Travelers411 Analytics FAQ
Why doesn't my analytics software match Travelers411 click traffic reporting?
The Travelers411 Banner Ad implementation uses a combination of SSL and 301 Redirects which may make it difficult or impossible for 3rd party websites and analytics tools to determine referring traffic.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. The tell tale indicator for an SSL website is that the URL starts with "https". This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remain private. Part of the SSL specification is designed to protect user information and a side-effect is to obfuscate the referring site when a user clicks a link from an SSL website to an external endpoint URL. In cases where a Travelers411 website is using SSL, it should be considered normal not to see referrer information in your server logs indicating Travelers411 as the originating referrer.
Some 3rd party analytics tools may classify traffic from a 301 redirect or an SSL website as "direct" traffic. Direct traffic would be similar to a user directly entering your website URL into their browser. Since we are using redirects, you might see what looks like an increase in direct traffic.
Travelers411 tracks click data based on user interaction on Travelers411 websites not based on activity on your website. A discrepancy between clicks generated on a Travelers411 website and the successful load of a URL on a 3rd party endpoint website are to be expected and can happen for many reasons including: the endpoint URL website is down; the user's ISP is unable to connect to the endpoint; the user cancels the HTTP request after clicking on the ad, but before arriving at the endpoint URL; the user's browser has ad blocking or redirect blocking technology enabled which either cancels or blocks the HTTP request or signals a user alert prompt to continue, which the user declines.
Other possible reasons a particular analytics tool may not record traffic is that the tool has been designed to not report on various IP addresses, geo-locations, user-agents (such as mobile, webTV, etc.), browsers with certain features like Java Script disabled, or any other number of reasons.
If your websites server logs are available, they may include information to help isolate traffic to your website that is associated with a Travelers411 banner ad campaign, especially if the campaign is using a unique URL for the landing page or we have included a tracking query (such as ?ref=travelers411) in the URL. For this reason we suggest that you use a landing page URL for your ads that is unique to a particular campaign. Also note that Travelers411 analytics are based on the PST time zone. If the analytics tool is not using PST as the time zone this would cause a disparity in results.
How can I search my server's data logs to find referred traffic?
Depending on the specific technology your web server is using and how it is configured to log traffic, the raw server logs might show entries such as this:
In the above example the xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx represents the IP address of a user requesting data from the Travelers411 website, the page requested, and some other information about the user's browser and operating system. In this case the requested page was: https://www.travelers411.com/directory/listing.php?minisite=san-francisco
To help advertisers track their campaigns click through rate on their own systems we will sometimes include what is called a "tracking query" in the endpoint URL address we associate with banner ads.
A tracking query is a harmless piece of text that is added to the end of a URL that can help identify where a request came from. For instance, if a banner ad is setup to link to http://www.mywebsite.com, we might add "?ref=travelers411" to the end of that URL so the complete URL request looks like this: http://www.mywebsite.com/?ref=travelers411.
In this way, if you search your logs for "travelers411" OR "ref=travelers411" OR "http://www.mywebsite.com/?ref=travelers411" you may be able to analyze traffic originating from a Travelers411 advertising campaign.
Since many 3rd party analytics tools have trouble identifying traffic originating from SSL websites and as the result of HTTP REDIRECT techniques, use of a tracking query or a unique landing page only associated with Travelers411 banner ads, can be a valuable tool for analysis.
Click-through rates greater than 100 percent?
Travelers411 analyzes traffic in one-day blocks. This click-reporting technique occasionally results in click-through rates of greater than 100 percent. For example, an impression might occur during “day 1,” and its corresponding click might occur during “day 2.” When this happens, the “day 1” report will contain 1 impression and 0 clicks, and the “day 2” report will contain 1 click and 0 impressions.