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Understanding Google Analytics vs. Facebook Reporting

Launching an ad campaign for your business or product is an important first step into the world of digital marketing. But once a campaign is out there, how do you know that it’s actually working? 

An ad campaign's performance is measured through the collection of data. This data gives us insight on: engagement, impressions, reach, clicks, conversions, and the list goes on. So, in order to understand the success of your own campaign, you have to be able to interpret the data that your chosen platform collects. 

Lucky for all of us, when it comes to Google Analytics and Facebook Reporting, both offer an enormous amount of data for its users to examine. But each platform collects and reports in a slightly different way, which can make the process of analyzing it confusing. 

That’s why this week, we’re unpacking some of the differences between Google Analytics and Facebook Reporting, and sharing some of our tips on how to interpret both.  

Google Analytics Sessions vs. Facebook Clicks

While these two categories may seem easily comparable, it’s important to understand a few key differences: 

  • Google Analytics begins measuring a session after an ad is clicked. 
  • Facebook, will track any click -  whether it’s a like, share, or comment. (look under the “clicks” metric to view this data.)
  • Facebook tracks the number of clicks from an external link (essentially the landing page of your ad) under the “link clicks” metric.  

Clicks on Google vs. Facebook 

Reported clicks on an ad can come back higher on Facebook than Google, even if the activity was technically the same, due to a difference in the way that clicks are reported on each platform.

Here’s an example: if a user clicks an ad 3 times within a 30 minute session, Facebook will report 3 clicks, but Google Analytics will only report 1. This is a big difference, and an important one to keep in mind when analyzing the success of an ad on either platform. 

Tracking Users on Facebook vs. Google

Keep in mind that if a user doesn’t accept cookies, Google Analytics loses their path, making tracking challenging. And, while It’s true that the iOS update for Facebook gives users the ability to opt out of targeted advertising, the “opt out” does not cover activity that a user has on Facebook from a browser, making them trackable on Facebook Reporting. 

Facebook vs. Google Attribution Models 

A conversion in Facebook Reporting is attributed to the ad that a lead viewed or engaged with, even if they didn’t click it.

Example: a person sees a Facebook ad but doesn’t click on it. Later that day, they visit the site. Even with organic or direct search, Facebook Reporting will attribute the conversion to the earlier Facebook ad that the person saw. 

On the other side of the coin, Google Analytics uses the “last click” attribution model.

Let’s use the same example: a person sees a Facebook ad but doesn’t click it. Later that day, they visit the site. In this case, Google Analytics will attribute the conversion to organic, or direct search, ignoring the earlier seen Facebook ad.  

Click-Through, View-Through & Multiple Conversions

Here are some things to note about the difference in conversions reporting on Facebook vs. Google:

  • Facebook Reporting uses a 7 day window for click-through conversions, and a 24 hour window for view-through conversions.
  • Google Analytics only supports a click-through attribution window.
  • Facebook can assign multiple conversions to the same user.
  • Google Analytics can only allocate one conversion per journey. 


Data provided by both Google Analytics and Facebook Reporting can be highly informative if you know how to interpret it. Be aware of the differences between the two, so that you can take the wealth of information that’s offered, and use it to elevate current and future ad campaigns!


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