Why Facebook Ads and Instant Articles Clicks Are So Different From My Google Analytics Numbers?

Are you wondering why you’re seeing different numbers between your Facebook Ad clicks or Instant Articles clicks in comparison to what Google Analytics is reporting?

This may happen for a few reasons:

  • Facebook counts clicks and will include bot clicks in their reports.
  • Google Analytics counts sessions and has systems in place to recognize invalid clicks.
    • In short, your reports may show different statistics due to bot traffic or the use of different metrics.

      In this guide, we’ll look at some of the reasons why your numbers don’t match up. We’ll also explain why Google Analytics has the most reliable data.

      Here are the common reasons we’ll be looking at:

      Reason 1: Google Analytics Removes Bot Traffic But Facebook Doesn’t.

      Bot traffic means visits from machines instead of a human visitor. The purpose of bot traffic is for scraping or indexing sites. These bots could also be used for inflating clicks on ad links, meant to boost revenue to advertising companies that run on a pay-per-click model.

      Since Google Analytics is the largest tracking system in the world, a lot of effort goes into detecting which visits are real and which ones are “fake”. Their solution is not perfect, but they’re able to detect most invalid clicks, thus excluding these hits from reports, making their reporting much more accurate.

      Reason 2: There’s No Reason for Facebook to Fix Their Bot Problem Because They Make More Money Keeping It.

      Facebook does not have a great track record in terms of dealing with bot traffic. This is because they utilize a pay-per-click system. Therefore, bot clicks earn them more money from advertisers who pay them. Analytics is not a focus for Facebook, so they see no need to make adjustments. As a result, Facebook has been sued various times for “invalid clicks” by advertisers.

      Reason 3: Different Metrics: Clicks vs. Sessions

      Google Analytics uses different metrics in comparison to Facebook Ad Clicks or Facebook Instant Articles Clicks. This means that the numbers for Google Analytics and Facebook mean different things

      A pageview counts every time a page is refreshed. A click counts every time the same link is clicked. This means if a user clicked a link from Facebook to get to your site, clicking on that link 3 times means Facebook will count 3 clicks.

      However, Google Analytics measures sessions. Sessions are a group of user interactions with your website that take place within a given time frame.

      This means the 3 clicks from Facebook would only be counted as 1 session by Google Analytics.

      Reason 4: ExactMetrics Filters Out Admin and Editor Clicks.

      ExactMetrics comes with the built-in feature of filtering out logged-in Administrator or Editor user activity on your WordPress site. This means if you’re clicking from Facebook into your own site (where you’re logged in as an Administrator), ExactMetrics will recognize this and not count it as a session toward your reports. This means your data will not be skewed by your own activity when you’re browsing your website. You can adjust this option within ExactMetrics to exclude or include more user roles.

      Facebook does not have this kind of feature. If you click into your own website from Facebook, it will count as a click in Facebook reports.

      Google Analytics is the most accurate for your traffic analysis needs.

      As a website owner, real metrics are essential for correctly measuring your site’s performance. Having incorrect metrics means you could potentially waste time and money instead of seeing where you can redirect your efforts to improve or optimize parts of your website.

      If you’re wanting to know how many real people are visiting your site, Google Analytics is the closest thing to real metrics and is the most accurate tracking system to this date.