As local clients get just a little “on the surface” knowledge about online marketing they become more and more inquisitive and distrusting. As they say, knowing just a little is enough to be dangerous. Today’s topic has to do with a pretty well known discrepancy between Facebook Ads & Google Analytics. If you tell a client that they got 1,000 website clicks from Facebook Ads, they expect to see the number 1,000 in their Google Analytics traffic sources. If they don’t, they think shenanigans are abound. The truth is that Google Analytics almost NEVER matches Facebook Ads reporting and I wanted to detail some of the reasons why that is:
1) Clients are likely looking at Google Analytics sessions which is defined completely differently then a Facebook Ads click.
Google Analytics Session: This is long and complex but essentially a session is a 30 minute time period of a user on your website. If someone clicks your ad, mistakenly closes the window and clicks the ad again, that’s 2 Facebook Ads clicks and 1 Session. If they see the ad multiple times and click it within a half hour it only counts once in analytics whereas it will count multiple times as a Facebook Click. Official Documentation: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2731565?hl=en
Facebook Ads Click: This counts anyone who clicks an external link from a Facebook ad. (an external link meaning a link to your website). Someone could double click the link because the website is loading up slow or hit back because the site is loading slow and that would be 2 Facebook Ads Clicks.
3) Sloppy Website Script Installation: Since a lot of “local client” websites are based on industry specific templated platforms they tend to have multiple installations of Google Analytics, sometimes they collide or one loads and the other doesnt. Sometimes there are other scripts that load up first and analytics doesn’t load completely. Sometimes the website has old/outdated versions of the analytics script installed as well.
There are just so many variables when it comes to Analytics. People always think that it’s a flawless traffic system and what it reports is to always be trusted blindly. Yes, Google Analytics can prove to be extremely useful, but take the metrics with a grain of salt and understand that discrepancies can occur.