Discrepancies between Shareaholic reporting and Google Analytics reports are normal because of differences in reporting methodologies. That said, both should follow similar trends.
Let's explore some of the reasons for those discrepancies:
- Google Analytics site implementation
A common reason is not implementing Google Analytics properly on all article pages across the site, especially on newly added sections, leading to some of the Shareaholic traffic not getting tracked by Google Analytics.
- Partial Page Load
Visitors may navigate away from the site before the page is fully loaded and Google Analytics tracking code executes, recording the Shareaholic traffic.
- User browser preferences
- Google Analytics Sessions vs. Shareaholic Clicks
There is a distinction between Clicks recorded by Shareaholic and Visits/Sessions recorded by Google Analytics. While Shareaholic records a Click anytime a user clicks a content recommendation on a publisher site, Google Analytics records a single Session/Visit for all user interactions within a given time frame (which expires after 30 minutes of inactivity). For example, if a user reached the marketer's site through Shareaholic twice within that time frame, he or she will be recorded as just one Session/Visit.
- Google Analytics sampling preferences
Unlike Shareaholic, Google Analytics data is generally based on sampling of all visits to the site, rather than the whole incoming traffic. Google Analytics uses sampling in order to generate reports on very large data sets (over 1m visits).
- Time Zone differences
Shareaholic reporting is currently based on UTC for all global markets. If Google Analytics is using a different time zone, the daily reporting might have some differences.
- Shareaholic UTM tag implementation
Marketers can get a more accurate view of their Shareaholic traffic by implementing a UTM tag for their Shareaholic campaigns. They can then see their campaign-specific traffic on Google Analytics under "Campaigns" rather than under the more limited "All traffic sources" (showing traffic from Shareaholic.com).