Visits and clicks data provided by search engines or ad networks or affiliates do not match the acquisition reports in Matomo?
Sometimes you may get reports from search console tools, or from partners, or affiliates, or from ad networks, about how many clicks they have generated from their website to yours.
When you compare your search console reports provided by the search engines, with the acquisition reports in Matomo, you will notice some small differences in the data which is expected. Below you will find the reasons that can explain the differences between your different data sets.
Comparing clicks with visits
For example when you look in the Google Search Console, or in Bing Webmaster Tools, or in Baidu Webmaster Tools, or in Yandex Webmaster Tools, it will list « Clicks » and « Impressions ». But in Matomo Acquisition reports (such as « Overview » and « All channels » reports), it will « Visits ». One particular « Visit » by a visitor may have clicked several times on search results and the search engines count each of these individual « Clicks » whereas Matomo would count only one « Visit » (assuming they searched within the 30 minutes visit duration). Similarly ad network reporting (Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Instagram Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Youtube Ads, AdRoll) will typically provide impressions and clicks.
Matomo may exclude users who asked not to be tracked (DoNotTrack)
Matomo will not track people using adblockers
Typically some ad blockers will block Matomo tracker from running so Matomo will not be able to track users with Adblockers by default. Meanwhile the search engines and affiliates will still report clicks even from users that use ad blockers. This could sometimes alone explain 5-10% of discrepancy in the data where Matomo may report less visits if your audience uses ad-blockers.
Additionally and to an even lesser extent, there are browsers (used by a small minority of users) that come with special features where the browsers may not send the Referrer URL, or they may remove the UTM/Campaign parameters from clicked URLs, which would then result in visits tracked as « Direct entry » in Matomo.
Some users may be excluded from Matomo using IP address or other ways
There are several ways Matomo can be configured to exclude and ignore some traffic, such as if you have setup IP exclusion rules or User-agent exclusions. But the search engines and affiliates will still report clicks from these users that were ignored in Matomo.
Position of your Matomo Tracking code
</head> tag in your pages. And check that there the scripts in your pages are executing quickly. The faster your page loads, the faster the Matomo tracking code will load and will be more likely to track the visits.
Are you using a redirect on your website landing page?
If you are using a redirect on a landing page, the visitor’s browser may lose the referrer information. If you are tracking campaigns, and the landing page has a redirect, the URL loaded after the redirection will have lost the URL parameters. Make sure that your visitors arrive directly on the page with the Matomo tracking code installed.
Is your website using HTTPS (SSL)?
Most websites these days are running over HTTPS. When someone is visiting another website over HTTPS and clicking on a link to your website, you want to make sure that the link to your website also references the HTTPS version of your website. (If a user on a HTTPS website clicks on a link to a HTTP page, the referrer will not be passed to the HTTP page). Therefore to make sure that all your referrers are correctly tracked in Matomo, you need to make sure that your website works on HTTPS and also that your links from other websites to your website use the HTTPS version of your website URLs.
Make sure you are viewing reports for the correct website and date and that timezones match
In Matomo make sure you selected the same date or date period as you selected in the other tool. Also double check that the Timezone of the Website in Matomo matches the timezone of your other tool and data set.