Data differences

Differences in device attribution

You may notice a small data discrepancy in device classification reporting between Search Ads 360 and the search engine. This is expected in some situations and it only affects about 0.1% of visits and conversions in Search Ads 360. Please contact customer support if you see significant discrepancies.

Search Ads 360 and engine discrepancies can happen for several reasons, such as the following:

  • Known differences in processing bot visits, deleted objects, keywords with invalid clickserver URLs, and spam data.
  • User agent discrepancies: Some engines send the device type to Search Ads 360 when a customer clicks an ad, in which case the device types will match.

    If an engine doesn't send the device type, Search Ads 360 uses its own logic to determine the device type. For some visits, Search Ads 360 examines a special identifier called a user agent, which is sent by the browser with each page request and contains information about the device the browser is on.

    In some cases, Search Ads 360 and the engine may draw different conclusions from the device information in the user agent.

    In other cases, a browser may send one user agent to an engine and a different user agent to Search Ads 360. For example, when the Kindle browser gets web pages, it sends a user agent that says it’s on a desktop. When a customer clicks on an ad, the Kindle browser forwards the click to Search Ads 360 and sends the default user agent, which tells Search Ads 360 it’s on a mobile device. In this case, the engine will report a click on a desktop device while Search Ads 360 will report a visit on a mobile device.

  • Time lag between clicks and conversions: Your customers may click an ad on one day but not convert until a few days later. (The period of time after a customer clicks an ad and Search Ads 360 records a conversion is called a lookback window. It can can be customized to fit your needs, but it's usually set to more than a few days.)

    This time lag can cause the device type reported for clicks and conversions to differ significantly under the following scenario:

    1. Your customers click mobile ads.

    2. The next day, you set the mobile bid adjustment to -100%, effectively stopping all advertising on mobile devices.

    3. Before the lookback window closes, customers who had clicked mobile ads convert on mobile devices.

    Depending on the time frame and scope of your report, the device type reported for clicks and conversions could be significantly different.

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