Wondering why your Facebook and Google Analytics numbers don’t match?
Clients often ask us why Facebook data doesn’t match up with Google Analytics data, and which one to rely on.
While both platforms have similar features and reports, they are measuring fundamentally different things. When we clearly understand what is being measured, we can better understand how to interpret the results holistically.
1. Facebook Clicks will not always result in Google Analytics Sessions.
A Google Analytics session is when a user has landed on site and is interacting with your page.
Facebook allows you to report on different types of clicks: ‘Clicks’ and ‘Link Clicks’.
Depending on how you are reporting, Facebook Clicks can mean any interaction with the content you are promoting (such as a Like, a click to your Facebook page, or a click on the Call To Action (CTA) link).
Link Clicks measures a click to your landing page and is the metric that should more closely match Analytics Sessions.
Facebook Links Clicks and Analytics Sessions still not matching? Consider site load speed. If a user clicks on the Facebook Ad but exists before the site loads, Analytics won’t record a session, but Facebook will record a link click.
CONNECTED RECOMMENDS: Report on page lands – this will help close the gap!
2. UTM Parameters (for Google Analytics) need to be used holistically
Urchin Traffic Monitors (UTM) are appended to URLs to give Google Analytics (and other analytics tools) insight into the performance of each element of your digital activity. For Analytics to capture and attribute campaigns correctly, every external URL that drives traffic to your site needs to have clear UTMs appended – both paid and organic activity. An EDM or social post missing UTM tracking can mean mis-attributed conversions on site.
CONNECTED RECOMMENDS: Use a UTM Builder to create uniform UTMs for easy site analysis and make sure this is used across all activity including paid and owned to ensure a holistic view.
3. Attribution methods are different in the two platforms
Google Analytics has a default setting to the Last Click model which attributes 100% of the conversion value to the last channel the customer visited before converting.
Facebook default attribution is seven days post-click and one day post-view. Ie. Facebook will report a post-view conversion based on an impression served, even if the user has gone on to click/convert via another channel.
Basic path to conversion examples:
In the above example, SEM drove the last click to the website before the user converted. Google Analytics will measure SEM as having delivered 100% of the conversion.
In this second example, an eDM drove the last click to the website before a conversion took place. However, since the URL didn’t have any UTM tracking, Google Analytics could not record this click. Therefore, Analytics will classify the conversion under Referrer or Direct Sources (vague rather than providing insight into the value of the eDM).
In the above example, Facebook delivered an impression the day before the EDM drove the final click-to-conversion. Through Facebook’s default one-day post-view attribution, Facebook will report driving a conversion.
NB: Facebook uses User ID to attribute cross-device, meaning that if you are logged in to Facebook on your phone and desktop and you see an ad on your phone and then convert via desktop, Facebook will count the conversion.
Two different reporting sources have recorded the one conversion!
CONNECTED RECOMMENDS: Use one platform (eg. Google Analytics) as your primary reporting source. Use in-platform reports (eg. Facebook) to optimise towards best performing strategies and creative and give further insights into your audience.
The above are simplified examples. Connected does not recommend using a single touch point for assessing results; we make decisions and optimise campaigns based on multi touchpoint reporting.
For campaigns that include more than Facebook and Google SEM, we recommend adopting 3rd party Adserving (eg. DCM) to give a more holistic view of activity.
Do you need help setting up or understanding your reporting ecosystem? Connect with us.