Publishers and advertisers usually use third-party independent ad servers to manage their advertising campaigns. Due to the differences in click/impression counting between those systems and the common causes outlined below – reporting from the different systems in the ad-serving stack will rarely match. This difference in impression delivery or click-recording is referred to as a “third-party discrepancy”. While there are possibilities to reduce the probability of a discrepancy, troubleshooting discrepancies is necessary when its percentage exceeds a standard acceptable range.

Discrepancies between TargeAd reporting and a third-party ad servers should not exceed 10-15%. If you’re seeing a higher discrepancy rate, you should analyze the various underlying points in your ad campaign(s) and attempt to localize and resolve the problem.


Validating issues with multi-party consistency within reporting: Date range, Time zone, counting methodology, behavior validation such as bot/fraud activites.

End-user settings: Are images or JavaScript disabled? Are users utilizing ad-blocking software/extensions that interfere with network calls?

Browser, Platform and Device: Does your ad render across all devices, operating systems, and browsers and in the correct format/size?

Supported creative formats: What creative formats does the inventory provider rendering the TargeAd tag allow? (i.e. ‘rich media’, expansions, image file-types, link tags, 3rd-party URLs, 3rd-party JS/HTML)

Geography: distance from ad server fulfilling ad calls, CDN blacklisting, geographic patterns.

Tag Manipulation: copy-paste errors, replace-all errors, non-standard characters/encoding, text corruption during processing and file format changes.

Ad Serving Sequence: latency, intermediary ad calls, session length, caching, drop-off/bounce rate.

Human Error: incorrect traffic settings (date, geo, device, sites), incorrect pixel association, incorrect macro implementation.

Third-party cache busting: TargeAd has an embedded cache-busting functionality – one just need to add {cb} parameter for the campaign.


Differences in counting methodology across vendors.

Inconsistent or Incorrect reporting settings across vendors.

Poor or non-singular naming conventions within reporting (failure to include variant dimensions and unique naming-conventions).

Incomplete data sets or reporting pulls (i.e. date range, custom dimensions).


The common root causes of discrepancies are nothing the industry hasn’t dealt with before, just with a few new obstacles mixed in. As long as test campaign launches are not rushed and necessary time is provided for testing and review by all parties involved, discrepancies should be within an acceptable range. As you work through investigations and discover new trends and root causes – share them with your team for future reference, specific to your trafficking intent and approach.


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