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Understand information in your reports and troubleshoot reporting issues such as self-referrals, (not set) data, and inaccurate information
 
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Difference in outbound event counting and incoming referral path?

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# 1
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On my site leuker.nl I have pages with links to the site flks.nl.

In wordpress I count the links with a plugin which work fine, it simple count all clicked outbound links as events.

However, there is a slight difference.

For example, for last week (same the week before this):

1) I count a total of 23 outbound flks.nl events, but in the Flks GA, I see a total of 24 links Smiley Sad

2) I count that leuker.nl//eenvoudig-zorgtoeslag-aanvragen/ has 9 event links  to flks.nl, but in the GA of Flks.nl I see through the referral path only 8 incoming links. 

Same for page /flks-zorgverzekering-voor-jongeren: I count 3 events, but noticed 5 referrals path counts. So the referral path count isn't always less.

 

Any idea why there is a difference? and what could be the cause?

- Ed

 
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Marked as Best Answer.
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Accepted by topic author Ed B
July 2016

Re: Difference in outbound event counting and incoming referral path?

Rising Star
# 8
Rising Star
Ed,

You can look at your referral visits that are not new users. (Assuming
they did not start at site a again.)

If you have goals or ecom, you can look at the assisted conversions report
in multi-channel funnel section.

Best,

Theo Bennett
Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn

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Re: Difference in outbound event counting and incoming referral path?

Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star
Ed,

You should expect two things:

1 the event may not fire as the browser abandons the JavaScript and navigates to the next page/site.
2. that not all users that click over will in fact let the browser finish loading, especially if they were not expecting to exit. In your case you have a fairly good percentage.

Lastly, if I click through from site a to site b. I am now a referral from site a. If I come back by typing in siteb.com tomorrow.. I will still be recorded as a referral visit from site a.

Best,

Theo Bennett
Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn

Re: Difference in outbound event counting and incoming referral path?

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# 3
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Many thanks Theo.
Regarding (1): I just went through all links an noticed some of the the links where missing "target=_blank", which is needed to ensure the JS event is still fired.

Interesting of the site b referral you mention, I wasn't aware of that.
How long is a person seen as a referral from the site a ? (I tried to google this info, but couldn't find it).
I suppose it's counted as a extra user in GA?

- Ed

Re: Difference in outbound event counting and incoming referral path?

Rising Star
# 4
Rising Star
Hi Ed,

Well the browser (client) will abandon all JS as the window unloads. You may still get tracking of these depending on how the plug-in works.

Regarding the referral data, the campaign cookie or settings (depends on the version of GA) is a 6month timeout. So as long as I come back on the same browser with the same cookie, once every 6 months -- I will always show as a referral from a.

Here is the link and paragraph that explains:
https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2731565?hl=en

"What causes updates to the campaign?

Generally speaking, the campaign updates anytime the user arrives at your site via a search engine, referring website, or campaign tagged URL. Direct traffic, however, never updates or replaces an existing campaign source such as a search engine, referring site, or campaign-tagged information."

Best,

Theo Bennett

Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn

Re: Difference in outbound event counting and incoming referral path?

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# 5
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Thanks Theo.
Let me see if I understand it correctly:
If a user comes on site A with the GA JS, GA on site A will set/update the cookie of the user with the referral info (and other stuff probably).
If the user comes back the next day, without any interaction with site A in the mean time, he is seen as the same referral (so no other channel like Direct is incremented), and he is seen as a new user, such that the new-user counter in GA is incremented.

Is that correct ?
- Ed

Re: Difference in outbound event counting and incoming referral path?

Rising Star
# 6
Rising Star
Hi Ed,

Close. If the user was referred from site A to site B the user is now has a campaign source/medium of sitea.com/referral and is a new user on site B if he has not been there before.

Tomorrow, if he comes back directly, he will be a returning user and the source/medium will still be sitea.com/referral. Direct NEVER overwrites campaign data. If he then on another day did a Google search for site b and then clicked on a organic link and came to siteb then he would be a returning user and the source/medium will be google/organic. If the user now comes back every day for the next 30 days from a bookmark, browser history or typing in the site directly, the source will still be google/organic and he will show as a returning user as direct (bookmark, browser history, typing in url, untagged email in outlook, untagged links from a pdf, etc) traffic NEVER overwrites campaign data.

Does that make sense?

Best,

Theo Bennett
Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn

Re: Difference in outbound event counting and incoming referral path?

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# 7
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Thanks again Theo.
Is there anyway I can see in GA if it concerns a referral user that comes "Direct"? (the next day in the our example).
- Ed
Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Ed B
July 2016

Re: Difference in outbound event counting and incoming referral path?

Rising Star
# 8
Rising Star
Ed,

You can look at your referral visits that are not new users. (Assuming
they did not start at site a again.)

If you have goals or ecom, you can look at the assisted conversions report
in multi-channel funnel section.

Best,

Theo Bennett
Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn