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Tracking Facebook Ads in Google Analytics

Jun 22, 2021 10 min read

Facebook ads are an effective way to drive visitors to a website. However, analyzing and boosting their success becomes more difficult if they are not adequately tracked in Google Analytics. No need to be worried! We're here to teach you and help you optimize your Facebook ad tracking in this post.

Why should you use Google Analytics to track your Facebook ads?

Tracking your Facebook ads in Google Analytics is critical because it provides a complete picture of your customer's journey and reveals how users interact with your website.

Although Facebook provides some basic information about your website, it is nowhere as comprehensive as Google Analytics.

Facebook does an excellent job of notifying you of how many people viewed and clicked on your ad, but they are no longer visible after those users leave the platform.

However, you can collect helpful demographic data from your Facebook ad campaigns and analyze consumer behavior, device functioning, and more after a person comes to your site using Google Analytics.

Additionally, with the current iOS 14 upgrade and improvements made to the attribution settings, advertisers may now expect up to a 40% drop in reported conversions in Facebook Ads Manager.

Fortunately, Google Analytics can provide a wealth of information on conversions, clicks, and sessions to optimize your advertising efforts.

How to set up URL parameters on Facebook

If the URL parameters on the ad are appropriately set up, Google Analytics will automatically identify your campaign traffic. Because of the Utm_ prefix in the parameter names, these URL parameters are frequently referred to as UTM parameters.

You can define five parameters. However, only three are required for campaign tracking:

UTM source: the website that supplies the traffic, commonly known as the reference (Facebook, Google, and so on...). UTM Medium: the link's medium (CPC, CPM, email, etc...). UTM campaign: the campaign's name

The URL's syntax is crucial. You can use Google's URL builders to ensure that the syntax is correct. The usual web link structure is as follows:

utm field1 = value 1; utm field2 = value 2; utm field3 = value 3

When creating an ad in Facebook Ads Manager, add the parameters in the URL Parameters optional area.

For instance, to track a Facebook CPC campaign called campaign1, we would enter the following text into the URL parameters area when generating our ad:

utm source=facebook&utm medium=cpc&utm campaign=campaign1

How to track Facebook ads in Google Analytics

Let's see how to track Facebook ads with Google Analytics. It is easy to track your Facebook ads. Get started with the step-by-step guide below:

Why the ads manager and Google Analytics measurements come up different

Businesses and advertisers have been observing for some time that when measuring conversions from Facebook Ads, the measures provided by the appropriate ad manager and analytics sites on each platform do not precisely match the figures displayed by Google Analytics.

Instead of responding, "the Facebook Ads manager knows best," as we have seen several folks say, it's better to question why they're different and, more importantly, which is more authentic. The simple reason is that they monitor conversions differently and provide various "credit" for conversions.

Facebook's standard conversion tracking for click-through conversions and view-through conversions—differ from Google Analytic's standard settings and the majority of their customizable options.

There are two sorts of conversions to consider: click-through conversions, in which a user clicks on your ad and converts, and view-through conversions, in which a person sees your ad but does not click, but subsequently visits your site and converts.

Facebook's analysis considers click-through conversions that occur on an ad over 28 days and view-through conversions that occur within a single day.

Facebook also attributes conversions to the initial touchpoint consumers encounter—in this example, the ad—although they may engage with several other sites during the purchasing process before converting.

They may, for example, go over a few different goods or your 'About Us' page before making a purchase.

Google Analytics' default is different, using a "last click" basis for credit assignment, where the last touchpoint the user is engaged with receives credit. The numbers will always be different as a result of this.

They also provide a customizable system that allows you to help select how credit for the conversion should be distributed, allowing you to weigh the various touchpoints the visitor was engaged with before the conversion and apply varying levels to them.

Two-step guide to tracking Facebook ads in Google Analytics

When you begin running Facebook ads that lead to your website, the traffic is automatically logged into Google Analytics under the hostname Facebook.com or m.facebook.com: This traffic, nevertheless, is not only from the Facebook ads you are running.

Visits from users who click through to non-paid posts on your Facebook page are also counted.

Since you'll need to see how your ads are doing on their own, you'll need to manually split traffic from Facebook ads and ordinary (non-paid) Facebook postings.

Here are the two basic ways to manually segregate the traffic:

Step 1: Manually create a trackable link

To track Facebook Ad traffic in Google Analytics, you must first generate a trackable link.

When you go through the steps to create a new Facebook campaign, you will be prompted to choose a Source, Medium, and Name for your campaign. After that, you can select the content to feed into Google Analytics from the "Placeholders" dropdown option.

You can select from "Ad Id," "Ad Name," "AdSet Name," or even other target audience factors such as interest, gender, country, and age. Once you pick these choices from the dropdown menu, they will be instantly added to your advertising as a trackable link, and the information will be available in your Google Analytics account under "Acquisition" and then "Campaigns."

Applying these placeholders to your campaigns in Whatagraph is significantly quicker than manually creating trackable links using Google's URL builder tool. The advantages allow you to monitor what actions your A/B testing is driving and optimize your campaigns for essential activities.

Create split tests inside your campaign based on age ranges and regions. You can determine which age group is spending most of your time on your website or which area gives the most conversions in Google Analytics.

If you aren't using Whatagraph to build your ads, you may create a tracking link with Google's free URL Builder.

You'll need to enter the same information in Google's builder: website URL (the address of the page you're directing ad traffic to), source (Facebook), medium (ads), and campaign name (something unique).

Once you've entered your information and click the submit button, Google will return a lengthy address like this for you: Once you have your long URL, copy and paste it into the Facebook ads manager. However, if you choose Whatagraph, this will all be performed for you automatically!

