I am seeing very inconsistent behavior in visit count when seeing Campaign traffic in Target vs SC. For example, for 1 A/B test, Target is showing ~18K visits for test experience while Ad-hoc tool shows 300 visits. I know everyone says there will be a difference but is there any documentation or explanation on why there is difference and how much to expect?
Discrepancy in the numbers from Analytics vs Target when using a shared audience is caused by an incorrect expectation of how the shared Analytics Audience should work. We need to make sure we set correct expectations of how this is designed to work because most of the time it is not how the end user expects it to function.
Key points to take note of:
1. No visitor will qualify for the Campaign the first time they match the criteria for the Analytics Segment/Audience. The first time they match is used by the system to catalog and classify them.
2. They can only qualify if they return a subsequent time and it has to be 24-48hrs later. Only at that point will they trigger the Campaign based on that Analytics Segment/Audience.
3. Keep in mind that visitors and visits are always counted in Analytics regardless if we get into the campaign or not.
This is actually working as designed. Analytics Segments/Audiences are best used when targeting visitors who have performed an action at some point, but not for immediate targeting as soon as the action is taken.
This is why if you have a very simple Segment/Audience built in Analytics if you were to compare the number of instances for that report with the number of instances for your Campaign/Activity you can always expect the Analytics report to have larger number of instances than the Campaign/Activity report. It is virtually impossible for them to ever match simply because of the way Analytics Segments/Audiences currently work.”