Does Google or Facebook Provide the Best Data?
For a long time, Google Analytics has held the throne as the most widely-used web analytics tool, but lately Facebook has begun to challenge the giant.
Facebook Analytics has been in the air for a couple of years, and a few months ago for Facebook Agency Day, they launched Facebook Attribution in relation to measuring marketing efforts. The background for Facebook's new efforts is, of course, that there are many ad crowns up for grabs.
As many people know, Google Analytics gives a different picture of the impact of your Facebook ad investments than if you look at Facebook's own figures. Naturally, Facebook has an interest in creating tools that better prove that it creates business for its customers. The end game is to show that Facebook is a channel that you should place your money with as an advertiser.
Almost at the same time as the launch of Facebook Attribution, Google – just below the radar –introduced Store Visits to Google Analytics. A novelty that can eventually bring omnichannel measurement of marketing efforts to the masses.
Below, we will briefly present the two news items and why you should investigate them further.
Track the customer from online click to store visit
Omnichannel has, for several years, been a big buzzword. In terms of measurement, many businesses have posed questions like:
• How many people come to my shop after visiting my website?
• Does my newsletter go out to visitors in my physical store?
• Does Google Ads contribute to offline business?
Previously, it was possible to measure the above, for example, by using voucher codes on campaigns – complex and expensive systems. Or, perhaps for larger statistical analysis, a campaign is launched in a geographical area and companies then review whether there has been a statistically valid impact on store visits in that area.
Google is now doing this with their Store Visits concept but it isn’t a new feature – Store Visits has been an option in Google Ads for several years. To use it, however, (for Danish advertisers) there were high requirements:
• 30+ physical locations
• 100,000+ clicks per month
These requirements have now been eased a lot after Google's algorithms have improved. Regardless, some companies have already been able to see the number of store visits at, for example, Google Ads campaign level, which has been valuable and has helped justify major investments in Google Ads for the individual chain.
The recent news that this concept is now in Google Analytics means you can see store visits and shop visits in percent for other channels! This means that you will be able to see how big the conversion rate is for your efforts on SEO and newsletters, for example.
The best part is that it technically requires very little input – you just need control of all your physical locations in Google My Business. We have already started to see data on some (large) customers. It is incredibly exciting and opens up some interesting opportunities.
See, for example, the screenshot below, where the data interested will already have questions like:
• Why does Google/CPC (Google Ads) drive a higher number of store visits? (answer: a high percentage of campaigns target their own brand name)
• Can we get better at putting the stores into play in our newsletter?
• Why is Bing so bad at getting visitors down the store?
Unfortunately, it is only a beta version right now. And Google has – of course – some ethical and legal requirements, where one must not be able to trace the individual in the store. Therefore, we expect to have a certain volume in the number of visits and shop visits before it is possible.
In Google Analytics, under Conversions > Store Visits (BETA), you'll see if you have access.
Facebook Attribution is like football
Google has long since had a tool called Google Attribution. But in October, Facebook outpaced Google as they launched Facebook Attribution.
Proper attribution of your marketing efforts is a holy grail when you talk about online marketing, especially given that the previous standard was Last Click Attribution whereby the ‘last click’ was given credit for a sale.
For example, a user browsing the web visits an online shop a couple of times after initially reading a newsletter, clicking on a Facebook ad and a search result in Google.
With the classic Last Click Attribution, it is only the last visit that counts or gets attributed to the value of the sale. In this example, if the user clicked on a Google ad just before the purchase, Google Ads would get the credit.
With different attribution models, you could distribute this ‘credit’ to the different touchpoints in the customer journey so that the company gets a fairer picture. Such smarter attribution can mean that large marketing budgets get moved around more effectively to better performing channels.
An analogy often used to explain this is with football: it may well be that Kane pushes the ball over the line (last click), but before that there may have some skilled dribbling from Rashford and a good pass by Lingard. They must therefore also have credit for the goal.
Facebook can track across devices
Now Facebook Attribution comes into the picture. Facebook has a bit of a golden egg compared to Google – namely, tracking individual users across devices.
By far the majority of people have a Facebook profile and use it across all their devices. Facebook can thus track the individual user across many touchpoints and provide an accurate picture of the customer journey.
If you also have a correctly installed Facebook Pixel on your site, you’ll have knowledge about the user's behaviour on your site and – in the end – the conversion.
An interesting option in Facebook Attribution is that you can import data from other systems – such as Google Ads.
So, in Facebook Attribution you can compare figures like ROAS (return on ad spend) between Facebook and Google. And you will get data on how many people have clicked (and seen) your Google Ads, directly in Facebook Attribution.
Below is an example of where data is imported from Google Ads.
We recommend that you create a Business Area in Facebook Attribution as soon as possible and follow the different guides to add different platforms, like Google Ads.
In this way, you will get data as quickly as possible, which you can subsequently process, analyse and use to prioritise your efforts.