Reporting RollWorks Advertising Data in Google Analytics

Configure tracking in Google Analytics for your RollWorks Campaigns

To set up Google Analytics (GA) campaign tracking, you must first make sure that you have created an account within GA and completed the necessary steps to start collecting basic data from your website. Please refer to the Getting Started with Google Analytics guide from the GA Help Center for more information.

Many web applications have GA integrations or plug-ins. If you license a web application or use an open-source solution (such as Magento or WordPress), you can refer to the aforementioned Getting Started with Google Analytics guide to check if there's a preferred GA solution.


UTM tracking variables available

Google Analytics defines the following tracking variables within your UTMs that can be appended to your RollWorks ad destination URLs for campaign tracking:

Variable Is Required? Description
utm_source Yes Use campaign source (utm_source) to identify the source of your campaign.
utm_medium Yes Use utm_medium to identify a medium such as retargeting or brand awareness.
utm_campaign Yes Use utm_campaign to identify a specific Campaign or AdGroup.
utm_content No Use utm_content to differentiate the type of ad, for example differentiating your static vs dynamic ads.

Learn more about how to use UTM tags in RollWorks ads in this Help Center article.


RollWorks data available in Google Analytics

Within Google Analytics, you can view basic metrics like visits and page views by navigating to Traffic Sources > Sources > All. The default view shows sources, and mediums and provides a view of traffic sources for 30 days prior to conversion. Google Analytics processes users who engage with the RollWorks data collection Opt-Ins, such as the Safari banner, as having a UTM Source of and the UTM Medium of referral.

If you set up goals or e-commerce reporting in Google Analytics, you can view the success metrics attributed to your advertising by browsing the appropriate reports.


These reports only include visitors that click through. View-through data is NOT included.


Discrepancies in Google Analytics

Your RollWorks campaign reports and Google Analytics reports may not always match up. While both systems aim to track the same trends for your campaigns, each system uses a different approach to reporting that will often lead to discrepancies. 

If you want to understand the discrepancy between the two systems, first make sure that your RollWorks and Google Analytics tracking is working correctly:

  • Is the Google Analytics code firing correctly?
  • Is the Google Analytics javascript on each landing page?
  • Do your ad destination URLs have UTM tracking codes that properly assign the traffic source to RollWorks?
  • Are the ad destination URLs prompting redirects? (redirects might strip the campaign tracking codes).
  • Are you tracking conversions in Google Analytics and defining them in RollWorks correctly using Conversion Audiences?
  • Have you set up filters that are removing or editing campaign tracking?
  • Have you set Google Analytics date/time to UTC to match RollWorks?

After you have verified that tracking is set up properly, the source of the discrepancies may align with the key differences in reporting approaches in RollWorks vs Google Analytics:

Metric RollWorks Google Analytics
Tracked metric Clicks Visits
Tracked metric definition When someone clicks your ad Site visit with at least one page view, expiring after 30 minutes of inactivity
Attribution model Tracks both click-through and view-through conversions, defaulting to a last-touch attribution model Tracks only click-through conversions, defaulting to a last-click attribution model
How it works Attributes a conversion to the most recent RollWorks advertisement click or view Attributes a conversion to the most recently clicked ad across the entire marketing mix. If no ad is clicked leading to the session, the conversion is attributed to ‘Direct’
Attribution window Defaults to 30-day click conversion window, 7-day view conversion window Defaults to a 30-day click conversion window
Cross-device attribution approach Uses a combination of deterministic and probabilistic cross-device matching Google Analytics does not have cross-device tracking capabilities. This means that if a user clicks a mobile ad, then visits the site on a desktop browser, Google Analytics tracks that as 1) two separate users & 2) a direct conversion


Click reporting discrepancies

  1. RollWorks reports more clicks or conversions than Google Analytics for Facebook

    • Unless UTMs are appended to the ad destination URL, Facebook clicks are attributed to “Direct” traffic in Google Analytics.
    • Cookies placed in a user’s primary browser are not accessible to in-app browsers causing the user to be viewed as two distinct users in Google Analytics
    • When someone clicks from a HTTPS environment and enters a HTTP environment, the referrer URL can’t be recorded by Google Analytics.
    • Google Analytics is not cross-device aware. So if a user clicks an ad on their mobile device, but later converts on their desktop computer, RollWorks will attribute the click-through conversion to RollWorks, but Google will consider the mobile phone and the desktop sessions to be from different users, and attribute the conversion to direct. 
  2. RollWorks reports more clicks than Google Analytics reports visitors

    • A single visitor clicked your ads multiple times
    • A visitor clicked your ad, but then stopped or left the page before it loaded
    • A visitor navigates away before Google Analytics tracking code executes
    • A visitor opted out of Google Analytics tracking, but not RollWorks tracking
  3. RollWorks reports fewer clicks than Google Analytics reports visitors:

    • A visitor clicked an ad, then during a different session returned directly to the site via a bookmark or typing directly into the web browser. In this case, the ad is still attributed for the first visit, so the initial click results in more than one visit.
    • RollWorks automatically filters out known bots, creative validators, and creative testing activity from clicks data reported in ad campaign results. Google Analytics doesn’t automatically filter out such invalid traffic, which can result in a higher number showing in Google Analytics.

Page view reporting discrepancies

In GA page views are calculated based on sessions. This means that a user visits the site over a specific period of time (session), ideally, the GA default session time is 30 mins, for example, if an individual user visited their site in that 30-minute session, then after they came back to the site, that time they will be tracked as a new visitors.

  • Sessions: It is a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame.
  • Users: Users who have initiated at least one session during the date range. 

In Rollworks there is no such concept as sessions used to calculate page views. Page views are tracked based on the following sequence. 

Screen Shot 2023-02-15 at 12.32.32 PM.png

In addition, RollWorks filters out invalid clicks while GA users are calculated based on sessions since tracking methodologies for both metrics are different you can expect discrepancies while comparing these metrics. 
RollWorks makes use of an efficient filtering mechanism to filter out the Invalid/Fraud data and show up only the valid data in our dashboard. There are some possible reasons for the discrepancy:

  1. Users using Safari

    Safari has been removed completely from RollWorks, so we cannot track the visitor's data and conversion data coming from the Safari browser. 
  2. Pixel Behavior

    If the user uses an Ad Blocker or any other plugins that interrupt the Pixel from dropping a cookie, then the users will not be tracked. 
    We won't track the users who have cleared cookies (or landed in an incognito window). 
    There are also some smaller factors for such discrepancies, like timezone (all our data is in UTC). 
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