Conversion Data Reporting: Facebook vs Google Analytics

Marketers have been struggling to match conversion data reports between Google Analytics and Facebook. This is because both have different attribution models and calculates marketing touchpoints in their own ways.  

Learn below how Google Analytics and Facebook measure different metrics and get a clearer picture of their impact on conversion .

Clicks and Impressions

Google uses the last click attribution model. In other words, it credits the last place a user clicked on before buying the product. 

For example:

Sydney was browsing for a new pair of reading glasses on his phone. He came across a reading glasses ad on Facebook but decided to go offline. Later that day, he searched directly on Google and clicked on one of the ads. It directed him to the website where he purchased. Google Analytics will attribute this conversion to the PPC ad.

On the other hand, Facebook tracks conversions via view-through and click-through tracking. The last click or view of an ad prior to a conversion, within the selected attribution window counts the conversion.

Facebook takes credit for a conversion even if a Facebook user only sees the Facebook ad without clicking it, then visits the website and makes a purchase. 

For example:

Madrid was browsing for a new pair of shoes on his phone. He came across a shoe ad on Facebook and clicked on it. After two weeks, he went to the website and decided to purchase. Facebook counts it as a conversion because he clicked on the ad and he purchased within the default 28-day or 24-hour attribution window.

Note: Analyze multi-channel funnel reports in Google Analytics to pinpoint how Facebook is guiding visitors to the purchase path conversion. Also, it is better to disable view-through attribution in Facebook. 

JavaScript Snippets

There is another major difference between Facebook and Google Analytics tracking. 

Google uses a JavaScript snippet called ‘Cookies’. However, if a user cleared or decided not to accept the Cookies, Google can’t accurately track the user’s conversion that happened on the website.

On the contrary, a user doesn’t need to accept anything with Facebook Pixel — a code embedded on the website for conversion tracking. So, if the pixel code didn’t load on the user’s browser, Facebook won’t record a conversion.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Multi-Device Conversions

Google Analytics tracks conversion paths by assigning a unique client ID to each visitor. Hence, it can identify new vs. returning visitors. Google acknowledges a single device as a touch point for tracking. Suppose if a person used a tablet and later their smartphone to access the same site or landing page, then they’ll be given two unique IDs.

While Facebook can track multiple touch points and multiple devices because it monitors social media activity of each user who needs to be logged in to browse.

Facebook tracks cross-device conversions better than Google. This is because Google installs a single-location cookie to track a user’s activity on a single device, Facebook tracks activity using its Facebook profiles and Facebook Pixel.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sessions vs Clicks

Clicks are not the same as sessions. 

When a user clicks on the Facebook post twice within a 30-minute window and comes to the website twice, Google counts it as one session, while Facebook counts it as two sessions.

Furthermore, a user may become inactive inside the website and re-engage after 30 minutes, Facebook will count one click and Google two.

Lastly, when a user accidentally clicks on a Facebook post and immediately clicks out of the still-loading landing page, Google Analytics may not have time to record a session.

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu on Pexels.com

Immediate Exit

Adding upon the earlier point, there are instances of users clicking the Facebook Ad and quickly leaving or moving to another site before Google triggers the JavaScript code. In such cases, Facebook counts this click as a conversion but Google can’t.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Google Analytics and Facebook conversions data will never match since they both serve distinct goals. Google Analytics helps optimise website traffic, and Facebook provides a robust platform for advertisement.

Did I explain it thoroughly? What do you think? Do you use any of these reports to analyze your traffic sources? 

References:

https://www.windsor.ai/match-facebook-conversions-to-google-analytics-data/

https://www.windsor.ai/facebook-vs-google-analytics-how-to-evaluate-facebooks-performance/

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