How to Track Facebook Ad Campaigns in Google Analytics

Data Tutorial Marketing Analytics

Facebook can be a very important source of traffic to your site, but as with any marketing channel, it’s important to understand the performance of your campaigns. Facebook Insights can give you a great overview of the ad performance, but it’s limited to actions taken directly on Facebook or captured through their pixel. Tracking your Facebook ad traffic in Google Analytics can give you a much richer view into how the users who clicked through your Facebook ads behave on your site. This tutorial will explain how to track Facebook campaign performance in Google Analytics.

How to Set up URL Parameters on Facebook

Google Analytics automatically identifies your campaign traffic if the URL parameters are set up correctly on the ad itself. These URL parameters are often called utm parameters because of the utm_ prefix in the parameter names.

There are five parameters that you can configure, but only three are needed for campaign tracking:

utm_source: the site that sent the traffic, also known as the referrer (Facebook, Google, etc…) utm_medium: the medium of the link (CPC, CPM, email, etc…) utm_campaign: the name of the campaign

The syntax of the URL is critical. You can use Google’s URL builders to make sure you get the syntax correct. The structure for standard web links is:

utm_field1=value1&utm_field2=value2&utm_field3=value3

You need to enter the parameters when creating an ad in Facebook Ads Manager in the optional field called URL Parameters.

For example, to track a Facebook campaign configured as cpc called campaign1, we would put this string into the URL parameters field when creating our ad:

utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=campaign1

How to Track Facebook Campaign Performance in Google Analytics

Once your ads are configured correctly and users start clicking through them, you can measure performance in Google Analytics following these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Acquisition - Campaigns - All Campaigns report.
  2. At the top you can select to alter the dates to the time period you’re interested in.
  3. Next is a line chart plotting all campaign users visiting your site. Note that this includes all campaigns across all your channels that have set up campaign tracking, including Adwords campaign which have tracking automatically built in
  4. At the bottom is a table with all the primary metrics you’d expect per campaign. All the way to the right you have e-commerce conversion rate as a default, but you can select other goals you have configured from the dropdown menu. You can refer here for more information on setting goals.
  5. If you have many campaigns, it may be hard to find the Facebook one of interest. You can use the advanced search box to type in the campaign name for the one you’re interested in. You can also add a secondary dimension of Source / Medium and sort by it to find all of your Facebook campaigns together.

How to Track Facebook Campaign Traffic in Google Analytics

One key advantage of tracking Facebook campaigns in Google Analytics is that you can drill into the site behavior of traffic from your Facebook ads, which you can’t do within Facebook. To do this, you’ll have to create a segment. You can read more about Google Analytics segments here.

Assuming you have set up the URL parameters as explained above, the steps to creating your Facebook ads segment are:

  1. Scroll to the top of the report and click Add Segment
  2. Click on the red New Segment button
  3. Select the Traffic Sources tab on the left menu bar
  4. Set the source parameter to exactly match the term “facebook” to put all correctly-configured campaigns into one segment or specify a campaign if you only want to look at one campaign
  5. Give a name to your segment
  6. Click Save

With this segment defined and selected, you can now navigate to many of the Google Analytics reports to see behavior specific to this group of users.

Differences between Facebook Insights and Google Analytics

Before you compare ad performance across the two platforms, make sure that your Facebook conversions are defined in the same way as your Google Analytics goals and that all of your ads have correct URL parameters.

Even when your conversions are defined identically and your tracking parameters are correct, you are still likely to see differences when comparing ad performance in Facebook Insights against Google Analytics.

The main reason for the discrepancy is that Facebook and Google Analytics use different marketing attribution models. By default, Facebook, gives the ad credit for all conversions that happen within 28 days from an ad click or within one day of viewing an ad, independent of any other channels the user may have interacted with after the Facebook ad. You can read more on Facebook attribution here. Google Analytics, on the other hand, by default will assign credit of a conversion to the last touch, which includes all channels, not just Facebook. Additionally Google only counts Facebook traffic if the user clicked through the ad, not just viewed it. For these reasons, Facebook is more liberal with its performance calculations.

Conclusion

Tracking Facebook campaigns in Google Analytics gives you a rich view of how your ad performs and how the traffic from those ads behaves on your site.