It’s an undeniable fact that your Google Analytics and Facebook data will always be unmatched however, both are crucial in tracking overall performance of the social campaigns, aimed at maximising success. But what’s the reason behind the unmatched data? Read on to find out.
1. Cross Device Modifications
People nowadays use multiple devices to conduct online searches, carry out transactions or simply to have the best of user journey experience through multiple touchpoints so on. A simple example can be of a mobile search performed on the go where you actually clicked an ad but didn’t convert.
Later on, you simply visited the product’s official website through the desktop computer. Google Analytics is unable to factor the conversion back to the initial click through the mobile device thus returns a different result.
On the contrary, Facebook can actually track conversions directly back to the users rather than cookies. It enables tracking the same user across multiple devices as long as they’re signed-in to their Facebook account. In comparison, Google Analytics rely on cookies which means all the tracking takes place on the browser where cookie has been dropped.
2. Clicks & Impressions
If cookies have been disabled, tracking users through Google Analytics isn’t possible and considered an actual ‘conversion’ even if the ad is clicked without any further transaction. With Facebook however, a typical user can still be tracked and able to click any particular section of the ad.
On clearing the cookies, all the user data will be saved in the Google Analytics but for Facebook, it can be cleared from the custom audiences. GA can also backdate the data unlike Facebook which gathers information from the very day audiences are being set up.
3. Sessions vs. Clicks
Marketers have always been concerned about this particular factor:
“Why Facebook clicks don’t match Google Analytics session report?”
This is because if a typical user clicks on a Facebook post multiple times within 30-minutes, Google Analytics will track it as one session. Case with Facebook is different as it considers this more than a single click that is; ‘one Google Analytics session and two Facebook clicks’
When a user visits the website, clicks on the Facebook’s post but, become inactive for the next 30-minutes before reengaging, this’ll be considered as two separate sessions by Google. Whereas Facebook only report against a single click where one click equals two sessions.
Just in case a user unintentionally clicks on the Facebook ad but moves away to another page quickly, it’s possible Google Analytics might haven’t recorded the click as the page haven’t fully loaded.
4. UTM Protocols
Referrer URLS are used to acknowledge conversions back to the ads in Google Analytics. With Facebook, users browse via ‘https’ rather than ‘http’ which means that if a visitor clicks on the Facebook ad and leaves only to convert on an ‘http’ website, it’ll be unrecorded since a secure environment has been abandoned. All of it would again lead to underreported conversions.
5. Several Conversions
In social media marketing, it’s worth noting that Google Analytics allow only one-per-click attribution which means only a single conversion is being recorded irrespective to the actual number. If a user sees, clicks and converts against an ad multiple times, Facebook can actually attribute it to multiple conversions back against the last viewed or clicked ad.
6. Attribution Window
24-hour and 28-day click-through window conversions are attributed by Facebook conversion measurement. Any assessment against other tracking data must be exact according to the same attribution window.
Google Analytics on the other hand, consider the last interaction model, attributing 100% conversion value to the last channel customer has interacted with just before the actual buying or conversion.
With Facebook, you can update the attribution window by clicking on the Customisation Columns and select the window most suitable to your needs.
7. Date of Conversion
Facebook actually reports at the time a view or click of the conversion occurs. Intermediary tracking tools, on the contrary, usually report only at the time of conversion which can be confusing to those new to social media marketing.
8. Ad Blocking Software Extension
In case a user has ad-block extension or software installed in the browser, the conversion pixels wouldn’t be activate causing undercounting of the conversions which means the report data would show less number than the actual internal data.
The above are some of the core reasons we see difference in Facebook insights and that of the Google Analytics data. It’s important to understand all these variations to ensure accuracy of the data as well as to ensure tracking the right set of information. On noting the discrepancies, be sure tracing back to the original source and confirm from multiple endpoints.
More Related Article on Google Adwords Pro Guide