Troubleshooting mismatched Facebook and Google Analytics data

Troubleshooting mismatched Facebook and Google Analytics data

Something our analysts at Quru get asked regularly is ‘why doesn’t my data from Facebook match the corresponding data in Google Analytics?’. While the only real way of getting accurate and reliable Facebook data is from Facebook itself, you can troubleshoot and identify discrepancies within Google Analytics if you’re using it for overall insights, reporting etc.

And luckily enough, Social Media Today has recently published a great list of areas to check for issues and variations. Here’s the key points:

  1. Cross device conversions

GA struggles to track users across multiple devices, but Facebook, with its almost endless network of pixels and site tracking, can see where you go and what you do when using different devices.

  1. Impressions and clicks

GA utilises cookies, so can run in to problems when cookies are disabled or cleared. But as per the previous point, Facebook tracks users in a slightly different way across the web, so can have slightly more accurate data.

  1. Clicks vs sessions

There’s a number of possible reasons why clicks in Facebook may not match reported sessions ins GA:

  • If a user clicks your Facebook post more than once in a 30-minute window, Google Analytics only tracks this as one session. Conversely, Facebook considers this as more than one click. (i.e., one Google Analytics session and two Facebook clicks).
  • If a user clicks your Facebook post and visits your website, becomes inactive for more than 30 minutes, and then re-engages with your site after 30 minutes, Google will record two separate sessions. Facebook reports only the single click. In this case, one Facebook click equals two sessions.
  • If a user accidentally clicks your Facebook ad but jumps off quickly, Google Analytics will most likely not have had the chance to record this click, since the page hadn’t loaded fully.
  1. UTM parameters

GA uses referrer URLs to credit conversions back to ads, whereas Facebook users browse the Facebook site in HTTPS – so, if a user clicks and ad in Facebook and goes to a HTTP site, this won’t be recorded as the user has left a secure environment.

  1. Multiple conversions

GA only allows a one-per-click attribution, so only one conversion is counted even if a number of conversions actually happen. Facebook will attribute multiple conversions to the ad last clicked or viewed.

  1. Attribution window

Facebook conversion measurement attributes conversions based on a 24-hour view and 28-day click-through window – so, any comparison you do against other tracking data must compare exactly the same attribution window. Google Analytics uses the last interaction model, which attributes 100% of the conversion value to the last channel the customer interacted with before buying or converting.

To update your attribution window in Facebook, click Customize Columns and choose the window that best suits your needs.

  1. Conversion date

Facebook reports on the time of a view or click of the conversion, whereas third party tracking tools often report on the time of conversion.

  1. Ad-blocking software

Your conversion pixel may not fire if the user has an ad blocker installed in the browser. This will cause undercounting conversions, so the number may be lower than your internal data.

Check out all the details over at Social Media Today.

Credit and via, Social Media Today

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