You Ask, I Answer: Discrepancies Between Facebook and Google Analytics?
Christopher Penn: In today’s episode Enoch asks, Why do I see such huge discrepancies between Facebook ads and Google Analytics? Facebook says my dad got 451 clicks and Google says the corresponding landing page got 58 clicks from Facebook, what’s going on? This is very common questions a very common situation. People have with reporting systems from different vendors. It’s one of the reasons why analytics is so challenging for marketers because the systems measure things sometimes in very different ways. Now, in this case, there’s clearly something wrong when you have essentially what’s almost a 10 x difference between one system and the other. And this is a four reasons probably, that this would be happening. Number one. Facebook ads are notorious for losing tracking codes. When you put on your UTM tracking code. Sometimes people Which is eat some never displays improperly, etc. The antidote for that, by the way is to use a link shortener in the ad itself. So using like bit.ly or something to shorten your fully encoded link and put that as the destination LinkedIn, Facebook, so the Facebook can’t overwrite those URL tracking codes. It’s a common best practice. So there’s, that is one of the things that configuration issues. There is the very very nonzero possibility that your ads are attracting bot clicks or non human clicks or click farms, essentially fraudulent clicks. Facebook, unlike Google ads, to my knowledge does not publish any data about percentage of fraudulent clicks. But we do know from news releases that Facebook has been deleting literally billions of accounts for being bots and fraudulent and farms and such like that. So there’s a good possibility that some of those clicks that you’re seeing the discrepancy is From non human, non valid clicks, let’s call them that. Another possibility is that you have filtering on turned on in Google Analytics in some way that is masking or deleting the data that is coming in, you’d have to check your filters to be sure that there’s that’s not set up incorrectly. There’s the possibility that there is no attribution data being passed along at all. So that’s where the UTM tracking codes are getting lost. And depending on your audience and the browser they’re using UTM tracking codes may not work correctly. There may be URL attributes either in the ad itself or on Facebook that is essentially stripping where the traffic came from. This is called the no refer attribute. And it’s really something kind of a noxious that that companies do if they use that attribute. It is essential saying don’t pass any offering information on to the destination site. And the fourth and final possibility is somebody like somebody, one of these ad systems is not telling the truth. The there, each of these companies has an incentive to make its own metrics look better. And by definition, therefore, they have an incentive to make other ad systems look not as good. And the reason for this is pretty straightforward. It’s who gets your ad dollars, right? Where do you spend your money? Where do you get results from? So I would go through and check very clearly your Google Analytics setup to make sure that it is bringing in data as accurately as possible, I would go through and check your Facebook ads to make sure they are all set up as correctly as possible. Make sure that you are hard coding your UTM tracking codes to ensure that they are showing up correctly in in Google Analytics Regardless of where they come from, to make sure that it’s all set up properly. And then if the discrepancy continues, if you’re still seeing, you know, five x or 10 x discrepancies. The thing to look at is in Google Analytics, if you assume you have goals and goal completion setup, is Facebook as a traffic source converting. Now even if, you know, in this example, if Facebook says, you’d sent 451 clicks, and Google says it sent 58 and 56 of those convert, guess what? That’s probably okay. You know, Facebook as a traffic source is okay, even if the metrics are wonky, because you’re getting to your actual business impact. If on the other hand, Facebook says is sending a million people to your site and Google saying okay, it’s you said 200,000 people site and one person converts. Doesn’t matter which system is right or wrong. It’s just not converting right. It’s it’s not good. Traffic regardless. So that’s, that’s the challenge there. Now, one of the tricky problems here is that when you have these massive discrepancies, your return on ad spend calculations are going to be off pretty wildly 10 x off in this case, in this instance, in terms of your return on ad spend, because Facebook’s going to give you all sorts of crazy metrics, like users and stuff, I would use the measurement system that is closest to the bottom of the funnel. So free for you that is Google Analytics rather than Facebook. So be it then that’s the system that you choose, generally speaking, as a rule of thumb, measure, as close to the bottom of the funnel as possible so that from an operations perspective, you have a sense of which systems are working better or worse. So that’s the answer to this question. Again, Facebook ads. I’ve talked to a number of folks who run them who do Facebook ads professionally. Facebook is notorious for losing your data. And then sort of almost forcing you to rely on there as a source. At least that seems to be their intent. whether that’s true or not. I don’t know. But that is definitely what people’s experience has been so take that into consideration that Google Analytics may be giving you better data. As always, if you have follow up questions, leave them in the box below. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and the newsletter, I’ll talk to you soon. Take care what helps solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems, visit Trust insights.ai today and let us know how we can help you