Understanding Google Analytics and Facebook Conversions
If you use Facebook Ads Reporting along with Google Analytics to accurately measure your Facebook Advertising ROI, you have probably noticed that the numbers just do not add up.
Facebook’s and Google’s statistics can vary greatly for exactly the same ad—with Facebook seemingly “over reporting” its success rates whereas Google under reports it.
In conclusion, both of these assumptions are way off the actual mark.
Neither Facebook nor Google is wrong, per say. They simply characterize conversion sources differently—and understanding these key differences is crucial to accurate reporting (as well as extracting accurate insights from that reporting.)
Google Analytics vs. Facebook Attribution
There are a couple of reasons for the paramount difference between Google Analytics and Facebook Ads Reporting.
The First such reason would be Google’s “last-click” attribution model. This particular model essentially means that Google would give credit to whatever ad a user saw last before completing a conversion.
Say you saw a Facebook ad for a new T-shirt. You clicked on it and went to the website selling this T-shirt. But before you could purchase the shirt, you suddenly had to run to an urgent meeting. Later that afternoon, you came back home to your computer/laptop, searched for the T-shirt by name, clicked on a search ad and finally ended up buying the product. As you had clicked on that search ad last, Google would get credit for the conversion—not Facebook—even though the Facebook ad had technically provided the initial visibility to the websites product.
As I had previously mentioned, it isn’t necessarily the “wrong” method for attributing a conversion. It technically is correct, but it does not exactly provide an accurate insight on how effective the ad is.
In order to get a better grasp on where your conversions are coming from (view through or click through conversions) – you can customize your columns within Facebook’s Ad Manager and segment data based on: 1 day view & 28 day click.
What does that mean exactly? I hear you ask.
Well, in the previous example (your purchase of the T-shirt)—with the 28 day click in place – even if it had been a few weeks after clicking that Facebook ad—the conversion would be attributed to Facebook and not Google.
And as for the 1 day view, if you now view (but do not click on the Facebook ad), but later go to the website to purchase the shirt again (all of this within the course of a day), then Facebook will get credit for that conversion as well!
Do keep in mind, in your Facebook Ads Manager the default attribution reporting is 1 day view, 28 day click but you can customize your comparing windows if you want to, as seen in the example below:
What you should Do About it
Knowing these differences, what is the key to Accurate Facebook Google Analytics Attribution Reporting?
Do you simply skip one platform’s insights and only use the other? Or is there a way to make them work together in harmony?
Though there’s no such method to make Facebook Ads Reporting and Google Analytics show the exact same results for your ads, there are however, a few things you could do to get the numbers closer together.
One thing you could do is opt out of the view through conversions, allowing Facebook to only track post-click ones. This ensures that both platforms are at least only attributing to the same type of conversion.
However, you shouldn’t completely diminish the value of view-though metrics in your mind as Facebook is often used to target the upper most portion of the marketing funnel, generate brand awareness, and increase traffic.
You also have to take into consideration the amount of new traffic being generated via Facebook that is potentially converting through organic or search.
If you are only intent on focusing on Facebook Advertising, Facebook Ads Reporting can give you pretty neat insights into how your campaigns are performing—just make sure you know exactly what data you’re being fed and how Facebook is gathering it.
The commonly recommended, and best method would be to stick with Facebook’s default setting for the 1 day view, and 28 day click mentioned earlier, however, do remember to cross reference it with Google Analytics data (for proper information on the last click).
I hope this might have helped you understand the Digital World a little better. Please feel free to comment below for any further queries you may have on the topic.