Why You Can’t Match Facebook Conversions to Google Analytics Data

Google analytics facebook ads

Marketers and companies have been struggling to match Facebook conversions to Google Analytics data, with no luck. And they won’t succeed so easily.

That’s because they both use different attribution models. Google tracks cookies on a single device at a time. While Facebook follows user activity spanning many devices.

Now, marketing problems arise due to huge discrepancies between Facebook and Google Analytics. Given the clear inconsistency, you can’t present the data to your stakeholders without justifying how Facebook Ads correlate to users’ path to purchase and improve overall traffic.

The massive challenges posed by Facebook and Google Analytics attribution models can be corrected by understanding how they differ so you can better design and drive brand visibility.

So, let’s find out the five primary reasons your Facebook conversions and Google Analytics tracking will vary.

Clicks vs. impressions

Google uses last click attribution model. In other words, it credits the last place a user clicked on before buying the product. So, a user may see your Facebook ad, go offline, do a direct search later, click on a PPC ad to land on your site. In this instance, Google will attribute this conversion to the PPC ad.

Besides, Facebook Insights tracks impressions via view-through and click-through tracking. For example, if a user clicks or views your ad and takes desired action within a default 28-day or 24-hour attribution window (respectively), Facebook considers it as a conversion.

Tip: To get the bigger picture of your ad campaign impact, disable view-through attribution in Facebook. You can also analyze multi-channel funnel reports in Google Analytics to pinpoint how Facebook is guiding visitors’ path to purchase conversions.

JavaScript snippets

There’s another major difference in Facebook and Google Analytics tracking. The latter runs a JavaScript code snippet to identify a visitor using cookies… which may seem unimportant at first.

But for today’s smart users — who are concerned about their online privacy, disabling JavaScript or clearing cookies is now a habit. Without these two tracking metrics, Google can’t produce accurate conversions.

On the contrary, Facebook doesn’t use JavaScript to track clicks. But, it uses a JavaScript code — otherwise known as pixel — for conversion tracking. So, if the pixel code can’t load on the user’s browser, Facebook won’t record a conversion.

Cross-device conversions

Google Analytics tracks user conversion path by assigning a unique client ID to each visitor. Ergo, it can identify new vs. returning visitors. Here Google acknowledges single device as a touch point for tracking. Suppose if a person used a tablet and later their smartphone to access the same site or landing page, then they’ll be given two unique IDs.

Facebook tracking operates on multiple touch points and multiple devices.

It can do that because it tracks the user’s social media activity since they have to be logged in to browse. Thus, it can use a nonlinear conversion path to follow user journey and show a better set of tracking data.

Sessions vs. clicks

One issue marketers face is the disparity seen in Facebook clicks and Facebook-referred Google Analytics sessions. What you need to understand is clicks are not the same as sessions.

Facebook records every click (post, ad or page link). Google defaults to a 30-minute session.

Let’s say, a visitor clicks on the Facebook post more than once within a 30-minute window and comes to your site. Now in this single session, Google will record only one conversion (and Facebook two) although the visitor may take multiple actions — download an eBook, read a blog, etc.

Furthermore, the visitor may leave the site before Google Analytics fully loads the tracking code. Or they become inactive once they’re on your site, i.e. clock out for 30 minutes and re-engage with your site. If so, Facebook will count one click and Google two.

Quick note: Facebook tracks All Clicks and Link Clicks. The former records every interaction, including likes, comments and shares. The latter tracks the actual number of clicks.

Premature exit

Adding upon the earlier point, there are instances of users clicking the Facebook Ad and quickly leaving or moving to another site before Google triggers the JavaScript code. There are a few reasons for this behaviour.

Such as, the webpage takes a long time to load. The user clicks by mistake. Or else, they visit the page later (they’re accessing the site during work hours). In such cases, Facebook counts this click as a conversion but Google can’t.

Tip: Make sure you place Google snippets in the header of each webpage, not in the body or footer. This way, you’ll have a higher chance to capture the user’s path to purchase before they bounce off.

Wait, there’s more

Is this all you need to match Facebook Ads and Google Analytics data to delight your stakeholders? Certainly not.

There’s no doubt these elements are crucial. But you must consider a few other Facebook and Google attribution variations to improve your analytics game.

  • Google may show sampled data if your sessions reach 500,000 or more in volume. In simple terms, it creates an estimate of the full raw data. To review all data points, access server log files.
  • If you’ve enabled filters for company-related IP addresses on Google, then internal traffic (say, employees) coming from Facebook gets excluded.
  • Facebook records the time of the click (or view) that led to a conversion, whereas Google considers the time when the user acts (like purchasing the product).
  • While your Facebook fans may belong to different demographics, there’s a chance only small percentage of them is engaging with your ad. In that case, revise and tailor the content to boost interaction and streamline analytics.


How to illustrate data inconsistency between Facebook & Google Analytics

Paid Facebook conversion

Are you attempting to integrate  Facebook analytics data with third-party statistics from Google Analytics? And really Uncertain about how to represent sets of data to your consumers?

Facebook apprehends indirect “non-aligned ” conversions, whereas  Google Analytics tracks linear conversion.

View-through conversion tracking is not available in Google for Facebook traffic towards your site

Facebook tracks the cross-device conversion better in comparison with google analytics

Organic Facebook conversions

Can only be tracked by using  Google Analytics or any third-party analytics software.

Favorable, Google Analytics displays the  Facebook referral traffic with conversion data.


Main reasons for discrepancies  ( Facebook click data and google analytic session data )

More numbers of clicks in 30 minutes for a post on Facebook is considered a Single session

Two sessions in Google analytic  means 2 different time interactions before purchase,  but in Facebook, it is considered to be 1 session

Fast bounce rate is not recorded in google analytics



Steps to Create an Integrated report

  1. Select the measurable Metrics / KPIs to report positioned on your client’s Objectives, and coordinate them together accordingly.

2) For identical metrics, report the two metrics alongside, precisely established as Facebook data and Google data.

3) Introduce synopsis/ notes on the differences between identical metrics.

Closing thoughts

Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel conversions will never match since they both serve distinct goals. Google Analytics helps optimize your website traffic, and Facebook provides a robust platform for advertisement.

This contrast can prove useful once you know how to exploit the independent strengths of Facebook Insights and Google Analytics before rushing to connect the dots. And, if you want to integrate them (despite their differences) to inspire brand awareness, get in touch with a Windsor.ai champion today!

Book a Free Demo of Windsor’s Marketing Attribution Software, to see how it helps you get the best out of your marketing activities.



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