2-Step Guide to Track Facebook Ads in Google Analytics

2-Step Guide to Track Facebook Ads in Google Analytics pixelwork

2-Step Guide to Track Facebook Ads in Google Analytics


Many businesses are familiar with Google Analytics as a traffic tracking tool for websites, and while it is one of its most important functions, Google Analytics has a ton of great uses, such as monitoring traffic flow and learning what what people are looking for on a site.

Another of these functions is measure conversions of your ad campaigns of social networks, including Facebook Ads.

Although Facebook Ads Manager (and, of course, AdEspresso) has a wealth of information about ad campaigns, Google Analytics can give you more information about how conversions occur, when, and why.

While we're going to take a close-up look at Facebook ads for an article, the same knowledge and principle applies to all online ads, including ads that run on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.

Why should you track Facebook ads in Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is one of the best tools you can have on your site, regardless of the size of the business, the industry, or the amount of technical experience you have. I think this is true for tracking the success of your Facebook ads (or all other social media ads).

Being able to reliably track conversions is a big reason to use GA, and being able to choose which touchpoints you want to assign the most weight to is also important.

Being able to see not just a Facebook ad that converted, but the entire path that takes users to those conversions, can help increase ROI and overall conversions of all types.

Being able to track the conversion path can lead to much more in the future, and will give you a good understanding of what your customers are looking for. That's a very good reason.

You can also see what certain audiences find relevant on your site, even outside of conversions. If you run a certain campaign and track users across your site, this can help you identify niches or sub-niches within a group to which you can orient yourself more precisely with the remarketing or with new campaigns in the future with specific, highly segmented messages.

Being able to see what else your audience is interested in, before and after conversions can help you promote relevant elements, make sure your conversion path is optimized, and see what your biggest content successes are.

Lastly, you can gain new insight into your audience; While you can get audience insights into the audience you have on Facebook, Google Analytics can surprise you when you see who is actually converting outside of your Facebook fan base. It may be different than what you expected.

While all ad managers and platforms are very effective, Google Analytics allows you to track the conversion path more precisely, as well as allowing you to see up close how well your site is doing and who is visiting from the ads you are running. All this matters a lot.


Why do Facebook Ads Manager and Google Analytics measurements differ?

Marketers and businesses have been noticing for a while that when calculating Facebook Ads (or any other ad platform) conversions, the measurements given by each platform's ad manager and analytics sites don't match the numbers. Google Analytics.

Instead of saying “Facebook Ads Manager is better” (which I've heard a lot of people say), it's better to ask why are they different? and the most important Which is more accurate?

The simple answer is that They track conversions differently and they “credit” conversions differently.

Facebook's default conversion reports, for both click conversions and view conversions, are different from Google Analytic's default options and most customizable options (yes, we'll get to that in a minute).

There are two types of conversions to examine: click conversions, where a user clicks on your ad and converts; And view conversions, where a user is shown your ad, doesn't click, but still visits your site later and converts.

Facebook analytics accounts for click conversions that occur on an ad within a 28-day time frame and view conversions that occur within one day.

Facebook also gives conversion credit to users at the first point of contact – in this case, the ad, although they could potentially interact with a variety of different pages in the purchasing process before converting. They could, for example, browse a few different products or the “About Us” section before purchasing.

The default value of Google Analytics is different, using a “last click” to assign credit, where the last touchpoint the user will interact with will receive the credit. This will automatically cause the numbers to appear different.

They also offer a customizable system that allows you to help decide how you want to distribute credit for the conversion, allowing you to weigh different touchpoints that the user interacted with before the conversion, and assign them different weights (shouldn't you get any credit to the last page the user interacted with after all?).


2-Step Guide to Track Facebook Ads in Google Analytics

By default, when you start running Facebook ads pointing to your website, traffic is tracked in Google Analytics under the address of Facebook.com or m.facebook.com (Facebook mobile):

However, this traffic is not strictly from Facebook ads that you are running. This also includes visits from people who are clicking on unpaid posts on your Facebook page.

