You’re doing all the right things for your business. Not only are you maintaining your social media presence across all platforms, but you’ve gotten into the ADs game and are excited to see the results that will help your business to grow. Except, now here you are looking at both the Facebook insights and Google analytics- and it’s not matching up- so what gives?
Well, in short, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. It’s not that either is truly wrong, but it is true that the data doesn’t perfectly align. To the untrained eye it can seem as though Facebook is OVER reporting, and that Google is UNDER reporting, so we’re going to help shed some light on tracking your data and how to understand the differences between the two.
Depends on the Device
One of the biggest reasons for discrepancies between the two analytics comes simply from how we use technology today. Google analytics works by way of tracking cookies and can only track on the same device that the cookie was dropped. That means if you were to look at an ad on one device but then purchase on another later that day or week, Google wouldn’t be able to consider that a converted ad.
Conversely, Facebook is able to track ad conversions to individual users as long as they are logged into their Facebook accounts. That means, should you see and click an ad on Facebook on your phone, but then follow through with the purchase on your laptop, Facebook will still track and count that conversion- causing a difference in the data that you look at.
Another major difference comes down to how many times an ad is considered converted. For instance, with Google, you only get one-per-click attribution for an ad, no matter how many conversions actually came from said ad.
With Facebook, however, the number of attributions reflects the number of actual conversions from that ad.
Impressions, Clicks and Sessions
For Google, a conversion happens when the actual link is clicked within the ad, unlike with Facebook that allows you to click literally any aspect of the ad and still track it as a conversion, as long as you have successfully converted through that ad.
Finally, in regards to clicks and sessions, here again Facebook and Google Analytics vary greatly. With Facebook, should a user click your post twice in a 30-minute period, you will see 2 click counts, unlike Google that would consider it only one session all together.
Because Google Analytics has a 100% last click attribution model by default and Facebook runs on a 24-hour view and 28-day click through window, the two sets of data will never match up.
Even though Google attributes 100% of the conversion to the device or method they last viewed the ad on prior to buying, there are ways to adjust your Facebook attribution window to close the gap in data. To do so, click “customize columns” and choose your desired window of attribution.
These are just a few of the ways that Google Analytics and Facebook Insights vary in your reporting. While other factors contribute to the gap in information, such as conversion dates or software that block ads on your devices, the above reasons will help to provide a better understanding. It’s important to remember that though Facebook will show slightly higher results and Google will seemingly under report, the two still tend to meet in the middle in their own ways. Continue using the data tracking reports to get the very best glimpses of how your ads are converting and tweak them as time passes to get the best results possible.
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