities tracked by Google Ads or Google Analytics.

  2. Make sure your advertiser's web server or redirection service doesn't strip the gclid and gclsrc parameters from landing page URLs.
    These parameters are added automatically for Google Ads accounts when you enable auto-tagging and for other accounts when you link your Search Ads 360 advertiser with Google Analytics. If the parameters are removed, Google Analytics will not attribute visits to your search campaign, and the metrics in Google Analytics will not match Search Ads 360.

  3. Understand measurement differences.
    Some differences are expected because of supported ad types, how each system counts unattributed conversions, how they attribute conversions to days, and more.

Common measurement differences

This following list of differences is not exhaustive. In addition, the list does not include Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics, which attribute conversions differently than the standard Google Analytics reports described below.

Day of attribution

The day of attribution is the day on which a conversion is reported to have occurred.

Floodlight Google Ads
Conversion Tracking
Google Analytics
The day of conversion. The day of click. The day of conversion.

Time zone

Systems may use different time zones to attribute conversions.

Floodlight Google Ads
Conversion Tracking
Google Analytics
The Campaign Manager account's time zone. Engine account time zone. The time zone that is defined for the Google Analytics view.

Lookback windows

The lookback window is the period of time after a customer clicks and ad during which a conversion, such as a purchase, is recorded. The lookback window can vary between the supported conversion-tracking systems.

Floodlight Google Ads
Conversion Tracking
Google Analytics
You can customize the lookback window. You can customize the lookback window between 7 and 90 days.

For Google Analytics data in Search Ads 360, Search Ads 360 uses the lookback window set in Google Analytics.

By default the lookback window is 6 months, but you can customize the length.

Last-click attribution: search ads and display ads

In reports that use last-click attribution, conversion credit might vary if a visitor first clicks a search ad, later clicks a display ad, and then converts.

Floodlight Google Ads
Conversion Tracking
Google Analytics
If the last click is on a display ad managed by a Google Marketing Platform product, conversion credit goes to the display click. If the last click is on a display ad managed by Google Marketing Platform or other system, conversion credit goes to the search click. If the last click is on a display ad managed by Google Marketing Platform or other system, conversion credit can go to the display ad.

Last-click attribution: natural search results

In reports that use last-click attribution, conversion credit might vary if a visitor clicks a search ad, later clicks a natural search result, and then converts. This applies to both referral and direct traffic.

Floodlight Google Ads
Conversion Tracking
Google Analytics

If the last click is on a natural search result, the conversion will be attributed to the ad in Search Ads 360. 

The conversion may be recorded by the optional Search Ads 360 Natural Search feature, depending on the attribution option you selected.

If the last click is on a natural search result, the conversion will be attributed to the ad in Google Ads. If the last click is on a natural search result, the conversion won’t be attributed to the ad in Google Analytics.

To exclude non-Google Ads traffic from attribution, go to Google Analytics’ attribution model tool and select Last Google Ads Click.

All conversions and unique conversions

Some systems count every conversion that occurs after a click, others only count one conversion per user.

Floodlight Google Ads
Conversion Tracking
Google Analytics
Campaign Manager counting configurations can vary. Google Ads uses flexible conversion counting. Counting configurations for Google Analytics goals can vary.

Ad robots and other spam

Floodlight Google Ads
Conversion Tracking
Google Analytics
Floodlight excludes visits from ad robots, but does not have the advanced spam filtering of Google Ads. Google Ads excludes clicks from ad robots and applies more advanced spam monitoring and human review to filter invalid clicks. Google Analytics includes visits from ad robots and does not have the advanced spam filtering of Google Ads.

For more information

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