Hmmm… We see you scratching your head. Are your comparing your Facebook data to your Google Analytics data? Finding discrepancies, aren’t you?
Thanks to mobile, people browse through social media ads on-the-go. While they may click on your Facebook mobile ad, they may not purchase your product then ‘n’ there. According to a Facebook post, 32% of people who showed interest in an FB mobile ad, converted primarily on a desktop. With conversion tracking, FB can report cross-device conversions, while Google Analytics, being a cookie based tool, fails to account for it.
Facebook cunningly takes full credit for a sale, even if the purchase has taken place not through the Facebook ad but after watching it. For example, you click on a jewelry ad on Facebook but you do not buy it. Later, you go back to the same page through a different channel and buy the jewelry. In such a case, Facebook attributes the conversion to your last click made on the Facebook ad, whereas Google Analytics gives credit to last paid click irrespective of the channel.
Consider a scenario where you see a Facebook ad but you do not click on it. Later you go to the ad’s website and decide to buy the product. Facebook gives credit for this conversion to itself, attributing it to the impression created by the Facebook ad.
Many people surf Facebook using HTTPS instead of using HTTP. When the user clicks on a Facebook ad and gets directed to the website, they leave the HTTPS environment and enter HTTP environment. If the user purchases the product then Google Analytics does not pass the referrer data. It treats the sale as a result of direct traffic rather than crediting it to the Facebook ad.
If users have installed an AD blocker software then Google Analytics will not count your tracking pixel. Thus the explanation for under-reportage. Google Analytics will report a lower number of conversions as compared to the real conversions.
Google Analytics limits a visitor’s site visit to once every 30 minutes. So, if the user converts multiple times within a time span of 30 minutes, Google Analytics reports it as a single conversion rather than the multiple conversions. Facebook, on the other hand, does not use any such limits and counts conversions every single time a visitor clicks the ad and converts.
Facebook also measures conversions through a 24-hour view and 28 days click through window. That is, Facebook accounts for the conversion,
– if you view an ad and convert within a day, and
– if you click on an ad and convert within 28 days.
Many times, users click on the page name of the ad rather than clicking on the ad itself. This directs them to the ad’s Facebook page which is also seen as a conversion by Facebook. In addition to this, Facebook considers likes and shares as click conversions too. Google Analytics, however, only credits a conversion when the user clicks on the ad link provided.
After digesting all the above information, you may wonder which analytical data is right. While the data provided by Facebook always appears to be extra optimistic, Google Analytics reports seem to be inclined towards being more realistic. It is you who have to decide how to correctly use the data being provided and utilize it aptly to your benefit. You can also compare the data provided by the two sources, analyze it and the decide which is more reliable to gain useful insights.