Pressboard Analytics, Google Analytics and MOAT analytics each use unique methodologies and often report differing results. Here's why.
One of the key benefits of Pressboard Studio is visibility into all of your content analytics, all in one place. Pressboard Studio integrates with several analytics tools that measure website visits, social post engagement, and promotional ads such as Google Analytics, MOAT, Facebook, Polar, NATIVO and more. In addition to those external integrations, Pressboard Studio Enterprise subscribers also have access to the proprietary Pressboard Analytics metrics, which goes beyond the pageview and provides deeper insights into content engagement such as reads, active time and scrolling behavior.
With analytics systems, it is expected there will be some discrepancy in the data collected by each unique platform. When the discrepancy falls outside of expected ranges, say above 15% variance between each tool, this can cause confusion for users comparing results. This article is intended to help teams experiencing traffic data discrepancies between webpage measurement platforms (Pressboard Analytics, Google Analytics and MOAT for example), to troubleshoot these discrepancies, understand the underlying causes, and potentially reconcile the differences.
Most often discrepancies are due to one of the following issues:
- The comparison date range is different between analytics tools
- The analytics tools are implemented on different platforms (ie. mobile apps, AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News)
- Google Analytics is set up to record additional events (ie. special pages, slideshows, galleries etc)
- Tracking scripts are loading at different times on the page (ie. one loads immediately, another load only after page is fully rendered)
Understand how methodologies differ
Let's begin with what constitutes a pageview.
Pageview: An instance of a page being loaded (or reloaded) in a browser or application with the specific analytics provider's tracking code implemented.
In Pressboard, a "read" is achieved when Pressboard's analytics script fully loads on the page, and our analytics code is activated to record the view by the visitor. In Google Analytics a pageview is recorded each time a "pageview" event is recorded through the GA script. In some analytics platforms, a view is recorded each time a 1x1 pixel fires on the page. Although each of these constitutes a "view", the methodology and technology used to record that view will differ significantly.
Step-by-Step Troubleshooting Guide
The team(s) responsible for implementing the various analytics tools at your organization are best suited to determine the cause for a particular discrepancy between your measurement systems, so we ask that you begin by following the below steps with those individuals at your org closest to your Pressboard/Google/MOAT tracking code.
STEP 1: Ensure you are viewing the correct time and date range from each analytics tool
At this point, you've already accessed a report in Pressboard and identified a significant inconsistency with a corresponding report from your other analytics platform. When viewing corresponding reports from separate tools in your dashboard, it's important to carefully consider all of the factors which impact the resulting data. For example, getting the start & end date right and ensuring that each tool is pulling data for the same time zone is an essential first step.
STEP 2: Review the list below with the team(s) responsible for implementing both measurement platforms
CAUSE: Pressboard / Google Analytics / MOAT are implemented across unique platforms. SOLUTION: Check to ensure that both systems are measuring the same platforms. If not, adjust your tracking strategy or change the data pull to ensure alignment across systems.
- Pressboard has specific code for standard websites, infinite scroll sites and AMP pages which may be tracking reader engagement differently than other analytics systems.
- Pressboard's code is considered a "3rd party" script and may be blocked by some analytics blockers, ad blockers and browsers, whereas Google Analytics may not be blocked, especially considering that Google is the maker of Chrome, Android and AMP
CAUSE: Google Analytics is implemented by your analytics team to track custom visitor click events like embedded photo gallery click-through. SOLUTION: Understand the differences between event-based pageview tracking and Pressboard Analytics tracking.
- By default, the Pressboard Analytics script records a pageview the first time our tracking script is called on a page, once per unique page session. If your site makes use of a dynamic page load with single-page app architecture or infinite scroll, it's best practice to use our infinite scroll implementation to ensure that we capture unique pageviews each time a visitor loads a new article page on your site without full DOM refresh. If the Pressboard Analytics infinite scroll script is not implemented on your site, we will not track pageviews for dynamically loaded article content.
- Google Analytics is an event based tracker which allows you to register pageviews on custom visitor events like clicking through embedded photo galleries. This type of action will not be counted toward pageviews in Pressboard by default.
CAUSE: Pressboard / Google Analytics / MOAT tracking scripts do not load at the same time upon a visitor's initial page load for your site. SOLUTION: Work with the team responsible for implementing your analytics tools to understand and reconcile differences between the integrations of each system (Pressboard vs Google Analytics or MOAT tracking tags).
- Best practice is to ensure that your tracking scripts load simultaneously.
- We recommend adjusting your Pressboard Analytics/Google Analytics/MOAT tag implementations to ensure these tracking scripts load at the same time. For pages where the Pressboard script loads slightly later (even milliseconds later), this can cause our system to miss pageviews that are very brief, ending prior to page load completion and thereby evading our tracking. Ensuring that our script loads in parity with your Google Analytics tracking script will prevent this resulting discrepancy.
STEP 3: Adjust your comparison reports and/or analytics code implementation based on your findings from STEP 2 to reconcile the differences between your analytics platforms
If your team finds that...
(A) Pressboard and GA/MOAT are implemented across unique platforms, consider adjusting your implementations to track the same platforms.
(B) Pressboard and GA/MOAT are implemented to register additional pageviews outside of standard page load, adjust the report in your other analytics program to correspond with Pressboard pageviews.
(C) Pressboard and GA/MOAT scripts do not load at the same time, consider adjusting your implementations to ensure parity between your tracking script timing in relation to page load on your site.
A relative difference between analytics tools of 5% - 15% is well within the normal range and should not be considered problematic. Differences above 15% are common but should be evaluated using the above troubleshooting guide to evaluate if additional steps are required.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our support team at any time.