Facebook and Google Analytics data will never entirely match due to fundamental differences between the platforms. It is important not to fixate on the discrepancies, but to understand and accept the data reported will not be the same. Here are some of the key differences to be aware of:
Facebook clicks ≠ Google Analytics sessions
Facebook records a click when the user clicks on an advert, however depending on the advert type this may not result in a visit to site.
Google Analytics typically records a session when the user arrives on site.
So, a Facebook click may not result in a Google Analytics session, or it may result in one or multiple sessions – as users may elapse and return to site at a later point.
Facebook clicks or conversions are reported based on the time that the associated click or impression occurred.
Google Analytics reports conversions based on the time of conversion.
For example, if a user clicked an advert on 1st of the month, then converted on the 3rd:
- Facebook would attribute the conversion to the 1st
- GA would attribute the conversion to the 3rd of the month
By default, Google Analytics attributes conversions on a last-click basis, however Facebook counts all conversions where Facebook has been a touchpoint in the journey.
For example, if the user had multiple touchpoints before a conversion:
Organic Search > Facebook > Google Ads > Direct
As Facebook is part of the journey the conversion would be recorded in both Facebook and Google Analytics. However, Google Analytics would not attribute the conversion to Facebook, but to Google Ads as it was the last known non-direct source.
View more Data & Analytics insights over on the CR blog.