Attribution has been a hot topic since Apple’s dreaded iOS announcement. At Ascenial, we’ve seen our clients focusing more on reporting than ever before and feeling more skeptical about data than ever before.
The question that always comes up?
Why is Google Analytics different from Facebook ads?
To answer this, we need to keep one thing in mind, Google and Facebook are competitors. Facebook wants you to believe their reporting numbers and Google wants you to believe Google Analytics is your source of truth.
There are a few different scenarios that can cause the data discrepancies.
The issue happens when a user leaves the initial landing page from the ad. Say for example, the user goes to a product page directly from an ad, but then decides to click on the home page. That traffic will no longer carry the tracking from Facebook.
At that point, if the user decides to make a purchase, that traffic would then be classified as direct traffic in Google Analytics.
Have you ever clicked a link before on your phone and were then prompted to either open the link within Facebook or within your preferred browser?
If you select your preferred browser, Google Analytics will no longer recognize that the source of the traffic was Facebook.
User behavior is also a consideration. Someone may see an ad, click the ad, then leave the web page. A day or two later, that same person may come back to the company website (just by typing in the URL) and make a purchase. That traffic would be classified as direct traffic within Google Analytics.
A user may also be using a completely different device than the device where they viewed the ad originally. Cross device tracking is complex business and often misclassified within Google Analytics.
On the Facebook side of things, we often hear complaints that purchase data is over-inflated.
For this problem, we have view through conversions to thank.
A view through conversion happens when someone views an ad, but does not click the ad. If that person then goes and makes a purchase within the next 24 hours, Facebook will attribute that purchase back to Facebook.
How to Find The Truth
So how do you find a source of truth?
One tried and true method we’ve found here at Ascenial is tracking your ad spend to revenue ratio. As your ad spend increases, so should your revenue. These should work in tandem. If your revenue is not increasing, but your ad spend is, start pulling back your spend and adjust your budgets accordingly.