You may notice that Ascend and your analytics platform capture information differently. Ascend and common analytics platforms are each optimized to provide different pieces of information. In the case of Ascend - the system needs the appropriate data to inform evolution as to winners and losers - and that is about it. The concept of bounce rates, average session duration, or a number of other common third party analytics features just do not matter to the Ascend platform. As a result, you may see discrepancies in your data between the two platforms, even if they’re integrated.
As a simple example, if you’re tracking clicks on a “Sign Up Now” button and the same unique visitor clicks it 10 times, Ascend will only count that as a single conversion. Ascend counts visitors this way because it analyzes data from the perspective of a unique visitor’s behavior. Your analytics platform, on the other hand, may count that as 10 conversions. This is because Ascend and your analytics platform need to dissect data differently for their respective purposes.
Integrating Ascend with your analytics platform will help you view your experiment data within the context of the analytics you already collect. This will give you a much greater insight into whether the numbers are trending in the same direction.
A primary reason for a discrepancy between for instance, your Google Analytics numbers and Ascends results boils down to the way a “visitor” is counted.
For instance, Google Analytics uses a tracking call that is session based, meaning a single visitor can trigger multiple visits over a given period of time.
Ascend, on the other hand, uses a 10 year cookie and counts unique users.
For additional information on Google’s sessions, check out their support article on the issue.
Finally, there additionally may be variance due to the means in which either system detects commonly known web crawlers and spiders. Sentient Ascend utilizes the Interactive Advertising Bureau international spiders and bots list, while a tool like Google Analytics will use a proprietary means of bot identification mechanisms which they do not expose to the public.