Google Analytics (GA) vs Doubleclick for Publishers (DFP)


Why do the DFP stats you’ve provided not match the stats I see in my Google Analytics reports?

Google Analytics (GA) is a web analytics tool and is used to analyse visitor activity on a website. Doubleclick for Publishers (DFP) is an ad server and amongst other things is used to track impressions and clicks on ads. DFP will tell you how well your ads performed on our site and GA will tell you what they are doing on your site after they’ve clicked through.

Here is the official advice from Google (who host the DFP platform) on comparing DFP to GA:

As per industry standard, advertisers are not advised to reconcile impression or click numbers between their publisher’s DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) implementation and their own Google Analytics (GA) implementation. In general, these two products measure different metrics at different points in the user funnel and so there are many places where they simply do not count the same action. This can result in a significant discrepancy between DFP and analytics solutions, including Google Analytics (GA).

Frequently Asked Questions:

Briefly, what are the primary functions of DFP and GA?
DFP: Ad management and reporting ad metrics such as clicks and impressions.
GA: Insights on website traffic and where the traffic came from.

How are the two systems different?
Metrics are counted at different points in the click-referral cycle.
DFP counts ad clicks at the source; GA counts pageviews or sessions when a user hits the site.

Why don’t I see any traffic from stuff in my GA reports?

Visits that come to your site via our ads will not necessarily show up as referrals from stuff, since they come via the Doubleclick ad server, not directly from stuff. They may show up under one of the following referral sources instead (this list may not be complete): / referral / referral / referral / referral / referral / referral

If traffic is pushed through via our newsletters the source may instead be tagged as “direct”. This happens when GA cannot read the referral source because it came from an email and not directly from a website.

How can I be sure which traffic came from my ads on stuff?

The only reliable way is to ensure that you supply us with trackable URLs.

Use the GA URL builder to create trackable links here:

The URL builder will pass on the source, medium, campaign name, etc into Google Analytics. When you look in Google Analytics you will see those values showing up under Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns. At the top of the table you can click on Campaign, Source or Medium headings to see any traffic that has come from our ads.
For example, if your website is and you want to track an Advertorial running on the Cuisine newsletter for your Cuisine Wine campaign you could set it up as follows:

Source = cuisine_newsletter
Medium = advertorial
Campaign = cuisine_wine

Plug those values into the URL builder to get this:

In GA, navigate to Acquisitions > Campaigns > All Campaigns and click on the Source header and look for “cuisine_newsletter”, click on the Medium header and look for “advertorial”, click on the Campaign header and look for “cuisine_wine”. The Sessions column tells you how many sessions were created as a result of traffic from the advertorial in the Cuisine Newsletter.


I still don’t see as much traffic as there should be

Google Analytics measures traffic differently to DFP. For example, if a user clicks on an ad multiple times within a 30-min window each click will be counted separately in DFP but only counted as one session (or page view) in Google Analytics. In this case you may see a higher number of clicks compared to pageviews in GA.

Also, if a visitor closes their browser as soon as they reach your site, we will count that as a click but the pageview might not be counted in GA. In this case you may see a higher number of clicks compared to pageviews in GA.

DFP automatically filters out traffic from robots and spiders – this may result in lower clicks recorded by DFP but higher pageviews in GA.

Setting up Google Analytics correctly

In addition to the above, you need to make sure that Google Analytics is set up correctly. An incorrect implementation or filtered profiles may affect your ability to see the traffic that has been directed to your site.

To check that your GA implementation has been set up correctly you should check with the person(s) who set up your GA account/profiles.

Some of the most common setup mistakes are listed here:

Ensure you are using an unfiltered view

Google Analytics can be set up to filter out certain types of traffic. This can affect the profiles that you view in GA. Check that you are looking at an unfiltered view.

To check for filters that might be affecting your data, click on the name of the view in the top left-hand corner of the report. This will open a drop-down where all the views that are available under that property are listed. Look for any view that may be unfiltered.


If you have Admin access to your GA account, then click on the Admin menu (at top of screen), navigate to your Account, Property and View. Click on Filters and look for any filter that has been added.

Learn how to create filters to control your report data.