Step 2: Check Google Analytics

Once you've configured your Facebook ad using the Google Analytics criteria of source, medium, and campaign name, you're almost done!

All that remains is for you to sit back and wait for the data to begin accumulating in Google Analytics.

The data may be seen by Source/Medium ("Facebook / Ads") or Campaign Name.

Looking up the performance of a Facebook ad in Google Analytics by campaign name helps you check how that specific ad is doing on your website.

And there you have it — two easy steps to tracking Facebook advertisements in Google Analytics!

Additional conversion tracking features

Google Analytics offers its conversion tracking tools that are pretty simple to set up. To assess what's occurring on your site, you may track anything from goals to eCommerce transactions, and you can use it to calculate your direct and indirect ROI from Facebook Ads. 

Easy steps to measure Facebook campaigns

Determine your goals.

Before you start evaluating every single Facebook comment about your brand, consider your Facebook goals. What are you hoping to achieve or gain by using this channel? What makes this medium most relevant to your objectives?

Facebook may be used for several things, including disseminating news and information, addressing consumer queries, and participating with a community. Make a list of the goals you want to achieve with your social media activities.

Create metrics to measure your goals.

Align your goals with measurable metrics and actions. For example, if you're trying to measure engagement, what practical form of engagement do you want to track? Is it a retweet? Are you looking for replies or comments? Clicks? Based on a few popular Facebook goals, here are a few behavior ideas to measure:

- Metrics like volume, reach, exposure, and amplification can be used to evaluate awareness. How far has your message traveled?

  • If you want to track engagement, search for analytics related to comments, responses, and participation. How many individuals participate, how frequently do they participate, and in what ways do they participate?

Measure.

Find tools that capture the metrics you want to focus on after you've identified them. In some situations, social media channels themselves offer analytics. In other circumstances, you may need to rely on third-party tools or create your utilizing APIs.

If you're unsure about which tools to utilize for specific channels, ask around or conduct a simple Internet search to get many possibilities. Whatagraph, which has a list of over 300 social media measurement tools, might be a helpful resource.

Monitor and report.

Use your initial findings to establish a baseline for future assessment and communicate these preliminary data with your key stakeholders.

This is also an excellent opportunity to think about your regular reporting schedule. Monthly or quarterly reporting may work well for your plan. However, weekly reporting may work well for others. Check up on your analytics frequently, regardless of your schedule.

Goal tracking

Goal tracking is the tool to use most regularly for your own business; your goal is to attract people to go through your site, go to our contact page, and contact us to enquire about hiring us. When you've established your goal, you may "Verify" it. This will show you your conversion rate over the previous seven days.

Attribution

Google Analytics allows you to personalize your attribution models. To have access to attribution, you must first set up either Goals or Ecommerce tracking.

When building a custom attribution model, you must first decide on the baseline model to utilize. You have the following options:

- Linear, which assigns equal value to all touchpoints.

- First engagement provides the most excellent credit for conversions to the first touchpoint while keeping credit for all other sites equal.

- Final interaction provides the greatest credit for converting to the last touchpoint while keeping credit for all other sites.

- Time decay provides the most attribution to the most recent touchpoints while also decreasing attribution to every point of contact.

  • Position-based, with the first and last touches receiving the most value.

You can also customize:

- Lookback windows, which allow you to specify how far back you wish to give credit. If a person returns to your site a week after viewing a Facebook Ad and converts, that would be recorded if you had a month-long lookback window. It would not if they came back a year later.

- Whether or not you want to change attribution based on user involvement.

- Whether you wish to alter attribution depending on your criteria.

You can also compare data from multiple attribution models against each other to gain a comprehensive picture of how your touchpoints generate sales from Facebook Ads, and the journey consumers take to convert.

Differences between Facebook insights and Google Analytics

Before comparing ad performance between platforms, ensure that your Facebook conversions are specified in the same way as your Google Analytics objectives. All of your advertisements have the necessary URL parameters.

Even though your conversions are similarly defined, and your tracking parameters are proper, you are likely to observe variances when comparing ad effectiveness in Facebook Insights to Google Analytics.

The main reason for the disparity is that Facebook and Google Analytics employ different marketing attribution methodologies. By default, Facebook credits the ad for any conversions that occur within 28 days of an ad click or within one day of watching an ad, regardless of any other channels the user may have engaged with following the Facebook ad. On the other hand, Google Analytics will automatically provide conversion credit to the last touch, including all channels, not just Facebook.

Furthermore, Google only counts Facebook traffic if the visitor clicks on the ad rather than merely seeing it. For these reasons, Facebook's performance metrics are more flexible.

How Whatagraph makes tracking easier than ever

Did you know that Whatagraph enables tracking the impact of your Facebook Ads in Google Analytics easier than ever before? Campaigns with outbound links will provide you with this choice in Step 2 of the campaign design process.

When you're creating ads with Whatagraph, you'll notice a checkbox that allows you to follow the campaign in Google Analytics. You can also add specific ad information and attributes to Google Analytics to make it simpler to follow what's going on with your campaigns and understand the exact impression your ads are producing.

Conclusion

No matter how excellent Facebook Ads analytics are, nothing tops Google Analytics for thoroughly tracking and understanding conversions, all the way from initial exposure through the route the user followed before converting. The more you know why conversions happen, the more you will improve them and grasp how each campaign fits into the larger picture.

Whatagraph team
Written by Whatagraph team

The Whatagraph blog team produces high-quality content on all things marketing: industry updates, how-to guides, and case studies.

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