Have you ever struggled to understand why the data you see on Facebook reporting and Google Analytics differs? Would you like to know more about what is causing these discrepancies? Hopefully today I will help you shed some light into it. One if not the major cause for discrepancies between Facebook and Google reporting is the way they attribute conversions.
Facebook Attribution Model
By default, the attribution model on Facebook will track and report any conversion that involves the customer interacting with an ad and then converting. For example, a user clicks on your Facebook ad but does not convert, later on that day (or even few days later) the user decides to search for your brand on Google, clicks on your Google ad and makes a purchase. Facebook will still attribute that conversion to itself. And this is why you are more likely to see a higher number of conversions on Facebook reporting than Google Analytics.
In the default attribution model, Facebook also includes view-through conversions. Meaning that if a user does not even click on your ad but only views it and then converts through a different platform within a period of 24 hours, Facebook will still attribute that conversion to itself. However, these type of view-through conversions will never be tracked in Google Analytics.
Google Analytics Attribution Model
On the other hand, Google Analytics tracks conversions based on a last-touch model. If we look at the example above, a user that clicks on an ad on Facebook but ends up converting through Google ads. Google Analytics will attribute that conversion to Google ads only.
Based just on this, you will already have a major discrepancy within your reports. But another cause for discrepancies in the reports is due to cross-devices conversions. Facebook is able to track users across different devices or browsers as long as they are signed into their Facebook profile. While Google relies purely on cookies. Meaning that if the same user makes two separate actions through a different browser or device, Google Analytics will attribute it as two different users.
So, what can you do to avoid these discrepancies between Facebook and Google? Well unfortunately not a lot can be done. There will always be a difference in the reporting at some level, but if you wish to close the gap between the two, you can try the following:
- Always make sure that both Facebook pixel and GA tag are installed correctly and there are no technical issues affecting the reports.
- Remove view-through conversions from Facebook, this will already show you a much closer data to Google Analytics.
- Use the multi-channel report from Google Analytics.
It will help you understand the assisted conversions from different platforms and how much Facebook ads have influenced those conversions.
Finally, I would like to add that it is very important to understand that Google Analytics and Facebook are two separate tools. They use different tracking methods and they report conversions differently. Due to reporting differently, both should be seen as complementary platforms, that together they provide a bigger picture and understanding of your business advertising. There is no reason to worry about them matching a 100%.
And one last thing before I finish, if you are spending over $500 a day and you want to scale your brand. Book a call below:
That is it from me until next time 😉