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I received a voucher from LinkedIn which gives me $50 worth of Advertising, and as I've started out on my own as a web designer/developer I thought this would be a good opportunity to get some extra business.

Anyway, I've used LinkedIn's stat counter and it has said I've had ten "valid" clicks to my website. However, when I check my Google Analytics account, it states that one day I only received 6 clicks from LinkedIn, 4 of which had a 100% bounce rate and stayed on the website for 00:00:00.

I've spoken to LinkedIn about it, and they e-mailed me back saying a few things. They have said some users might have Javascript turned off, so won't show up on my Analytics software. He also said that my Analytics software might be tracking LinkedIn.com (which it is) and that this will over/under report registered clicks on my site.

To me, I'm suspicious that most of the clicks aren't 100% legit, and they might be trying to eat up my $50 voucher before I have to start paying. It does sound like a paranoid view point, but when one stat counter is saying I've had 10 clicks in a day, and my Google Analytics account is telling me only 6 clicks came from there.

Am I right to be paranoid or have I completely missed how these things work?

Cheers

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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

There's a difference between PPC clicks and the website visits reported in Google Analytics. A click gets logged as soon as LinkedIn redirects the user to your site. However, your page needs to load in the ga.js code from Google's servers and then send an image request back before the visit is recorded. This process sometimes doesn't complete. Here's a few reasons:

  • The user leaves your site before the code is downloaded and run
  • The user clicks on a link deeper into your site before it's run
  • Other technical issues like the code just failing to download or people deliberately blocking it

The issue that your reporting is normal and happens with all PPC ad providers such as Google AdWords. However, 40% seems a quite high failure rate. Possible reasons include:

  • Sometimes the HTTP referrer used to show where a visit is coming from get's blocked or lost before it's picked up by GA
  • Your GA tracking code might not being installed properly
  • It could even be that 10 clicks isn't really enough to make judgments about as the results you have so far might not be statistically valid

My advice would be to try out using the GA URL tracking parameters (utm_source, utm_content etc) instead or relying on the referrer. It's the way Google advises tracking PPC campaigns anyway and has the added benefit that you can check your server logs to validate what you seen in the LinkedIn reports.

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Thank you for the answer, I will look in to it and make amendments. –  mickburkejnr May 12 '11 at 21:15
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LinkedIn's response sounds like a fair explanation of the difference you're seeing.

If you wanted a third datapoint to measure clicks on your ad, your could use bit.ly URLs in your LinkedIn ads to link to your site. Adding a '+' sign at the end of any bit.ly URL gives you a breakdown of the clickthrough. This has the added advantage that it doesn't require JavaScript, so it may prove a more accurate representation than what you're seeing in Google Analytics.

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Thanks, I will try this out now. –  mickburkejnr May 12 '11 at 21:15
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I'm finding the same thing with my own statistics gathering code. I use PHP, and when someone lands on my advertising landing pages, I log the referring URL ($_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER']) as well as other information into my database. So today I see that LinkedIn charged me for 6 clicks, but I can only find 5 clicks coming from linkedin.com. The day before they also charged me for 6 clicks, but I could only find 4 from linkedin.

I asked LinkedIn about this, and they gave me the answer about third party analytics, too, and how they might be unreliable. Though the analytics my code gathers doesn't rely on JavaScript. Perhaps something like Ewan mentioned is occurring, where someone clicks on the link, but for whatever reason doesn't actually get to the site.

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We are also burned with linkedin ads system:

After writing to them about 126 clicks which are 100% bounce-they offered a credit of 50 USD.

Linkedin sent 126 clicks with 95-99% users showing avg visit duration 00:00 seconds Google Analytics reflect we got somewhere around 80 clicks and linked system is inflating it to 126 - approximately 150% of actual clicks sent.

Out of the clicks recorded by google - as almost all are bounced with 00:00 avg visit duration - hence proved - there is something fishy with linkedin traffic as this is not happening when we are using other advertising options and banner advertisements..

if such clicks are not being recorded because of some technical reasons - this discrepancy should appear with other referral traffic also.

We have setup our own programmed analytics system also - even that is also showing same analytics as google.

I would recommend keeping a strict watch on the quality of traffic you get from linkedin - if you do not get ROI - dont burn your $$$$$s there unless you wish to target the audience based on their designations.

If we do a simple math like this:

  • Total Clicks shown by LinkedIn=3000
  • Total amount spent = 6000 USD
  • Recorded by Google = 2000
  • Bounce Rate = 60%
  • Actual Relevant Clicks = 800
  • Leads = 32
  • Each Lead Cost = 200 USD approx
  • Leads converted into Sales = 4 - Means to cover up your advertising and management cost each sale closed should be giving you approximately 4000-10000 USD business depending upon your profit margins.
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