May 28, 2014

Are Your Analytics Deceiving You?

As a marketer you need the ability to show accurate results, per marketing channel, for the campaigns you run.  When you conduct a Facebook campaign to drive prospects to your website, you expect the results, clicks vs webpage visits, to match.  More times than not the two platforms, Facebook and Google Analytics, will show a discrepancy between the results.  What should you do?  You should learn the difference between the two platforms and check your URL paths.

First, marketers need to understand the difference between Facebook analytics and Google Analytics and how they work.  Facebook analytics reports on clicks, while Google Analytics reports on webpage visits or page views.  Since Facebook is the medium from which the action was taken, it’s easy for Facebook to make accurate reports.  Google Analytics, on the other hand, has a little more trouble accurately reporting visits that come from a third party site.  Google Analytics has to rely on functionality enabled on someone’s browser to accurately track their engagement.  Does the user, who has taken action, have cookies or javascript enabled in their browser? Do they allow images to show up as well?  Understanding that some people do not have this type of functionality enabled helps to identify how results can seem skewed.

Second, if you are only relying on a referred URL, for example:, then you will probably receive mixed results in Google Analytics as well.  Linking your campaign by adding a parameter to any URL, that is owned by your company, will likely help increase accuracy of visits to your site from Facebook.  What is a parameter?  Parameters can be defined as custom tags or values placed at the end of your URL that helps identify a path that Google Analytics can identify.

Custom parameters should be used for search engines, email newsletter links, cost-per-click campaigns, links from other websites and more.  The potential to track every marketing channel is limitless when using custom parameters.  We suggest that you use custom parameters for every link you own and want to keep track of for better reporting capabilities.

Capturing the source or marketing channel that provides the best results is the name of the game for every marketer.  This helps you access and define what campaigns work and what do not, and helps you plan your marketing calendars moving forward.  Do you need help with custom parameters?  Let us know.  We are here to help.


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