Performance Marketing Nov 24, 2020 10:52:45 AM 5 MINUTE READ

Measurement deviation in online marketing: 7 reasons why

[Beginners] The measurability of marketing activities is one of the biggest advantages in online marketing.   There are various tools for this purpose, which have different functions. At first glance, the same data is measured everywhere, but the results sometimes differ significantly.  In this article, we will explain how these differences occur and what the cookie hint has to do with it, using the example of Facebook in comparison to Google Analytics.

1. Challenge

The Facebook Business Manager shows great campaign results and then the shock: in Google Analytics only a fraction of the numbers are visible.  This moment should not be unknown to many marketers.  But we can reassure you, measurement deviations are unfortunately quite normal. There are some plausible reasons for these deviations, which we would like to discuss in this article. You will also find some tips and tricks on how to reduce the measurement differences.

2. 7 reasons why a measurement error in online marketing can occur

One of the biggest differences between Google Analytics and Facebook Business Manager are the measurement methods. While Facebook only measures how often a link has been clicked (no matter if the link leads to a Facebook page or an external page), Google Analytics is a little more complicated. Here, one click is not enough, it is only measured when the website has fully loaded, which brings us to the next reason.

From the link click on an advertising banner to the complete construction of a website - depending on loading speed and Internet connection - often a lot of time passes.  The longer the process takes, the more likely it is that the user will leave the website prematurely and return to Facebook.  

As a result, a link click was measured on Facebook, but no traffic was received in Google Analytics.

Within a period of 30 minutes (standard session) Google tracks a website visitor, even if a user clicks several times. As a result, Facebook counts each click individually, but Google Analytics counts only one user. This user probably clicks on several links in the 30 minutes. Facebook therefore measures all link clicks, but Google Analytics only measures one user.

In order to collect and track data, Google Analytics requires the user's consent to the use of cookies. Therefore the cookie notice on each page is essential. In addition, a Java script must be active on the website. If the user deactivates this or does not agree to the cookie notice, Google Analytics cannot generate any data. However, Facebook has already tracked the link click at this point.

Another problem that leads to measurement errors are unknown users.

Facebook has the advantage that users are always logged in. This means that it is always possible to identify who is currently online and when they click on which link on any device.

Google Analytics, on the other hand, has no chance. As soon as a user changes his or her device or browser, it cannot be automatically recognized. Thus, a person can be tracked several times in Google Analytics.

If Facebook is opened via an Internet browser, the web server receives referrer information, i.e. from which Internet page the visitor comes. In this case Google Analytics will also track correctly.

However, if Facebook is used via a mobile app, Google does not receive this information. The problem: 91% of German Facebook users use the mobile version. The data is not lost, but cannot be recognized as Facebook traffic. They are usually assigned to a direct channel.

Google Analytics basically measures fewer conversions than Facebook, as there are different tracking methods.

Facebook measures both the View to Conversion Rate and the Click to Conversion Rate. With the View to Conversion Rate, a visitor sees the ad and then opens the page manually (not via the link in the ad). Facebook then measures a conversion. The second measures conversion when the user clicks on the ad and then opens a website (click to conversion). Google Analytics has no access to the data about who has seen an ad and therefore only measures the click to conversion.

With these 10 tips for conversion optimization, you will also learn how to increase your conversions in no time at all.

Probably the simplest reason why deviations can occur are different time periods in the tools. Before you compare the data, you should have a look at the time spans of the monitored data, because the longer the time span is, the higher the output values are.

Time zones can also play a role. To reduce measurement errors in online marketing, both tools should be set to the same time zone, otherwise inaccurate measurements can occur.

Tips for reducing the measurement error in online marketing

1. Try to optimize the loading speed of the web page The following criteria can reduce the loading time:

- Postpone non-visible images
- Provide images in modern formats
- Dimensioning images correctly
- Remove resources that block rendering.

2. Optimize your cookie hint. The following design adjustments in the cookie banner can increase user approval:

- Instead of offering a button with "reject", it is better to offer a button with "change cookie settings". 

- The "Accept all" button should attract more attention than the "Change cookie settings" button.

- The content of a banner should be as short as possible. The website visitors want to read something, inform themselves or store online without having to read a novel about cookies before.

- The wording should be understandable for the "average" internet user. The use of IT jargon is not recommended.
The cookie banner can adapt to the rest of the website layout. For legal reasons, however, the banner must be easy to read and attention-grabbing.
In most cases, a cookie banner also contains links to the privacy policy. It is best to insert these links so that a new page opens.

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