A guide to tracking Facebook Ads in Google Analytics

Advertising on social media platforms, particularly on Facebook, offers you a more comprehensive range of reaching out to potential customers. With a whopping 2.85 million monthly active users, there is no doubt that people will see more of your ad or campaigns in no time. But more so if you can track your ad performance better.

You can monitor and see how many people have seen your ads, click through the links to your website, and if they close the deal by buying your product in the Facebook analytics dashboard. However, these are all the limitations of the metrics you can measure.

Tracking ads in Google Analytics will surely help you a lot to spice things up. If you haven’t tried it yet, here are four steps on how you can do it.

Step 1: Create a trackable link for your Ads using Url parameters

The first thing you need to do is generate URL parameters for your ads. If you haven’t heard of the term yet, URL parameters give you the context and methods on how you can track the ad’s performance. You can do it with the help of Google Campaign URL builder. It is a free tool to generate URL parameters better.

All you need to do is to fill out the required fields, such as the following:

Website URL: Type the URL for your campaign.

Campaign source: Simply put, Facebook

Campaign medium: Put PPC or Paid to separate the traffic from the organic traffic you receive on Facebook.

Campaign name: Type in your campaign’s name. If you are using Facebook URL Builder, you can already select from the drop-down menu {{campaign.name}}.

There are also two fields left called the “Campaign term” and “Campaign content,” which you may or may not fill out.

Step 2: Add the trackable link to the Facebook Ad

After generating a trackable link in Google Analytics, head to Facebook to create an ad. There are two ways you can do it. The most common way is by copying and pasting the URL in the “Website URL” field or the “URL parameters” field.

You can also add the link in your ad copy, but make sure to shorten the link. There are available tools online for you to do it.

Step 3: Start tracking the performance on Google analytics.

Once your Facebook ad is up, you can now track its performance on Google Analytics. On the left side menu, navigate to the Acquisition. It will show you the Overview, and under it is All Traffic, then Source/Medium. Google Analytics already accredited the traffic and conversion to your Facebook you are using to set up the UTM parameter.

After clicking Source/Medium, you will be led to Primary Dimension. Look for the Other drop-down menu somewhere on the left and choose the parameter you need to track and analyze in the Acquisition.

You can pattern your Facebook ad campaign performance from the report you will see on Google Analytics. If you follow all the steps here, you will manage to see your Facebook ads or campaign’s data under Campaign or the name you set up in the Campaign Name field when generating the URL. This procedure is now more efficient in tracking and analyzing Facebook ads.

Importance of tracking Facebook Ads in Google Analytics

Facebook ads have their way for you to track your campaigns on the platform, but they may lack other essential metrics. You should also use Google Analytics to see how users can interact with your website. It also provides more detailed data on your customer’s journey, from visiting your ads, and clicking the link, to buying your product.

Aside from that, Facebook may also provide you information on the number of people who saw and clicked your ads but may not be able to show any details about your potential customers, unlike Google Analytics.

Knowing the demographic data of Facebook users and who made engagements to your ad campaigns, and the customer behaviors will help you improve your ads targeting these users.

Overall, Google Analytics can deliver you more extensive information on the performance of your Facebook ad or campaigns.

Facebook Ads and Google Analytics discrepancies

You should be aware of the discrepancies between Facebook Ads and Google Analytics to balance things out.

Since you can already track your reports on Facebook and Google Analytics, you will notice a big difference in some results. The possible reason for this is the view-through conversions. But what does it means? And what is the other factor that contributes to the discrepancies?

View-through conversions

View-through conversions tell you who among the people did not click on the ad as they saw it while scrolling on Facebook. If the person clicks the ad and ends up making a purchase, Facebook will report it as a conversion.

If you see Facebook ads reporting, separate columns show the many conversions from the users who click the ad and the number of users who only view it. Google Analytics does not recognize it the same way as Facebook. Only Facebook can see the information which only considers the ads, which results in the differences in their reports.

You will also see that Facebook shows many conversions compared to Google Analytics. You should know that Facebook tracks the users for 28 days once it clicks and makes a purchase from an ad, while Google Analytics only reports the conversions made when the users buy a product right after clicking the Facebook ad.

Another thing, Facebook also counts views through conversions by default, while Google Analytics does not give credit to it since they cannot view the information. To fix this, you need to add the UTM parameters from Facebook so that Google Analytics will know the source of the traffic. If you do not do it properly, your numbers on Google Analytics will surely be lower than what you see on Facebook Analytics. Thus, another discrepancy in the reporting.

Tracking setup and user error

Other factors you also need to know to understand discrepancy concerns between the two better are the tracking setup and user error. As you may know, setting up conversion tracking is a separate process for Facebook and Google.

It is normal to encounter human error when setting up conversion tracking on these two platforms. The person who created the search might forget to add on the labels or face technical hurdles while processing it.

To make it simple, the conversion tracking is not identically set up across Facebook and Google Analytics, which causes discrepancies in the reports between them.

Which Tracking Data Should You Use?

Since there are differences in the reports between Facebook and Google Analytics, you may start wondering which of them should you use.
Which between them is more reliable or do you think you should get more basis on. The answer is totally up to you on how you should weigh and compare the differences between the two.

Both Facebook and Google Analytics have unique parameters or metrics that the other one does not have. For example, when using Facebook, you can access the information on view-through conversions that Google Analytics might not be able to report on their end.

For other essential aspects, such as demographics, Google Analytics can provide you with more information to improve your ad creation and promotion. Still, Facebook cannot offer you any factual information on this parameter.

The bottom line is that you cannot avoid discrepancies in the reports you will receive from Facebook and Google Analytics. Their data will never match the same, so you need to deal with it. Both have different means of computing, tracking, and analyzing conversions.

But the most important thing here is that you can rely on both since they only show you numbers that you have set up while creating the conversion tracking. Thus, there are no wrong or accurate data reports between these two platforms.

By understanding this fact, you can continue adjusting some of the parameters while also analyzing the data you receive from both. In this way, you will have to learn more about how you can improve and better track your Facebook ads and increase your ROI.

Start Tracking Facebook Ads in Google Analytics

Now that you have better ways to track your Facebook ads data using Google Analytics, you can better understand your marketing and advertising Facebook campaigns. Though there are some discrepancies between the reports between these two, you can make it an opportunity to explore further how you can improve analyzing and which is more accurate.

By following all the above steps and understanding each concept mentioned, you can start tracking your Facebook ads in Google Analytics and optimize them.

If you haven’t tried to track your ads and campaigns on Facebook using Google Analytics, you should start working on it now. You will see how it can help you increase ROI and look for more ways to show better advertisements to sell your products to your target consumers.

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