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Facebook advertisers know the problem of the different numbers of the Facebook conversion tracking compared to the figures from Google Analytics.

Again and again, advertisers feel cheated by Facebook. However, there are numerous reasons why Facebook has different figures to Google Analytics.

Problems with client-side tracking technologies

Most tracking tools, such as Google Analytics, can only be used if a JavaScript snippet is implemented on the respective page. In order for the user sessions to be tracked accurately, cookies and JavaScript must be activated in the user's browser. If cookies and JavaScript are blocked in the user's browser, Google Analytics will not be able to track these users. Facebook, on the other hand, does not measure the Website visitbut the link click, so that different figures are inevitable.

Facebook clicks vs. Google Analytics website visitors

Time passes between the click on an ad and the visit to the target page. Depending on Page loading speed and Internet connection of the user, even for quite a while. It therefore regularly happens that users cancel the page view beforehand and return to Facebook before the page has loaded. As a result, the Google Analytics Tag could not fire a signal for the website visit. This means that Facebook registers a link click, but Google Analytics does not register a website visitor.

Reasons for different conversions: Facebook vs. Google Analytics

According to the rule, the conversion numbers between Facebook and Google Analytics differ by 10-20%. 

Some reasons for the different figures:

- Facebook does not see any other visitor sources than Facebook. Google Analytics, on the other hand, sees all visitor sources (SEA, SEO, display, email).

- Different attribution models (last-touch attribution model vs. last-click)

- Different temporal conversion allocation

How does Facebook measure conversion?

In order for Facebook to measure a conversion, the Facebook pixel must be implemented on the landing page or the SDK in the app. Conversions are assigned to Facebook after a user has viewed your Advertisement has seen or interacted with it and the desired conversion in the Attribution period has done. Facebook measures two events that lead to an action:

-     Click-through conversion: A user clicks on your ad and then carries out the conversion.

-     View-Through-Conversion: After a user has seen your ads but not clicked, the user performs the desired conversion.

Clicks vs. views & the attribution window

Facebook follows the Deduplication logic. This means that Facebook attributes all conversions of the same user to the last ad with which the user was in contact.

The Standard attribution window is 28 days after the click and one day after the impression of an ad. The attribution window can be divided into 1, 7 and 28 days for both clicks and impressions.

 Facts about Facebook Attribution:

- Conversions can only be assigned to the click or the impression - not both at the same time.

- Clicks before views. In conversion allocation, clicks are preferred to views.

- Facebook uses the Last-touch attribution model. This means that Facebook only assigns the success of a conversion to the last ad that the respective user clicked on. If no click is made, the conversion is assigned to the last ad that the user saw.

- the maximum Conversion window is 28 days. Conversions that have taken place 28 days after interaction with an ad are not measured.

- Conversions are attributed to the day on which the click or impression was made and not the day of the actual conversion.

- Facebook follows the Deduplication logic. This means that if a user has made several conversions after interacting with an ad, Facebook will attribute all conversions to the last ad.

1st Facebook conversion attribution example

Campaign A / MondayThe user clicks on the ad from campaign A and lands on the advertiser's website. The user leaves the website without having completed a conversion.

Campaign B / Thursday: The user sees an ad for campaign B on Facebook (but does not click on it).

On Friday the user arrives via the organic Google search to the page and performs a desired conversion.

Which campaign does Facebook assign the conversion to?

According to the Last Touch interaction logic Campaign B from Thursday are attributed to the conversion (1-day view-through). However, since Facebook prefers clicks to views, it receives Campaign A the conversion attributed.

Which channel does Google Analytics assign the conversion to?

Google Analytics assigns 100% to the conversion of the organic search.

Date of click (Facebook) vs. date of conversion (Google Analytics)

As already mentioned under "Facts about Facebook attribution", Facebook assigns the conversion to the date of interaction with the ad (view & click on the ad). Google Analytics, on the other hand, assigns the conversion to the actual time of the conversion.

ExampleA user clicks on an ad on Facebook on June 1 and reaches the advertiser's landing page - but the user does not convert. On June 3, the same user reaches the advertiser's landing page again via Google search and this time performs a conversion.

Facebook assigns the conversion to June 1, the date of interaction with the ad. In addition, Facebook assigns 100% to the conversion of the Facebook platform.

Google Analytics assigns the conversion to June 3, the date of the actual conversion. In addition, Google Analytics assigns 100% to the conversion of the organic search.

Conclusion:

The example illustrates the different attribution models from Facebook vs. Google Analytics. Google Analytics and Facebook are two different platforms with different tracking models, so it is inevitable that data on Facebook will not match the Google Analytics figures 100%ig. It is important to recognize the different Attribution models & tracking methods in order to enable more accurate tracking.

Tobias Dziuba

My name is Tobias and I am the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Adsmasters GmbH based in Düsseldorf.

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