Are you finding a huge discrepancy between your Facebook Analytics and your Google Analytics?

You are not alone. As social media advertising opportunities continue to emerge, the emphasis on the importance of reliable web analytics is more important than ever. Web analytics are a pillar of any successful social marketing campaign. Analytics provide an accurate report of traffic coming from networking sites on which you are conducting marketing efforts, and serve as a vital tool in aligning traffic results with your marketing goals.

Facebook Ads are a very low cost and deeply targeted social marketing option. While Facebook  is a brilliant platform for matching your product to a niche market, advertisers are coming across a common problem in consistency when tracking Facebook Ads via Google Analytics. The clicks advertisers are paying for from Facebook are not matching the recorded hits from Facebook on Google Analytics.

So what is the problem? Google is not tracking the traffic source as Facebook. It is likely that your ads are going through a redirect or a rewrite that is causing both the referring data and the URL parameters to be stripped off. Facebook redirects users when sending them to the site. Therefore Google Analytics does not trace the source back to Facebook, due the redirect striping from the referring code.

Is there a way to effectively monitor my Facebook Traffic using Google Analytics?

 The answer is “Yes”. Don’t worry Facebook is not scamming you.  There is a simple solution to this frustrating problem, tag your Facebook Ad itself with the source so that it can be captured when someone comes to your website. Luckily, these can be quickly generated using Google’s URL Builder Tool.  Appending a unique identifier to a link, tells Google that, “Any actions by this visitor should be attributed to this particular campaign.” By linking a Facebook Ad to a tagged URL, you are classifying the traffic for Google Analytics.

If your Google Analytics Account has been linked to an active Google AdWords account (Google’s PPC Advertising platform) there is no need to tag your AdWords links. When someone hits this page; the tracking script automatically pulls the information in and categorizes it.

Another option for tracking Facebook Traffic using Google Analytics is using a unique landing page for your Facebook ads. Google analytics will then show you which hits come from your Facebook ad and let you analyze bounce rate, unique visitors, click numbers etc. Then visits to this unique landing page from Facebook would have the source and campaign name set as “Facebook”, and the medium set as “social”.

Although the tracking of Facebook ads does not have to be complicated, many advertisers may not be aware of the restrictions of tracking social media using Google Analytics. All of your tracking and campaign management efforts can go to waste if basic analytic maintenance is not accurately recorded.

In order to have a successful marketing campaign that includes social networking efforts,  the campaign must be consistently and accurately monitored. The attention to detail when reviewing analytics is necessary to produce realistic and actionable data –  a cornerstone in analyzing the impact of your social media marketing campaign.

Contact The Net Impact for more information on Google Analytics Consulting or for assistance with tracking your online campaigns.

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6 Responses

  1. martin on 29 Jan 2013

    All good and well, but my Facebook clicks are exceeding my total amount of visits to my site on Google analytics. There must be other reasons why this is happening as well. Maybe the site is not loading fast enough to server the countries that are targeted. Would be interested to hear a comprehensive solution.

  2. jgeorge on 19 Dec 2010

    Hello friends at I have posted the link on our blog. If you any interesting information or have comments let me know :)

  3. […] was reading a great article on The Net Impact’s blog How to track Facebook Ad Traffic through Google Analytics that gives a great answer to tracking visitor activity from Facebook campaigns without messing with […]

  4. lpesko on 15 Dec 2010

    The answer to your question is yes – The url tracks like any other url in your Google Analytics. Information generated from the Google url will be displayed under traffic sources – campaigns. From there you can see bounce rate, time on site and completed goals if set up properly within Google Analytics.

  5. jgeorge on 15 Dec 2010

    Hello there. Great article and will be happy to share link on our twitter/blog. I do have a question before I do that though. When I tag my links for Facebook tracking does it track subsequent user actions such as

    User clicks on tagged link, user then navigates to pages x, y, and z. User also completed goals 1, 2, 3, etc. Please ping me at my registered email address and I will add the link:)

  6. […] hueco que tenemos los anunciantes en facebook, porque aunque se pueden hacer muchas cosas con un uso inteligente del etiquetado en Google Analytics, la integración de facebook con SiteCatalyst aportará mucha visibilidad a los […]

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