Discrepancy Troubleshooting

Discrepancies can appear between many platforms across programmatic and for a number of reasons. Here are a few of the most common reasons that will allow you to identify root cause of discrepancies in a quick fashion:

Impression Discrepancies:

  1. Confirm the timezone of the report pulled via the third party platform is in the same timezone as Beeswax reporting. By default, Beeswax will pull reports in the timezone set at Account level. You can use the 'Timezone Override' functionality in the Query Tool to choose to run the report using a different timezone on an ad hoc basis.
  2. Beeswax handling of MRAID impressions on isViewable(). Certain exchanges are configured to track MRAID impressions on the “isViewable” event - on these exchanges, Beeswax will track impressions only when the isViewable event is triggered. For third party impression trackers applied to the creative via a pixel, pixels instead fire when the creative markup is rendered. As Beeswax will record an impression only when the creative has been flagged as viewable, this will typically be the reason for these pixels reporting a greater amount of impressions than Beeswax. 
  3. Impression pixel implementation. The correct way of implementing impression pixel or script URLs is to either put them in the Pixels and Scripts section within the Creative pane, or directly in the Creative Content (HTML) wrapped in <img src> (for pixel URLs) or <script src> (for JavaScript). If a third party impression tracker is seeing zero fires, it is likely they have not been implemented correctly.
  4. Impression deduplication on auction_id. Beeswax deduplicates impressions by Auction ID in the win-logs and Query Tool in Buzz reporting. Check that the third party tracking is also deduplicating their numbers. If not, see if the third party can ingest the Beeswax auction_id via the {{AUCTION_ID}} macro, which will allow you to manually deduplicate prior to comparing the two data sets.
  5. Invalid Impression Filtering. Many 3rd party ad servers (notably DCM/Google Campaign Manager) will discard impressions they’ve determined to be from fraudulent / invalid sources. Beeswax does not have any such filtering - try looking up / requesting counts of invalid impressions from your ad server, to see if they roughly equal the number of discrepant impressions.

Click Discrepancies:

  1. Check that the third-party clicktracker is correctly implemented. If the third party tracker is showing zero fires for a certain creative or set of creatives, use a web debugging tool such as Charles to ensure the tracker in question has been included in the click chain. 
  2. Check if the rendering and click-through functionality of the creative is working correctly. Ensure the creative is rendering correctly and also clicking through. Check when the clicks may have ceased being recorded in the third party platform, and compare this to the Creative’s activity log in both Beeswax as well as in the Adserver (if applicable).
  3. Ensure correct Beeswax macro placement. If zero clicks are being recorded in Beeswax over a large number of impressions and you are using a third party ad server, ensure you have placed the Beeswax Click macro in the correct location. Please feel free to reach out to Beeswax support if you are unsure.

Typical Discrepancy Troubleshooting Strategies

The common approach to take when troubleshooting is to group the data by certain fields which may have a bearing on the environment in which the ad is rendering. Look for high percentage differences across a specific item. For example, there may be a single mobile app or site on which 40% of the impressions were delivered, but this app may have encountered much higher discrepancies than all the others skewing the overall discrepancy. The kind of fields you would try grouping by may include:

  • Inventory Source
  • App Bundle
  • Publisher
  • Site ID
  • App ID
  • Operating System
  • Device Model
  • Browser

A short-term solution may be to exclude the offending item from targeting.

To ensure you or Beeswax will be able to determine if any of the above attributes may be the root cause of discrepancies, it is required that you utilize macros to pass the data about those attributes into the third party tracker.

Contacting Beeswax Support

When reaching out to Beeswax Support, it is important to provide enough data for Support to conduct a clear side-by-side comparison of the two data sets. If you are unable to get to the root cause of the discrepancy, and require Beeswax Support’s help in troubleshooting the issue, please provide the following (if available):

  • Beeswax and third party reporting with matching date range and filters.
  • If using the Buzz Query Tool, a screenshot of the "Request Summary" section detailing the fields, metrics and filters of the report you have sent over
  • The filtering criteria (e.g. Campaign ID, Line Item ID, date range)
  • If possible, log-level impressions/clicks containing the auction_id.
  • Creative ID(s) in question, where tracking is applied.

For further reading on the prevalence of discrepancies in the industry, see the following whitepaper by the IAB:

https://www.iab.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Mobile_Discrepancies_2_0.pdf

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