Because you need to know how your ads work yourself, you'll have to manually separate traffic between Facebook ads and your regular (unpaid) Facebook posts.

These are the two simple steps you need to follow to manually separate traffic:


Step 1: Manually Create a Trackable Link

The first step to being able to track Facebook ad traffic in Google Analytics is to create a trackable link.

When you're using AdEspresso this is a quick and easy process.

As you walk through the steps toward creating a new Facebook ad in AdEspresso, it will ask you to set a Source, Medium, and Name for your campaign.

I suggest setting the Source as Facebook, the medium as ads, and the name as something unique to the ad you're creating.

For example, if you were to create a Facebook ad offering 20% ​​off a pair of Rayban sunglasses, you could add a campaign name of “rayban20off.”

If you don't use AdEspresso to create your ads, you can create a tracking link using the Free Google URL Generator.

In Google Creator, you will need to fill out the same information: website URL (the address of the page you are sending ad traffic to), source (facebook), medium (ads), and campaign name.

Once you fill out the information and hit submit, Google will return a long address like this to you:

Once you have your long URL, you will have to copy and paste it into your Facebook ad manager. (However, if you use AdEspresso all this will be done automatically.)


Step 2: Check Google Analytics

Once your Facebook ad has been set up using the source, medium, and campaign name Google Analytics parameters, You're practically done!

Now all you have to do is sit back and wait to see the data start to populate in Google Analytics.

You can view data by Source/Medium (“Facebook/Ads”) or by Campaign Name.

For example, I recently ran a Facebook ad with the campaign name “StrawberryIceCream” and here's how it appears in Google Analytics:

Searching the performance of a Facebook ad in Google Analytics by campaign name allows me to see how that ad is performing on my website.

And there you have it: the two easy steps you need to follow to track Facebook ads in Google Analytics!

Additional Conversion Tracking Features

Google Analytics has its own conversion tracking tools, which are extremely easy to set up. You can track everything, from goals to eCommerce sales to evaluate what is happening on your site and you can use it to evaluate your direct and indirect ROI from Facebook ads.


Goal tracking

The tool I use most often for my own business is goal tracking; My goal is for users to travel through my site, land on my contact page, and contact me to ask about hiring me.

We will use this example to set a goal. I have entered the contact page of my site as the destination goal. I have added an estimated monetary value of a conversion; This is not a requirement.

I also created a funnel, which follows the estimated path a user takes before converting. I've set up tracking so that none of these steps are actually necessary to count the conversion.

When setting your goal, you can “Check.” This will tell you what your conversion rate will be for the last 7 days, as seen in the example above.



Google Analytics allows you to customize your attribution models. To access attribution, you need to set up eCommerce goals or tracking.

When creating a custom attribution model, first choose what type of baseline model you want to use. Options include:

  • Linear, gives all touchpoints equal attribution
  • First interaction, gives the highest attribution for the conversion to the first touchpoint, but keeps the attribution for all other sites the same
  • Last interaction, gives the highest attribution for the conversion to the last touchpoint, but keeps the attribution of all other sites the same
  • Time decay, offers the highest attribution to the last touchpoints, and offers decay attribution to each touchpoint
  • Position based, gives the most attribution at the first and last point of contact

You can also customize:

  • Lookback Windows, allows you to choose the distance to which you want to give attribution. If a user revisits your site a week after seeing a Facebook ad and converts, for example, it would be counted if they had converted a month earlier. If I had visited the site a year later I would not apply.
  • If you want to adjust attribution based on user engagement
  • If you want to adjust attribution according to rules of your choice

You can also compare data across different attribution models against each other to get a complete view of how your touchpoints are driving Facebook Ads sales and the path users are taking to convert.


Final thoughts

No matter how good Facebook Ad analytics are, nothing beats Google Analytics when it comes to tracking and fully understanding conversions, from the initial exposure and the path the user took before making a conversion. The more you can understand why conversions are happening, the more you can optimize them, as well as see how each campaign fits into the bigger picture.

Do you use Google Analytics to track your Facebook ads? Have you noticed a difference in conversion or click metrics? Leave us a comment and let us know.