PPC | August 8, 2017

Why Facebook’s Conversion Data Does Not Match Google Analytics’

Facebook ad sales topped $9 billion last quarter (around £7 billion), so it comes as no surprise that advertisers are increasingly incorporating Facebook into their marketing strategies. In fact, five new profiles are created every second.

However, there lies a problem. As the number of Facebook advertisers grows, as does confusion over why Facebook conversion data does not match what Google Analytics says.
If you’re wondering about this, read on. Our PPC Specialist, Alix Charles, breaks this down and explains all below.

What is Facebook’s Pixel?

pixelThe Facebook ‘pixel’ is a piece of code that gets implemented into an advertiser’s website and helps you to measure the effectiveness of your advertising. It helps you to ensure your ads are shown to the right people and to unlock additional Facebook advertising tools.

Similar to that of Analytics, this comes with a pixel analytics tool and interface that allows you to measure the effectiveness of your advertising with stats on conversions, cart abandoners and product views.

Why Does the Facebook Pixel Report Differently to Google Analytics?

1. Facebook takes credit for all sales where there has been some interaction with a Facebook ad

When there has been a conversion, Facebook attributes the activity to the advert that saw the last click from that user, or the last ad that was viewed if no clicks took place.

The difference here is if someone used another channel to convert, Facebook would still take credit for it. Whereas Analytics might consider this an ‘assisted conversion’ if attributing it to Facebook at all.

For example:

a) A person clicks on an ad for pink trainers on Facebook but, upon reaching the site, decides they don’t want to buy them after all.
b) A day later, they change their mind, look for the item and site on Google, click on a Google Shopping ad and make a purchase on the same website.
c) Analytics will say that came from Google Shopping, Facebook’s stats will claim the conversion came from them.

2. Analytics doesn’t measure view-through conversions…

… Facebook, however, does. If an ad has been served on Facebook (but not necessarily had any interaction) and a purchase was made by that person, Facebook will consider it as a conversion. Analytics uses cookie-tracking meaning it can’t measure this.

3. Facebook uses Cross-Device

It can be considered one of Facebook’s biggest advantages over its competition; Facebook uses cross-device targeting, effectively meaning it targets the person as a user rather than tracking a user by cookies.

For example:

a) A person clicks on an ad for pink trainers on the Facebook app on their phone whilst waiting for their train.
b) Upon reaching the site, they like the product but don’t want to whip out their plastic in public (I mean they don’t want people to see their credit card details).
c) They get home, fire up their laptop and purchase the trainers from the site by going directly to it.
d) Facebook considers this as their conversion as it can see that person has bought after clicking on an ad. Analytics wouldn’t recognise this and most likely consider this as a ‘direct conversion’.

So, What’s the Solution?

Well, measure both.

Utilise UTM tags (amends to a URL) and Analytics will recognise the original source and report it as such. This will allow you to see the Facebook pixel-like results in Analytics (as well as seeing further metrics such as time on site, bounce rate, pages per session, etc.)

If you’re a beginner, try using a URL builder such as this one to help get you started. Alternatively, you can get in touch with your new favourite digital marketing agency for some help. Discover our PPC services here.

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