We use various pay per click advertising agencies and are able to tune the traffic to our mobile sites according to various things.

The problem is, the number of clicks reported by the publisher never matches the clicks we see in our logs.

I'm told that it's natural to expect some drop off. Does anyone have any idea of what a reasonable drop off would be? 10%? 20%?

I do expect some drop off because being a mobile platform I guess people are more likely to experience timeouts, connection drops etc.?

  • I'm totally guessing, but 20% being chalked off for timeouts/connection drops is exceptionally high. I would be very concerned if my dropoff rate was >~5%. – Tom Gullen Apr 7 '11 at 11:51
  • Are you saying that specifically for mobile sites? or just in general for normal web sites? Thanks for the feedback! – Codek Apr 7 '11 at 14:20
  • Do you have a spotlight tag from the publisher on your sites as well? That way you can see if the numbers they are receiving tally with the numbers you count. – Ciaran Apr 8 '11 at 6:56
  • Err not sure what you mean by spotlight tag. But we have received logs from the publisher and compared at the IP / useragent level. We simply dont see ANYTHING at all for some of their records. So for them to have the logs it must have hit their site, redirected to ours, and then at that point either timed out, or the phone/mobile device didnt respect the redirect or something. – Codek Apr 8 '11 at 8:16

You need to be measuring more than just clicks. You need to measure the effectiveness of clicks. Not all clicks are created equal. Which of these clicks would you like to get?

  • A click from a user that is ready to buy your product and just needs to find somewhere that sells it.
  • A click from a user that is looking for more information about what your product does.
  • A click from a user that made a mistake and clicked on an ad that looked like a navigation element on another site
  • A click from a user that got an incentive to click to win rewards on another site.
  • A click from a robot that is built to click on ads.

Each of those clicks will be counted as "1 click" by the sites on which you are advertising. Hopefully the ad network you are using has policies to prevent abuse (as in the last three cases).

In the end, what you care about is conversions. Measure how many people actually buy your product from having clicked on the ads. Evaluate how much you are willing to pay for ads in this particular ad network based on how the clicks perform. Clicks that you don't see can't convert, so measuring conversion will account for that.

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