I have a site (mysite) that refers users to another (othersite). Tracking how many referrers mysite sends to the othersite is crucial. I have access to analytics for both.

On mysite, when a user clicks a link to othersite I trigger a Google Analytics Event. This should track how many referrers mysite sends to othersite.

That link has UTM tags to identify our traffic and campaign. In the othersite analytics, I review “acquisition/campaign” data for these UTM IDs. This should be the referrers received from mysite.

However, On othersite I only see 1/6th of the traffic I expect when compared to mysite’s events. I don't expect an exact match but that is a big difference.

I have tried many things to debug this and everything seems to work as intended.

  • Initially, the links on mysite did not include UTM codes. At that time I reviewed the othersite's traffic by referring 'source'. Because of this discrepancy, we implemented the UTM tags to all links on mysite. The same discrepancy has persisted.
  • I watch "real-time" analytics on both sites. I follow a link from mysite to othersite. I see one event on my site and one new hit in "traffic sources" on othersite. This is as expected and seems like everything is working properly.
  • I use the JS console Analytics debugger too to watch the events and pageviews being sent to google analytics. I see one event on my site and a pageview that includes my UTM data on othersite. The only thing interesting here is othersite has two different Google Analytics codes and is sending this pageview hit to both. I don't think that is an issue.

I can’t explain this discrepancy. Any suggestions on how to debug or possible explanations?

Is there a better way to go about achiving my goal of "Tracking how many referrers mysite sends to the othersite"?

  • If the sites are both in your control, can you parse the logs looking at the REFERER field to ascertain what you are after? – davidgo Nov 2 '20 at 18:21
  • @davidgo I have access to the Google Analytics property for othersite. I do not have access to that server or anything else (are you asking about server logs?). I have requested to meet with the team that runs othersite. – maestrojed Nov 2 '20 at 20:22
  • Have you tried clicking on the link multiple times to see what happens? What if one person could generate many events on your site? – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 2 '20 at 21:19
  • @StephenOstermiller Yes, a user could click the link multiple times. Each time would register an event in GA. GA reports "Total Events" and "Unique Events" which I think captures this. I am looking at "Unique Events" and still see this discrepency. – maestrojed Nov 5 '20 at 19:53

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