10 reasons why data from Facebook does not match Google Analytics

10 reasons why data from Facebook does not match Google Analytics

As an B2B company, you know that tracking your online performance is one of the most important conditions for online success. Based on this, you can optimize. To evaluate the results from your Marketing and Advertising, you need data. To measure your online performance accurately, we use Google Analytics. However, we found out that our data from Facebook does not match Google Analytics – even though the data is from the same advertising campaign. 

That’s crazy…

And you probably also encounter this.

We did some research and guess what:

Different measurement methods provide different data.

Different measurement methods (trackings) are used to measure the online results of your Facebook campaign. It is important you understand these trackings so you can adjust your results and strategy based on the trackings.

These are the most common reasons why your data from Facebook does not match Google Analytics:

  1. Cross-device conversions
  2. Impressions & Clicks
  3. Clicks & Sessions
  4. UTM Parameters (Referrer Links)
  5. Adblockers
  6. Multiple conversations
  7. Indirect conversations (other clicks)
  8. Difference in time window and Conversion date
  9. Limited number of visits
  10. Facebook-pixel is installed incorrectly

We explain the factors one by one below.

1. Tracking problems due to cross-device conversions

We work on different devices throughout the day. You have your smartphone in your hand all the time and at home you might grab an Ipad. This way, you are exposed to advertisements at different times throughout the day.

Imagine that you are scrolling through your social media and clicking on an advertisement, but at that moment you get interrupted. Later that day you decide to buy the product with your Laptop; that is a cross-device conversion

Cross device conversions

Google Analytics does not measure cross-device conversions.

In that case, Google Analytics will not measure the conversion correctly and you miss important data. A research done by Facebook shows that of all the mobile adds who are converted to a conversion, 35% to 55% convert on desktop.

This means Google Analytics undervalue your mobile conversions with almost ½. Because more than a half of all the advertisements on Facebook are mobile. Cross-device conversions is the main difference between tracking the conversions through Facebook and Google Analytics.

2. Results based on impressions and clicks

Google Analytics gives you data based on cookies and number of clicks. Analytics can’t measure impressions. While impressions can lead to conversions. Research has shown that 90% of the people who saw an advertisement, bought the product in the store but never actually clicked on the advertisement.

Cookies must be enabled before Analytics can measure a visit on the page.

Good to know: Facebook charges every response to your campaign as a click conversion and not as just the link of an advertisement. Google Analytics only calculates the link of the advertisement as click conversion. This creates a difference in the results.

3. Clicks and sessions

In addition to impressions and the number of clicks, there is a difference in the measurement method of clicks and sessions. Google Analytics tracks the number of visitors of a page and the time they spend on the page, while Facebook measures the number of clicks that are before the visit to your website.

4. UTM Parameters (Referrer links)

Google Analytics uses referrer links to show through which medium the conversion was made. A referrer indicates where exactly the visitors of your website come from. When you analyze this, you will also find out on which page they enter your website and how you can achieve them even better.

UTM tags

In 40% of the cases, the referrer is no longer valid because many Facebook users are using “https” (a secure connection) instead of “http”.

So when a Facebook user clicks on your advertisement on Facebook and converse on your website, the referrer is not included because the user has left an “https” page and continuous on the “http” page. That’s why some of the Facebook advertisements are not properly measured.

It is important to have a secure connection on your website. Make sure your website is using https.

The same applies when a Facebook user opens a new tab in another browser and has not completed the conversion by the referrer. For example, when the Facebook user visits your website again after seeing the advertisement.

Google Analytics sees this as a completely new visitor on your website and does not assign the conversion to Facebook.

Nowadays, you can no longer trust that your conversions have resulted from a few sessions.

5. Ad blockers & browser preferences.

Your Facebook tracking pixel will not me tracked if a Facebook user has installed an ad blocker. This ensures that your reporting of the Facebook conversions is not complete.

Browser preferences and settings of your website visitors influence the analysis reports of their page visits. For example, Google Analytics requires JavaScript. In addition, images and cookies must be enabled to successfully report a visit to a page. When a visitors has disabled cookies, you will miss valuable data.

Advertise blocker

6. Multiple conversions

Facebook assigns multiple conversions to the same user. Which again creates differences between the data in Facebook and the data in Google Analytics. A Facebook user can convert more than once. While Google only charges one conversion per user instead of the actual number of conversions.

7. Indirect conversions (other Clicks)

With a Facebook advertisement you can click anywhere: the link, the call-to-action, the title or the response button. That’s why the Facebook user, for example, ends on the Facebook page and still can convert. Facebook measures this conversion as click through conversion, while Google Analytics does not.

8. Difference in time table and conversion date

Facebook counts a conversion if someone makes a purchase within 1 day of seeing an advertisement and within 28 days of a click on an advertisement. Google Analytics doesn’t do this. Therefore you should keep this in mind when you’re making a comparison to other data.

Google Analytics reports at the time of the conversion, while Facebook reports at the time of display or click of the conversion.

We use an example for this:

If an advertisement receives an impression on 10 March and the same Facebook user converts on 14 March, Facebook will report the conversion by default on 10 March. Google Analytics reports the conversion on March 14.

9. Limited number of visits

In addition to the conversion date, you also need to pay attention to the time till the conversion. Google Analytics limits a website visit to one visit every 30 minutes per (unique) visitor. Spam visits are not measured this way, but on the other hand, returning visitors are also left out of consideration within this era.

Facebook does not apply this. When a Facebook user clicks your ad several times within 30 minutes and visits your website, Facebook measures the actual number of clicks. Google Analytics measures this as just one visit.

10. The Facebook pixel has been installed incorrectly

Another reason for data differences between Google Analytics and Facebook may be that you have installed the Facebook pixel on the wrong conversion page.

Because Facebook is not able to know exactly what a conversion is for your company. You have to decide this for Facebook. If the pixel is incorrectly installed, then the data is not accurate.

A common mistake is that the pixel is placed on the landing page. They visit this page when they click on the ad, but this click does not mean that they actually convert.

You only get the correct data when the Facebook pixel is on the page where the visitor comes after they have converted. This is, for example, a thank you page.

Facebook pixel install

What can we conclude?

The data from Facebook does not match Google Analytics, but that doesn’t mean that the data in Facebook or in Google Analytics is right or wrong.

Both programs only use other measuring methods. When you are aware of this, you will understand the data better. Especially after reading this blog, it will be clearer. This way you can also optimize in a more targeted way.

If you have any questions about data from Google Analytics or Facebook, our specialists are always there for you!

Contact us here.

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