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We have a partnership arrangement with another site where we pay them for users sent to us. However, they claim our referral numbers for them are lower than theirs by 50%. They are tracking clicks in Google Analytics (using events) while we are using visits in Google Analytics.

Are we doing something wrong with our Google Analytics installation?

<!-- Google Analytics BEGIN -->
<script type="text/javascript">
  var _gaq = _gaq || [];
  _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-12345678-1']);
  _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', 'example.com']);
  _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);

  (function() {
    var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
    ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
    var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
  })();
</script>
<!-- Google Analytics END --> 
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3 Answers 3

Are we doing something wrong with our Google Analytics installation?

Your tracking code looks OK, providing that you've placed this before the closing </head> tag as indicated here, which otherwise might result in lower numbers if the page or resources didn't fully load.

they claim our referral numbers for them are lower than theirs by 50%

In addition to the above, make sure that they are not referring traffic from different domains or subdomains that you're not tracking. I'd request all the URL's they're referring from so that you can confirm this, and their tracking reports too.

It might also be helpful to review this: Google Analytics - Troubleshooting the Tracking Code. And use the Debugging Tools listed there to make sure the requests for ga.js and__utm.gif are OK.

Also, compare your server logs with your Google Analytics reports to see if there's a variance (and check for errors).

They are tracking clicks in Google Analytics (using events) while we are using visits in Google Analytics.

Comparing events with visits can be like comparing apples with oranges. As indicated in Google Analytics here:

Events are user interactions with content that can be tracked independently from a web page or a screen load. Downloads, mobile ad clicks, gadgets, Flash elements, AJAX embedded elements, and video plays are all examples of actions you might want to track as Events.

Clicks on their site might be higher because they're measuring user interaction, which would suggest that their page, tracking code, and resources were fully loaded. Visits on your site might be lower because these things didn't fully load (as covered above), users didn't wait for your site to load, there were problems reaching your site, etc... So it's best to keep these things in mind when comparing referral numbers between two sites.

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I managed to solve this problem by using Google Campaign links together with bit.ly (or goo.gl) redirection services.

  • Generally the user will not notice bit.ly is being used You get a neutral way of measure things with open information, just add a + sign to the URL (like for example http://goo.gl/3xeKVE+). Latter you can use bit.ly value for invoicing
  • You can track links by 4 different parameters instead of tracking just by domain, and that's very useful to manage advertising campaigns.

More about Google campaign links here:

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Above answers is looks right solutions for your problem. But I think your analytic is running under "Causes for self-referrals in your Traffic reports" and in-result showing different figures.

Please refer: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/3198398?hl=en

And URL tagging is great feature to take of these operations so have look at these too. https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033863?hl=en&ref_topic=1032998

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