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Why Facebook Data Does Not Match With Google Analytics

We come across an exceptionally common question from our users - Why does the number of Facebook ad clicks not match the number of website visits shown by Google Analytics (GA)?

Turns out that Facebook Ad clicks and Google Analytics website visits will rarely ever match entirely. And that’s because Facebook Ad clicks are not the same as website visits. While one leads to the other, how they are recorded makes a whole lot of difference in reporting. Let us understand where such a discrepancy shows up.

Data Mismatch between google analytics and facebook

Scenario 1

2 clicks on Facebook, but only 1 unique website visit
Let’s suppose that a user clicks on your Facebook ad more than once inside of 30 minutes and visits your website multiple times. In this case, Facebook will record multiple ad clicks. However, Google Analytics will record only a single unique website visit.

Scenario 2

1 click on Facebook, but 2 website visits
Now if a user clicks on the Facebook ad to visit the website and then does not do any activity on the website for more than 30 minutes. And after 30 minutes, the user starts browsing the website again. Since the user has clicked on the Ad only once, Facebook will report a single unique click. However, Google will record two separate website visits for the same person.

Scenario 3

Facebook 1 unique click; Google 0 website visits
Here a user clicks your Facebook Ad, but the website takes longer than usual to load up. The user closes the browser before the website can fully load. Since the web page does not load fully, Google Analytics may not have the chance to record a user visit. In this case, Facebook will show a single click but Google will record zero website visits.
You must be thinking about why such differences happen? What is the tracking mechanism of both of these platforms? Let us understand it in the next section.

1. Facebook doesn’t measure the uniqueness of a click; it only counts the total number of clicks, regardless of who clicked and the interval between successive clicks. That means multiple clicks by the same user are counted as separate clicks by Facebook.

2. On the other hand, Google Analytics can identify a unique visit from a repeat visit and there each visit is called a ‘session.’ Thus, a user visiting the website is counted as one visit until that particular web session ends. And within that session, multiple visits by the same user and from the same IP (?) will not be counted as unique visits.

As you can see, the process through which Facebook counts user clicks is different from the way Google counts its user visits. And hence the discrepancy.

A web session is user interaction with the website that takes place for an indefinite period, up until such a point where there is 30 minutes of uninterrupted inactivity.
There are two ways in which a session ends:

• Time-based expiration:

  1. If the user is inactive on the website for 30 continuous minutes
  2. At midnight, regardless of activity

• Campaign (Ad) change:

If a user arrives at the website through one campaign, leaves, and then comes back through a different campaign, then these two visits are counted separately.

  • First, make sure your Google Analytics tracking code is placed close to the top of your site code. This way, your website can record as many visits as possible. Know more about how to place the tracking code.
  • You can use the multi-channel funnels report in Google Analytics. Through it, you get to see the different pages the user browsed and also from where the user came in, such as a Facebook ad, search, or a blog.

Hence, if there is a difference between the visits and the clicks, you can see how many unique users came in through a Facebook Ad and match it with the number of clicks and visits.

Google analytics tracking ID

Conclusion

So, there you go! Now you can not only understand why the numbers on these two networks look different, but you also now know how to work around it. Apply these tips and share your experience with us.

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