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Understanding the Discrepancy Between Facebook Sales and Google Analytics

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One of the main debates in digital marketing is the attribution of multi-channel conversions.

At the same time as having a large amount of information on each platform, the overall result is monitored by Google Analytics.

The latter usually provides information that is quite different from the platform of origin - especially when it's Facebook.

Facebook Conversion Attribution

The truth is that this attribution of Facebook conversions is one of today's biggest challenges! Since the user's path to purchase is increasingly complex, interacting on more than one device and with more than one channel.

There's nothing to stop a user from interacting with a Facebook ad, performing a Google search and converting on a retargeting banner, for example.

As each platform uses the attribution model that best suits it, you can't just add up the information obtained from each one. In this case, the results will overlap.

That's why Google Analytics is so important in monitoring the overall results of the business. So, here at Pareto, that's its main purpose: to track the results of the business as a whole.

How do platforms count conversions?

To begin with, it's worth talking a little about how each of the main platforms accounts for conversion attribution. Let's take a look at each of them below.

Google Ads

On Google Ads you can choose which attribution model to use from six options. Two that consider only the first or last click and four that distribute the conversion weight between user interactions. To find out more about this, read our article on attribution models.

You can also select the conversion window. That is, the period of time in which we count the conversion after the click.

The Google Ads platform assigns itself the entire conversion in which it participated. In the example above, Google Ads accounts for the entire conversion on its platform.

Facebook Ads

On Facebook Adsyou can't choose from a series of templates, as you can with Google Ads. On this platform, all conversion is attributed to the last Facebook ad the customer clicked on or interacted with.

After the change to adapt to IOS 14 policythe standard Facebook conversion window is now 7 days for clicks and 1 day for views. Therefore, within this period, a conversion can be attributed to the ad in which the user interacted.

The Facebook Pixel tracks the user across all devices. This means that the customer can view the ad on mobile and convert on desktop, and the platform will count the conversion.

As with Google Ads, all conversions in which the platform participated are counted. In the example given, Facebook would count the conversion for you.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics considers the last non-direct click as the default attribution model.

Although the platform considers all user clicks, from different sources and media, Google Analytics tracks the device, not the user (unless you enable User ID).

It also requires the existence of a click to recognize the participation of any media in the conversion path.

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Discrepancy in Accounting for Conversions

So, speaking specifically of Facebook and Google Analytics, the discrepancy in the conversion count is usually greater for two reasons.

The first is the way conversion is tracked, which is usually different. While Facebook tracks the user, regardless of the device, Google Analytics considers the path on the device. Unless you set the User Id on your site.

The second reason is the various possibilities for interaction with the Facebook ad, other than the click to the website. On Facebook, customers can view a video, interact with a carousel, like a post, react, comment or share.

Unless the user actually clicks and enters the site via the Facebook ad, Analytics doesn't capture the data. Therefore, it does not consider the social network's participation in the user's conversion path.

Regardless of the form of interaction, when it occurs it must be considered that the advertisement contributed in some way to the customer's decision to buy.

Therefore, it is important to take into account all conversions involving the platform in order to optimize the account.

That's why we have no choice but to use the data they provide. In other words, we will always make adjustments to the accounts based on the data from each channel. 

Conclusion

Google Analytics is still the platform that consolidates all e-commerce data for analysis. This makes it essential for evaluating the overall results of the business. And even the impact of increased investment in a particular platform.

An increase in investment on Facebook, for example, tends to impact searches for products and the brand name on Google.

In short, it's perfectly normal for various media to be involved in the customer's purchasing decision process. And it's important that we exploit all of them to the full.

In practice, no information can be ignored. And the difference between the figures obtained by Facebook Business and Google Analytics is also seen as the assistance given by the platform to other channels.

If you want to know more about the difference between using Analytics and Google Ads conversions, check out this other article.

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