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Do you feel like your numbers don’t match up between Google Analytics and what you’re seeing in your Facebook account? Or your Google ads account? Or your bottom of funnel (i.e. “what *actually* hit the bank!?)
You’re sitting there scratching your head thinking… “WHY is Facebook telling me one thing but Google telling me another!? Which is right? How am I supposed to report accurately?” In one of my recent 5 Minute Friday email lessons, I covered off common tracking traps that totally derail your reporting! Here’s the recap.
Issue #1: Your conversion data is not aligned across Google Analytics, Facebook and Google Ads
Simply put, your tracking may not be set up to best practice
I work closely with my friends at LeeJane Digital to get all my tags and events audited and streamlined. One thing your tracking expert will do that you may not be doing if you’re DIY-ing your tracking? Using ONE platform (Google Analytics) as your source of truth for conversions and sending this data to Facebook and Google Ads via their Conversions API for reporting purposes. This is the best way to ensure consistency but can be a little techy to implement. If data integrity is important to you, I always think it’s worth looping in the folk who have seen it all – every platform, every tagging error, the lot. Sometimes it’s a small price to pay to leverage specialist expertise to bring the confidence we need to know things are set up right. In addition, with the new unveiling of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) rolling out in preparation for the impending Cookiepocolypse, tagging is about to become a whole lot tricker but more on that in a future lesson….
Understanding the definitions of your metrics
A little reminder that our platforms define conversions differently. If you’ve followed me for a while you would have heard me bang on about Facebook’s default attribution window being 28 days post click and 1 day post view. This is changing soon to 7 days which is better but regardless, requires the individual responsible for reporting on Facebook ads to understand this and break out the attribution window into “view through” and “direct” impact over each time period to get a TRUE picture (and that’s all based on how Facebook defines it’s default conversion metric)!
When it comes to understanding why Facebook might be reporting a higher ROAS than what you’re seeing “hit the bank”, it could be because it’s giving you CHANNEL metrics rather than ACTUAL bottom line impact.
What do I mean by channel metrics? You’re measuring the effectiveness of how ads might be performing over time (including whether an ad was seen before a conversion was made later, possibly by another channel).
The key is to go in KNOWING the definitions of how conversions have been set up and how they’re displayed in each channel you’re viewing. That way, rather than taking the metrics on face value, you can consider the performance in alignment with what feels meaningful to YOU (based on your custom attribution model).
Most of the reporting I run for my clients takes data points from many platforms to bring accurate insights.
Issue #2: Lead or sales figures are different in Google Analytics than what’s actually “hitting the bank” for my business (or my client’s business)!
I cover additional detail on this in my Trustworthy Tracking Set Up Kit but the core thing to know is that all of our data is collected differently and not failsafe. I’ve worked with my go-to tagging experts the Google Analytics data for clients as close to 99% accuracy – but it’s unlikely that it will ever consistently reach 100%. Why is this the case? It could be a few things:
Most ad blockers allow Google Analytics tracking by default although a few auto-block analytics tracking and users can always choose to opt out if they have one installed.
Unless you’ve got yourself a total gun when implementing your GA, there’s a chance you’re still tracking (and not removing) test entries – that’s going to skew your data!
Ever seen that little notice in Google Analytics that highlights “You’re not seeing all of your data” – depending on how much data you’re capturing, you may only be seeing a sample size in GA which will impact your metrics across the board.
The way your goals have been set up!
Are you tracking your goals via a destination page URL (i.e. a “thank you” page)? It might not be as accurate as getting that little line of code firing to Google based on a particular, unique action (I.e. event tracking)
Setting up events requires a little more tech know how, so in my Trustworthy Tracking Set Up Kit, you can either follow the handpicked tutorials and DIY it, or brief in what you need to your developer or tagging expert using my Briefing Sheet as a guide.
Afterpay, payment plans, returns and refunds
Do you have people returning back to your website from a third party app (like Afterpay or Klarna)? When refunds are processed in your “bottom of funnel” systems, how is that communicated back up to Google Analytics for marketing optimisation purposes?
It can feel like a bit of a nightmare to have to work through all these scenarios, but working with an expert to guide you can make the process fairly painless and often, it just needs to be set up properly initially with check ins from time to time. It doesn’t need to be this big laborious to do sitting on your list every month!
BUT when we don’t set up our Google Analytics to consider these things, our agencies or marketing teams are often misrepresenting what marketing is achieving. In my experience, this loses the marketing team trust with stakeholders since it consistently feels like marketing is “over reporting” on its effectiveness. Getting this source of truth is the fastest way to bring credibility and achieve the outcomes you want!
Psssst. Did you see my email earlier this week about the new Google Analytics 4 (or GA4) rollout? Make sure you get across my quick tutorial and install your code ASAP so you start capturing data as quickly as possible. Remember, you’ll only be able to review data from the date of install – so don’t be that person who waits until competitors are already leveraging this great opportunity. Jump on it NOW!
So with all that…Are you confident your tracking has been set up to be best practice? I kind of let the cat out of the bag on that last point but…. *drumroll* I’ve just launched my Trustworthy Tracking Set Up Kit for the super accessible price of $17 – to help every business afford the chance to implement the right tracking and maintain data integrity.
Because I’ve found that so many want me to help them run attribution, but so often the data they’re capturing is unreliable 🙈 I KNOW you don’t want that and I KNOW tracking fees can feel like a bit of a grudge purchase, but trust me when I tell you the future of your businesses profitability relies on it.
If just $17 could buy you the confidence to know that the data you’re looking at is reliable, would you pay that?
Great! Head on over to my Template Shop to learn more and pick yourself up a copy.
And slide into my Instagram DM’s with any specific questions you have on your unique data challenges.