7 Reasons For LinkedIn Ad Conversion Discrepancies

As an account manager who works with many B2B clients, I was excited when LinkedIn Ads announced the launch of conversion tracking in their campaign manager last year. We were finally given a way to measure the impact of our advertising campaigns right in the interface.

However, as I started reporting the numbers I was seeing in LinkedIn’s campaign manager to clients, we started to notice some issues. One client was seeing roughly double the number of conversions in their CRM compared to what was being reported in the LinkedIn interface. Google Analytics numbers aligned with their CRM, so we knew LinkedIn was the outlier.

I would rather be under reporting than over reporting results to clients, but ideally, I’d like to report an accurate amount of leads.

If you are noticing conversion discrepancies in LinkedIn, here is what to check first:

Conversion Actions Added to Each Campaign

When you create a new campaign in LinkedIn, you must select at least one conversion you want to track in your campaign. Adding a conversion is optional, so it’s possible to create and save a campaign without selecting a conversion.

If your campaign has never tracked a conversion, this could be the cause. To check if you’ve added a conversion action to a campaign, click into the campaign and select Edit conversions from the Edit drop down menu. If no actions have a check box selected, this means the campaign is not tracking any conversions.

Insight Tag Properly Installed

The Insight tag should be installed on every page of your website, so all web pages where the conversion is being tracked. You can view the source code of the web page where conversions should be firing to see if the Insight tag is present.

Conversion URL Setup Correctly

I always double check that I have correctly defined my conversion action if I am noticing any issues. With LinkedIn tracking, you can exclude http:// and https:// but only include “www” if it actually appears in your URL when a visitor goes to the page. If not, your conversions won’t track.

If the Insight tag is installed across your site and you’ve correctly set up and assigned conversions to your campaigns, then the cause of the discrepancies is likely one of the following:

Conversion De-duplication

LinkedIn will de-duplicate if a person completes the same conversion action within one campaign on two different creatives within a 30-day period. To avoid this, it is recommended to separate your different conversion URLs into different conversion actions if they represent unique offers. For example, instead of having “demos” as a conversion action with product 1 demo, product 2 demo, etc all under one conversion, separate them out.

LinkedIn will not de-duplicate conversions between campaigns or any conversions categorized as Purchase or Add to Cart.

Reporting Time Zone

LinkedIn Ads reports use Universal Time (UTC, sometimes known as Greenwich Mean Time or GMT) so data may not match up with your local time zone. Also, keep this in mind when it comes to scheduling campaign end dates. Any campaigns with an end date will stop running at 11:59 PM UTC.

Organic Conversions

LinkedIn does not currently track any conversions that are a result of viral or organic impressions or clicks. What this means is if a user clicks a LinkedIn ad due to another user liking, commenting, or sharing and then converts, this won’t be tracked in Campaign Manager.

First Party vs. Third Party Cookies

LinkedIn uses a third-party cookie system to gather conversion data. Google Analytics, by contrast, is a first-party cookie system. The difference between first and third-party cookie is only a matter of which domain a browser is pointed toward.

Any browser that is set to not accept third-party cookies won’t be tracked by LinkedIn. Safari mobile browser and Apple Mobile Devices are set to block third-party cookies.

I looked in our Google Analytics to see how many of our conversions were coming from Safari and quickly realized this was the cause of our discrepancy.

 

Because of third-party cookie blocking, none of these 7 conversions were tracking in LinkedIn. If you have a lot of mobile or Safari traffic, this could likely be the cause of your conversion discrepancies.

Hopefully, this list helps uncover any conversion discrepancy issues you are seeing in LinkedIn. In reporting to clients, I rely on Google Analytics or their back-end system instead of conversions reported in Campaign Manager, since those numbers are accurate.

What do you check on LinkedIn campaigns when you’re troubleshooting tracking issues? We’d love to hear your suggestions or questions in the comments!

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